Cape Town counts down to zero

Cape Town counts down to zero

Picture: Thinkstock

Mother fears hygiene issues arising from ration of 87l per day will make kids ill.

Tendai Chipato from Gugulethu on the outskirts of Cape Town, a married mother of two, says there is just no way she will be able to limit her water usage to 87 litres per person per day as the crisis in the city worsens.

She has two children, one aged six and the other one year old. But she is worried about her toddler’s hygiene because the child has just started to crawl and puts her hands in everything. And her mother has to keep washing them.

“It is very concerning. Last month, she had diarrhoea,” said Chipato, who wasn’t sure what exactly caused the upset tummy.

“We only flush [the toilet] when absolutely necessary.”

Memory Scott, also from Gugulethu, said residents in the area were all talking about the water crisis and saying they were doing their bit.

But when they thought no one was watching, it was a different story, Scott revealed.

“People are washing their cars all the time,” he said. Scott lives in a block of flats which only has one water pipe to supply the 50 people who live there.

His water supply has been cut off twice this week.

“One man doesn’t have water from 7pm to 7am. “I had to take a bucket next door so I can have a shower,” he said.

Scott is anxious for the water supply to resume as he has to get to a part-time job on time, or he will get fired. Genie-Lee Thomson, a Tamboerskloof resident, said she could definitely be doing more.

“I’m showering for five minutes at the most now. I have to shave every day. “I don’t wash my hair every second day any more, though. “I could do more. I thought about flushing my toilet with it [used water], but then I forget to do it.” “I don’t flush the toilet and I brush my teeth once a day.

“I don’t wash my hands with water any more, I use antiseptic gel. “I can’t tell you that we will be fine, but I can tell you that people will only start really worrying when there is no water. “The lower middle class are the people who are really trying.

“The wealthy aren’t, they’ve got the money [for the proposed water levy],” she said.

At Christiaan Barnard Hospital on Cape Town’s foreshore, where Thomson works as a receptionist, water is switched off for several hours over weekends. This measure only affects visitors and employees.

Figures at a glance:

  • Dams presently have an average of 23% usable water.
  • Capetonians are using 141 million litres above the 500 million litre a week target.
  • Only 34% of Capetonians are saving water.
  • 70% of all water used in Cape Town is consumed in homes.
  • Day zero, when the taps will run dry, is April 29.
  • After day zero, Capetonians will have to get water from about 200 water depot sites across the peninsula.
  • Under level six restrictions, households will be limited to 10 500 litres per day. This equates to 87 litres per person for a four-person household.
  • About 200 000 households are using more than this.
  • Under the same restriction, commercial and nonresidential properties would have to reduce consumption by 45% and those in the agricultural sector by 60%.
  • Borehole water for outdoor usage would be discouraged to preserve groundwater resources


Tourism stream flowing in Cape Town

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