Water Security Expert Available on Cape Town's Water Crisis

08 February, 2018, 00:13 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • Residents queue to fill containers with water from a source of natural spring water in Cape Town South Africa. Bram Janssen  AP

As the ongoing drought and resultant water crisis threatens Cape Town's credit ratings and gross domestic product (GDP) growth, warnings of the impact the drought on the local tourism industry are mounting.

These comments emerge as ratings agency Moody's Investor Services indicated that the water crisis poses a credit risk to Cape Town's debt rating, which is now rated at the lowest level of investment grade - Baa3.

"Cape Town is not going to be the only city on this continent that's going to suffer significant water shortage", Jean-Pierre Labuschagne, an infrastructure expert with Deloitte, said at the launch of its Africa Construction Trends report.

Parliament's Water and Sanitation Committee's acting chair Patrick Chauke says clarity is needed around the prospect of day zero in Cape Town.

About a quarter of Cape Town's population lives in the informal settlements, where they get water from communal taps instead of individual spigots at home. People restrict how often and how long they shower, wash clothes and flush toilets in order to conserve water.




Since the start of the year, the city has imposed strict tariffs on water use and encouraged residents to use just 50 litres per day. Agriculture had been allocated 58-million cubic metres of water, he said. He said the conjunctive use of surface and ground water was another strategy that should be implemented. "26RE-3DMC-26RI-3D5276113-26Preview-3DFalse-26DistributionActionID-3D20787-26Action-3DFollow-2BLink&d=DwMFaQ&c=yHlS04HhBraes5BQ9ueu5zKhE7rtNXt_d012z2PA6ws&r=cUl3rQczj2rcILdqJZros0AsUXSVZzs5L4oTc37wF9U&m=JOPK1Q9wHHifvEUgYihpeSnnosp34SCCpwY2ff_HwE4&s=LEck-j3CJ2btMHix5Y8MNuxAX0-FBszxThQ86jSBiHs&e=" target="_blank">Aaron Packman, director of the Center for Water Research at Northwestern University, has been predicting for years that we could see a major city completely run out of water. He also said the city plans to build more water desalination plants.

"We can avoid that possibility if we manage the demand by adhering to the restrictions and ensuring that they apply particularly to the big water users". The rising population has also played a role in the declining reservoirs levels, with more than four million people now living in Cape Town.

There's no denying the region has been hit hard by a severe drought for the last three years.

"I think the important thing to understand is that water is far too serious a matter to leave to the politicians".

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