For the past year, there has been a severe drought and a resulting water crisis in Cape Town. This page will help describe and track the situation as it pertains to Wikimania 2018.
In a nutshell – The City of Cape Town has announced that "Day Zero" will not be happening in 2018 or 2019 meaning that the water crisis will not significantly impact Wikimania. The team has been actively in touch with the conference venue, hotel and tourism officials to stay briefed on the situation. (Update as of 9 July 2018).
The Wikimania conference organisers will be monitoring the situation closely and will update the Wikimania wiki regularly.
Reverse osmosis plants are being installed, and piping to connect them to the main distribution network. See City of Cape Town: Water Dashboard The City of Cape Town has announced that due to good rains during 2018 that dam levels are at 43% of capacity. Thereby eliminating the possiblity of a "Day Zero" scenario from happening in 2018 or 2019. (update as of 29 June 2018)
With four million inhabitants, Cape Town is one of South-Africa’s biggest cities and water levels were at an all time low. Following good rains this year so far the water situation has improved greatly. However some water restrictions are still in force and people are still encouraged to save water.
Reservoirs were holding 50% of their water capacity of water as of July 2018. Strong rains during the winter of 2018 have refilled dam levels to the point that the possibility of a Day Zero event happening in 2019 has been eliminated.
Conference venue and the Hotel's plan
Our contacts at the conference venue and accommodation tell us it will not impact the tourist locations we will be visiting. However they have also put in plans of their own to ensure that we will not be seriously impacted.
The Tsogo Sun Hotel chain who we are dealing with have a water conservation and storage plan that includes bringing in water from other locations and digging wells on their properties. The City of Cape Town has assured the public that the Cape Town Central Business District (CBD) where the hotel is located will not experience water cuts on or after Day Zero. Water in the CBD will come from a dedicated desalination unit near the harbour in addition to other sources.
Nevertheless, it will be very important to behave water-smart and be conscientious with the usage of water.
The City's plan
From now until Day Zero people are encouraged to save water wherever possible by limiting consumption to 50 litres per person a day. After Day Zero regular citizens of Cape Town will be able to collect water at one of over two hundred water distribution points across the city where they will be allocated 25 litres of water per person per day. Security will be provided at each point to ensure an orderly collection of water.
To supplement the city's water supply the City has started tapping two aquifers and is in the process of installing three desalination plants.
What you can do
So here are a few tips:
- Limit your showers to two minutes. If you can make it shorter than that, even better! (practice this back home!)
- Wet yourself, turn off the shower while soaping up, rinse quickly and systematically, turn off the water and get out.
- Don’t ask for clean bedding and towels every day (laundry uses a lot of water!)
- Join the Water Sustainability Edit-a-Thon on Thursday the 19th July. Contact Rossouw for more information or check out the Wikimania offical program for more information closer to the date.
Remember: an average person uses about 50 litres for a short shower: as of the 1st February 2018 the limit the Cape Town council put in is a usage of 50 litre per person per day. There are however people who use as little as 30 litres per day. Be one of them!
- Environmental impact – discussing the general environmental impact of Wikimania 2018
Official status of the drought
- What Visitors Say About Cape Town & Water (video), Cape Town Tourism water announcement
- Official statement by the Western Cape government, Fedhasa, WESGRO and others, 19th January 2018
- Defeating Day Zero is in sight if we sustain our water-saving efforts
- City of Cape Town: Water Dashboard
- Weekly dam level report.