As Cape Town faces the worst drought in a century, the city may need to shut off running water to homes and businesses in an effort to crisis-manage the last remaining water in the metropole's dams. ‘Day Zero’, as it has become known, is expected to arrive on 9 July, and may need to stay in place for three months.
If this emergency measure is put in place, water delivery will be throttled back across the city of 4.3 million people, distributed directly to critical service like hospitals, but leaving all residents to collect a daily ration of 25 litres from communal distribution points around the city.
As the international media has turned its attention to this southern African metropole, the work of EPRU behavioral economist Prof Martine Visser has attracted global attention. Her team’s work relates to various efforts by the city to encourage voluntary water saving behavior amongst residents of the city, and their findings are positive, in terms of how quickly citizens have responded, reducing water consumption by nearly 50 percent in just three years. EPRU’s work has featured in the Sunday Times and the Mail & Guardian in South Africa, and internationally in Bloomberg news, Spektrum (Germany), the Wharton School’s SiriusXM Business Radio (USA) and Climate News Network (UK).
By: Leonie Joubert