What Cape Town Businesses Can Teach Us about Conserving Water

There’s nothing like a crisis to pull people together, and Cape Town’s current water shortage is no different. What can we learn from Cape Town’s water crisis and the way Cape Town businesses have responded?

In Cape Town, everyone is doing their bit to avoid running out of this essential life force. It looks like we’re making headway too, since Day Zero has now been pushed out from June this year to 2019.

The thought of having to queue for daily water rations is obviously unnerving, but one notable upside to the drought is that it’s shown us what we’re capable of as a city. The 50 liter daily limit is forcing us to rethink our daily habits and make the changes required to ensure the taps don’t run dry.

Cape Town Businesses Conserving Water

Individuals in Cape Town are repurposing and rationing water in ways we’d never have imagined prior to the rain leaving town. At home we’re showering with buckets, letting our yards go to seed (the horror!), washing our clothes less often and only flushing when we really, really have to.

However, it’s the local businesses that are really pulling out all the stops in an effort to conserve water. Virgin Active, for example, has managed to save 11 000 liters of water per day just by fitting low-flow shower heads in their bathrooms. And Knead Bakery is using the run-off from their coffee machines to water the plants.

From soaking rather than rinsing their dishes to switching to paper cups, Cape Town restaurants are saving water in whatever ways they can. Some chefs have even taken the fried not boiled approach in an effort to reduce water consumption.

But as heartening as it is to see Capetonians band together to stave off an undesirable outcome, we need to recognize that things can’t go back to the way they were when the drought eventually lifts.

The Global Water Crisis

Unfortunately, water shortages aren’t limited to one city or one region. 663 million people in the world live without clean water. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Or, twice the population of the United States.

The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family.

Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick. Access to clean water means education, income and health – especially for women and kids.

In 2006 Scott Harrison founded charity: water to help alleviate the issue. Taking it a step further, he took a minimalist approach to giving back by taking the risk out of donating to his cause. From the outset Scott promised that 100 percent of public donations would go to funding the clean water projects.

The global water crisis is everyone’s problem. We need to conserve water at home regardless of whether or not there’s a drought. And if we’re fortunate enough to live in an area where water flows freely, we should, at a minimum, support those living in places where it doesn’t.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Margie FOURIE11 months ago

Thank you to most of the Capetonians who have made a concerted effort during this drought.

Chad A
Chad A11 months ago

Thank you.

Carl R
Carl R11 months ago


Debbi W
Debbi W11 months ago

I hope the rich are cooperating. So many entitled people feel they are exempt, while the majority of people manage to live with the rationing. Droughts are not easy, but so far here they haven't been as bad Cape Town.

Cathy B
Cathy B11 months ago

Thank you.

Cathy B
Cathy B11 months ago

Thank you.

Janet B
Janet B11 months ago


Brie B
BumbleBrie B11 months ago

Thank you for this

Winn A
Winn Adams11 months ago