The Cape Town water crisis intensifies each day. A YouTube video shows where the dwindling water supply is allocated.
Based on current consumption, the city of Cape Town will reach “Day Zero” on 29 April. On Day Zero, the dams will drop below 13.5%, taps will be turned off and Capetonians will have to collect water at one of 200 checkpoints around the city, which will be monitored by police and the military. The city has instituted water rationing, with each person limited to 87 litres of water per day in total.
But how does government allocate the water?
Cape Town vlogger Adam Spires and comedian Siv Ngesi made a video highlighting the urgency of the drought and the Global Food Report’s alarming food versus water statistics. Spires set off by attempting to debunk a myth that the Department of Water and Sanitation is releasing millions of litres of water downstream despite being on the brink of the most severe water crisis on record. But the myth is true.
And the reason the water is being released downstream is farming. The Global Food Report estimates that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced on the planet is lost before reaching the human stomach. “It’s farms versus humans,” Spires said in the video. Farms provide food and jobs, but they are very water inefficient.
Six major dams feed Cape Town, one of which is Theewaterskloof Dam, and 60% of that goes to farms.
Livestock farming is particularly water inefficient. According to the report, the biggest water guzzler is chocolate. It takes 17 196 litres of water to produce a kg of chocolate. The animal food industry is a close second. It takes a whopping 15 415 litres of water to produce a kg of beef, 10 412 litres for a kg of sheep meat, 5 553 litres for butter, and 4 325 litres for a kg of chicken meat.
The number of litres of water used to sustain the animal food industry amounts to up to or more than 30 days of your careful, cautious water rationing. As Ngesi said in the video, “Finally, vegans make sense.”
Update: In an interview with Cape Talk on Tuesday, Xanthia Limberg, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for utilites, said that ‘Day Zero’ has been revised forward to 22 April 2018.
Feature Image via Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp