Countdown to Cape Town’s Day Zero: 72 Days to go

30 Jan 2018


Its 72 days to go before Cape Town hits #Day Zero and there are mounting concerns that critical public services, like health and education, will be disturbed if and when the city’s water taps run dry. This would be devastating for a city of four million people.

The provincial government of the Western Cape has been slow off the block in tackling the unfolding crisis and is yet to release finer details of how essential services will be run if and when Day Zero comes.

But the provinces premier Hellen Zille did announce some staements around “business continuity plans”.

These are geared to “ensure that key public facilities can continue functioning in the event of Day Zero.

Health facilities

“Most critical are hospitals and clinics, where our plans are far advanced. We have focused specifically on drilling boreholes, and by the time Day Zero arrives, all hospitals and clinics will have been secured to continue functioning.


“Schools are also a key focus and a major challenge. It is essential to keep them open, both so that education can continue and that children can be kept safe at a very challenging time. There are over 900 schools in the Cape Town Metro, of which 423 have boreholes. Some of these produce potable water, and for the rest, plans are advanced to link borehole water to the schools’ sanitation reticulation system, which will then be cut off from municipal water. It is obviously essential to provide water to schools without boreholes. But this must still be finalised.

Sub-Points of Distributions

“One option is to establish a system of “sub-Points of Distributions (PoDs)” where tankers could collect water for distribution to key institutions, such as schools. And when the immediate crisis is over, we will have to institute a long-term programme of managed aquifer recharge, to put back the water we have extracted.”

This forms part of a ProBonoMatters’ series titled Countdown to Cape Town’s #Day Zero: Daily information packets which are designed to assist the city navigate the unfolding crisis.

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