The water crisis in Cape Town has dominated headlines across the world in recent weeks, with many wondering how a thriving, modern city could survive with no running water. Well, we can now proudly announce: WE HAVE OVERCOME DAY ZERO! That's right, Cape Town will not run out of water in 2018.
This is amazing news and we are proud to be based in a city that is setting an example for the rest of the world in how to conserve water. We have proven it can be done. Although water restrictions will remain to maintain this, you can rest assure that we are no longer on a deadline. Cape Town still as beautiful as ever and the amazing communities we work with and support still need volunteer support, more so than ever.
We’ve answered some key frequently asked questions (FAQs) below to help you understand what volunteering in Cape Town this year will mean.
Will there be a sufficient amount of water for those who want to volunteer in Cape Town?
YES. Despite the restrictions, volunteers will have access to clean, safe water. Volunteers will still be able to shower, drink, use the toilets and wash their clothes. With level 6B water restrictions currently in place, we do ask volunteers to be mindful of their water usage, so we can keep ‘Day Zero’ well and truly in the past.
“The kids are so appreciative and it’s good to know we are able to help them and make an impact.” Ali- New York, Early Childhood Development Cape Town
What does “Day Zero” mean?
Lets bust one myth, ‘Day Zero’ does not mean that there would be absolutely no water throughout Cape Town. It simply means that if the levels within the dams were to decrease to 13.5%, the usual water would be turned off. Water would instead have to be collected, with the allowance of 25 liters per person (easy!) However, it must be emphasized that ’Day Zero’ has been written out of the calendar for 2018 and hopefully 2019! Nevertheless, if ‘Day Zero’ were to occur in 2019, this would not stop volunteers from having an incredible experience in Cape Town. We would be here in the thick of it with you!
How does level 6B water restrictions affect volunteers?
50 litres a day per person regardless of where you are is what is allowed with the current restrictions. That may not sound like a lot, but our volunteers are just fine with the limits. They can do it, we can do it, it’s easy!
“Cape Town as a city was incredible with such diversity and variety throughout. Amazing is the only word I can think of to describe it!” Tate – Bristol, Sports Coaching and Development Cape Town
Is the whole of South Africa suffering from the drought, or only Cape Town?
The drought is only in Cape Town, and its immediate surrounding areas. Just an hour outside the city the dams are full! The Garden Route (one of the most popular activities to do after volunteering,) is almost completely unaffected.
“I truly felt that the work we did every day in the communities made a difference, and it left me feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of the children that we work with.” Kbitove- Canada, Girl Empowerment Cape Town
Will volunteers have access to drinking water?
Yes, most definitely! There will be plenty of drinking water available on projects and at the volunteer house.
Will volunteers be able to shower, bath or swim in a swimming pool?
Volunteers will be able to shower, but please be mindful. Although showers are limited to 2 minutes a day, this is still perfectly sufficient for upkeep of daily hygiene. Bathing, however, is discouraged with the restrictions, while some swimming pools have been replaced with salt water.
Will the hospitality industry, i.e. restaurants and bars, still be in operation?
Yes, but most restaurants and bars have put in place restrictions to respect the water crisis. That means that many places will not give out tap water, so you may need to buy bottled water instead. They will carry on operations as normal, as long as the current restrictions remain.
“My second time volunteering in Cape Town with African Impact has been just as amazing as the first time. Working with TEARS animal rescue everyday was a continuous highlight and African Impact have assisted in making the experience an incredible one.” Amber- UK, TEARS Cape Town
Which tourism activities will be affected by the drought?
All major tourist attractions will be available for our volunteers. However, activities that require fresh water might be impacted.
“Working in the communities made me realise how privileged I am and that I can in fact make a difference. Being met with happy, loving kids made my day and made me want to work even harder. Doing all of this in the beautiful city of Cape Town was just an added bonus.” Birkirkara-Germany, NGO Internship
Will I still have access to medical services despite water restrictions?
Yes! All emergency services are running as normal.
Is it irresponsible for volunteers to come to Cape Town during the drought?
As long as volunteers are mindful of the situation, then no. At the heart of it, our communities need you now. We do not want the children we work with to fall behind with their education. We want to carry on changing lives and making a positive impact. That’s where our volunteers come in; to provide vital support for these children in safe environments. With tourists only making up 1% of Cape Town’s population, their impact on the water supply will be minimal- as long as they follow restrictions. Not only will volunteers’ support be extremely helpful and impactful, it will also be critical.
There has never been a greater need for volunteers on our projects in Cape Town, so apply now to truly make a difference while still experiencing one of the most beautiful cities in the world.