The Stream

What impact is Cape Town’s water crisis having on the poor?

For some of the city’s residents is has always been #DayZero.

An extreme drought could make South Africa’s Cape Town the first major city in the world to run out of water. The crisis has already hurt the city’s tourism and agriculture industries and once again highlighted the gap between rich and poor.

About 30,000 seasonal farm workers have lost their jobs because of the drought, and more layoffs are likely if rain doesn’t come soon.

A city-run campaign – known as “Day Zero” – that counted the days until the taps would be turned off had such a negative impact on tourism that officials were force to abandon it. It did, though, have a positive impact on conservation efforts.

But many say that only the wealthy are truly able to conserve or find a solution without government help, which can have a negative impact on those most in need. 

“The social contract breaks down, if the rich find their own solution and leave the rest to fend for themselves,” Giulio Boccaletti, global managing director for water with the Nature Conservancy,  told The Washington Post.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Xanthea Limberg @XantheaLimberg
Councillor, Democratic Alliance (DA)

Shanel Johannes @CTWaterCrisis
Activist, Water Crisis Coalition

Kevin Winter @KWinter881
Senior Lecturer and Lead Researcher, Urban Water Management Research Group, UCT

Michael Helu @helu_m
Organiser, General Industries Workers Union of South Africa

Read more: 

Cape Town taps may be off soon due to drought – Al Jazeera 
Cape Town farmers laid off amid water crisis – Al Jazeera 

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