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COMMON LAW RESTRICTIONS ON IMMOVABLE PROPERTY AND THE EFFECT OF THE LAW OF NEIGHBOURS
March 2, 2018

THE DROUGHT AFFECTS US ALL

The slogan “Day Zero” is being used to describe the day that Cape Town potentially runs out of water. Day Zero is closer than ever and may even occur sooner than expected on the 11 May 2018. This will not only influence the Western Cape, but South Africa as a whole. With the 50-litres-per-day-for-the-next-150-days alarms going off, will the looming ‘Day Zero’ affect those beyond the Western Cape?

Water is a daily need – cooking, drinking, hygiene – and the need for it is far greater than what the city has left. Water meters are being monitored, swimming pools are being emptied, and monthly tariffs have increased to ensure that households use water within the set restrictions. The rest of the country will feel the water crisis pinch.

  • Drought creates a socio-economic effect. The deficit between water demand and water supply worsens, forcing businesses to cut down drastically during production. This contributes to the already existing socio-economic factor of unemployment with more businesses trimming overhead costs to allow them to remain profitable. Unemployment in the Western Cape will have a ripple effect on the rest of the country, with people relocating in search of jobs elsewhere.
  • Health risks increase as the greater population adjusts to the limited water use for sanitary purposes. One of the biggest perils is the sewerage system coming to a standstill.
  • Because Cape Town is the leading exporter of wine, fruit, vegetables and wheat, the prices of these commodities are bound to increase nationally in order for the agricultural sector to remain profitable despite lower quantities in production.
  • Cape Town is the country’s second economic hub. Because of the water crisis, Cape Town is a high risk for incoming capital. Abroad corporations who have built business relationships with the country are left to look elsewhere for those who will meet their production needs.
  • There is increased pressure on the national government to provide an infrastructure that ensures that water is “protected, used, developed, conserved, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, for the benefit of all persons” (Water Act of 1998).

Tourists are urged to be as cautious as the city’s residents by choosing to stay in accommodation facilities that have water-saving measures in place, such as using cups when brushing teeth instead of letting the tap run, and taking shorter showers.

Dam levels are critically low, and when storage reaches 13.5%, Cape Town will turn off most taps, leaving only vital services (such as hospitals) with access to water. Below is a list of dam levels of each province as of 22 January 2018:

Province Dam levels in %
Western Cape 25.3 %
Gauteng 94.1 %
Eastern Cape 58.9 %
Free State 65.0 %
KwaZulu-Natal 50.6 %
Limpopo 65.3 %
Mpumalanga 76.9 %
Northern Cape 75.6 %
North West 67.0 %

Day Zero is expected to hit on 11 May 2018, and as over-consumption continues excessively, the day draws closer and closer.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)