Day Zero - Cape Town Water

Not sure what the right forum for this is but its interesting and brings up a few questions… … opulation/

Interesting to watch this from Australia where migration is simply huge and water is scarce. Wonder how the next proper drought will go over here. There hasnt been a prolonged drought in the densely populated areas since the massive influx.

I’ve been following this too.
The issues are
climate change - trade rain-bearing winds have shifted south for years
overpopulation - large influx of people that the State must by law provide water for, but infrastructure has not caught up
political will - ANC control most of ZA except the Cape which is an opposition stronghold, questionable polices pursued by both
personal responsibility - we all waste treated water, we should be more aware

Australia has controlled migration and a welfare safety net. Melbourne had a drought crisis last decade resulting in expensive desalination plants, water piped from Alps
ZA does not, this water shortage affecting millions will result in civil disorder.
Guardian - Let Cape Town revolutionise the way we think about water

I was watching this story a few months ago, day zero is approaching rapidly as it was originally predicted to be May now it’s April.
It also appears that some residents are not taking it seriously and wasting water, forcing the authorities to fit limiters to their pipes.
Unfortunately, the limiters can sometimes fail and cause thousands of litres of water to leak, thus making a bad situation worse.

It’s the entire region that’s affected.
Port Elizabeth (pop 1.15m) is also on drought watch. Similar to its drought in 1949, when it imported via sea in a rented 11000-ton oil tanker, millions of litres of fresh water from Durban in 17 round trips.

Interesting to see the emphasis on the immigrants here. I get the feeling that it’s not the immigrants that are watering their lawns and golf courses , hosing down their SUVs and topping up their swimming pools in the gated communities of the Cape.

Edit: My bad :blush: I just realised that they are also immigrants.

It’s a Blindjustice BATONEFFECT thread, of course it’s about immigrants. :smiley:

Its pointless talkin about climate change or sustainability Without addressing population (as opposed to migration but in many places population would be stable Without. Anyway im a migrant and have no issue with it if the infrastructure is there)

There must be some sort of an opportunity to pipe or ship some of our excess water off to Spain/ Africa etc. It will probably happen at some point in the future when fresh water really gets scarce and expensive on a global scale. It might be a good investment on a 30-50 year view to buy a lake in Mayo, Galway, Clare, anywhere near the coast. A lake fed by a decent sized river with a large catchment area and with a natural fall to the sea would be ideal. Or maybe large boats will just come in into the Shannon and suck it up onboard.

Given it’s South Africa, I’d put the main emphasis on corruption.

I have idly pondered this in the past. If you talk to anyone living in Killaoe they will tell you Shell to Sea will look like an Enid Blyton story in comparison to the resistance to the plan to pump water from Lough Derg to Dublin. The other side of the coin, when Ireland is flooded during the winter there are large areas of farmland that could be drained perhaps to the coast to fill large tankers of maybe 300,000 tonnes. These ships would be cheaper than most of their size because the cargo is innocuous so no need for double hulls and other environmental safety systems associated with oil or LNG and the propulsion could be sail or sail assisted since the cargo is also not perishable.

Does 300,000m3 of water a month for 4 months of the year, Dec to Mar, help Capetown?

I don’t know anything about the economics of shipping but obviously it is a “win-win” to move water from somewhere with an excess (West of Ireland/Midlands) to somewhere in the world with a deficit, and I imagine that at some point in the future the economics will work.

Transporting water that distance would be ridiculous given our current modern technology.
Capetown could produce plenty of water by harvesting all the springs on table mountain, erect fog catchers due to the cold Benguela current, desalination plants using solar/wind energy, and my favourite, tow an iceberg 5000km from Antarctica

I did some maths for pumping.

Roman acqueducts had a fall of about 1:5000.

So for freshwater to flow 10,000 km it would be need to be pumped to a height of 2km, or 20mj (5.5kwh) per cubic metre, or about a 90c/m3 at consumer rates, call it a euro per cubic metre with small pumping losses.

That’s the same price as the consumer water rates in SA (at lower levels of usage).

Plus the capital costs of building a 10,000 km closed intercontinental aquaduct. :smiley:

Thanks for that link. I can’t believe that the authorities in South Africa haven’t got around to tapping into the water resources coming from Table Mountain to solve their problems in the Cape Town area. Pure ineptitude.

Maybe it’s a sacred site for some of the locals, who would riot if the water was taken!

It finally rains.

That amount of rain will have no impact on the dam levels. It’ll barely make it to the rivers.

The rainclouds arrived, heard the news on water restrictions, and left.

Yeah, I didn’t think it would put day zero back by much, at least the collections of rainwater by some will reduce the consumption of mains water for a few hours.