Cape Town residents have started stockpiling water in preparation for Day Zero. Shops and water suppliers have seen an increase in sales as consumers brace themselves for when taps run dry in the Mother City. Store shelves are running empty in Cape Town as panicked consumers begin stockpiling water in anticipation of Day Zero.  Filtered water suppliers are also reporting a dramatic increase in sales as residents queue for refills.

With Day Zero looming large, the levels of concern and panic are palpable.  “I’m collecting water because I’m scared, when the taps go off, how you we going to brush your teeth, make food, wash your clothes and do whatever,” says one of the residents.

Shop owners say sales in water have started skyrocketing over the past six months.  One shop owner, Willie Cronje, says people should not panic, as he believes everyone will receive their fair share of water if Day Zero comes.  “I think people are scared that there’s not going to be water come Day Zero, and they are stockpiling. But we have a limit of 25l per person per day, so everybody can at least have some water. No point in giving one person 300 litres and the other has none.”

Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at Groote Schuur Hospital, Sipho Dlamini, says residents should also ensure that necessary care is taken with storing drinking water safely.

“There’s always going to be a risk of that water being contaminated even if it were taken from a water source which has been treated so if you are going to store water, make sure first of all that the containers you use are clean, secondly that the water is covered or the risk of it getting contaminated with bacteria or exposed environment is reduced as best as possible. Thirdly if water is exposed to light especially in containers that are transparent, there is always a risk of algae contaminating that water.”

Water tank suppliers are meanwhile battling to keep up with the demand as Capetonians scramble to prepare for the water shortage.  Supplier, Shawn Cope, says he fears some people will be left without adequate water storage facilities.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA says it will be launching an emergency drought relief campaign soon to educate staff and take care of animals in preparation for Day Zero.

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