How the tourism industry is adjusting to the Cape Town drought

Cape Town is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history, which has led to a serious water crisis.

The drought has left the region severely water-stressed, with restrictions in place and concerns about how this will affect visitors coming into Cape Town. Creative solutions on all levels, from the government to residents, have ensured that Cape Town remains a great place to visit. The 2018 winter rainfall was back up to more normal levels, bringing much needed relief to the dams. South African Tourism has reassured the world that Cape Town is open for business and all visitors are welcome as long as they are willing to work with us in conserving water. Water restrictions are in place and visitors and locals need to ensure they use less than 70 litres per day.

It’s not only Cape Town that is affected by issues surrounding water. It’s important to think about water use on a global scale, and preserve this precious resource as best we can. The water shortage in Cape Town is a valuable learning experience. We have to get used to a new normal, where water is used with respect.

Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism, appeared on eNCA to talk about the water shortage and its effect on tourism.  He remarked, “This is not an issue to Cape Town only, climate issues are a global thing. Cape Town, however, is at the sharp end of this and is leading the way as to how global cities respond to water restrictions.”

The time has come to start doing things differently, so that the tourism industry can continue to thrive without doing harm. It is vital to support the industry, which provides employment to approximately 300,000 much-needed jobs across the Western Cape. It is nothing short of inspiring to see how businesses have banded together to cut water usage, and make brilliant, creative changes to how they are run.

Accommodation providers in the Western Cape have risen to the challenge of saving water with great aplomb. With rain-harvesting tanks, grey water systems, water-saving devices, and other inventive solutions, usage has come way down. Many hotels and establishments have made alternate arrangements to ensure they have sustainable solutions to water usage. The Tsogo Sun Hotel group was among the first in the industry to make drastic changes, including reducing pressure to taps, introducing instant-heating showers, using paper napkins and tablecloths, and filling pools with borehole water.

Restaurants are still fully operational, and many also have measures in place to ensure they continue to run beyond the period of drough, with creative changes to the way they think about water. Some establishments have made some clever changes to their menus (like steaming and grilling instead of boiling). Many are also using the melted ice to mop floors, or installing greywater systems for flushing toilets.

It’s important for both locals and visitors to stay up to date with the latest news about the Cape Town drought, so they can make the best decisions and continue to use this precious resource responsibly. For up-to-date information, visit www.waterwesterncape.com.

To find out more about the water scarcity and what you can do, read our guide to the drought.


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