The following information is based on LeadAbroad’s direct observation, US Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, local partners and expert consultation. Please click here for more information about LeadAbroad’s health, safety and security measures.
February 20, 2018
Update on the water shortage in Cape Town, South Africa
Today, the city of Cape Town pushed Day Zero back from June 4 to July 9. This is a positive development that indicates the city’s water conservation efforts are working. The city is still enforcing restrictions for residents to keep usage under 50L per person per day so that Day Zero continues to push out in the future and allow more time for significant rainfall.
More detail from the Washington Post here.
The LeadAbroad team will continue to monitor the situation and educate our students and parents to be a part of the water conservation effort.
January 31, 2018
Current Water Shortage in Cape Town, South Africa
The Western Cape is located in a water-scarce area of the world and after several years of below average rainfall the city is facing a water shortage.
The city has put water restrictions in place in recent months. These limitations include common sense conservation practices such as decreasing the length of showers, turning off water when not in use and recycling water for plants to encourage residents to be mindful of their water usage. Similar restrictions have been put in place in areas like Southern California and Western Australia when they have faced similar droughts in the past.
Local officials are hopeful that these efforts will help Cape Town to avoid “Day Zero” which refers to a future date when the city may need to discontinue supplying water to city residents. We are hopeful the drought ends; however, in the case that Day Zero does come to fruition, we want all program participants and parents to have confidence in our preparations and plan.
How does the drought effect the program?
Overall, students will not be negatively impacted by the drought; however, we will ask students to be incredibly mindful of their water usage given the situation local residents are facing.
Will our accommodations have water?
Yes, our accommodations, which we have been working with for 10 years, has its own water collection and filtration system and will not be affected if Day Zero occurs. Guests will continue to receive the same service that they would expect any other time of the year. The only changes will be strong encouragements to conserve water during showers, cooking and doing laundry.
We have also prepared two backup options to create additional redundancy. These include –
1. If our current hotel has an unforeseen water issue, we will move the students to the city center, also called the City Bowl. This area, home to the city’s best hotels and restaurants, has been guaranteed by the government that water taps will never be turned off. We have confidence in this pledge because tourists and businesses are vitally important to Cape Town’s economic stability.
2. If for any reason we think that the situation in the city of Cape Town is not adequate for our students, we will relocate the program outside the city along the Garden Route where the water levels are stable. The Garden Route is an area we visit during our “adventure week” when we travel along the coast to go on safari and walk with elephants. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and would be a great home-base if necessary.
Are restaurants and other attractions open?
Yes, we expect city restaurants and attractions to continue to operate as normal. They also are following new water restrictions, but it has not impacted business and we don’t foresee it doing so.
How are hospitals and other services functioning?
All healthcare facilities are operating as normal and are not included in the water restrictions.
Is it irresponsible to for tourists to come to Cape Town during the drought?
Tourists only account for 1% of the population during the peak season (November-January) so their water usage is negligible. However, there are about 300,000 jobs in tourism and hospitality. Our presence in Cape Town will help ensure that these jobs are preserved.
LeadAbroad is committed to health and safety above all else and will make all programmatic decisions accordingly. We have, and will continue to, discuss this situation with local partners, the US Department of State, the US consulate, and the Overseas Security Advisory Council, which we are a member. The current consensus from all parties is that study abroad and tourism will continue as planned.
We are thrilled to show you all that Cape Town has to offer and will continue to communicate as new information becomes available. If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out.