With each passing day, Cape Town’s fears for the dreaded ‘Day Zero’ continues to grow. Cape Town’s residents know that they may have to survive for a longer time in the so-called ‘Day Zero’ era but it’s always a daunting task when one tries to anticipate what life will be like.
The focus lately has been on the residents of Cape Town, and rightly so. However, there is another circle that is also going to be affected but has not featured predominantly in discussions up to this stage and that is the business and industrial community.
‘Day Zero’ when it finally arrives will affect businesses and industries in as much the same way as residents. However, because businesses and industries cannot hoard water in buckets as residents can, it might just mean that they will be affected more by ‘Day Zero’. While anticipating this scenario, one such business in Cape Town, Tsogo Sun came up with an innovative way of shielding itself from the effects of ‘Day Zero’.
The plan is to open its own desalination plant.
Tsogo Sun wants to shield its guests from bearing the brunt of ‘Day Zero’ effects. The plant will cater for all of Tsogo Sun’s hotels and casino resorts in Cape Town.
Tsogo Sun would be affected by “Day Zero” as it has 15 destinations in Cape Town.
The chief operating officer of Tsogo Sun, Ravi Nadasen said that the plant will be operational by early March at the latest. Nadasen was quite happy that the plant will open well ahead of schedule as the city authorities indicate that May 11 might just be the start of ‘Day Zero’.
While acknowledging that ‘Day Zero; might just become the new normal in Cape Town, Nadasen stated that Tsogo Sun is planning to stay ahead of the challenge by implementing other strategies besides the desalination plant. Tsogo Sun has already put in place alternative water augmentation such as boreholes at most of its Cape Town destinations. Nadasen said that he expects the remaining destinations to have their own boreholes before the desalination plant officially starts operations.
Experts warned that Cape Town will have water shortages as early as 1990. However, both the local authorities and the central government failed to adequately prepare for such a time in advance. The situation was further compounded by a three-year drought that saw local reservoirs in Cape Town drying up.
Local Cape Town authorities only started to prepare for the dire situation towards the end of last year when it was clear that the city was going to run out of water. They introduced the water rationing system which has been revamped subsequently in recent months. Today, Cape Town residents are restricted to using 50 litres per person per day.
There is some bit of relief for businesses and industries in Cape Town as the chief executive officer of city tourism and trade promotion agency, Tim Harris said that there is going to be a “business protection zone” where taps will remain running even after ‘Day Zero’. This means that some of Tsogo Sun’s hotels will still have water from the Cape Town municipality.
According to the South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Nthsona Cape Town receives about 1.6 million tourists each year who spend about 40 billion rands. He said that Cape Town’s tourism industry has been robust over the years and the city is going to do everything to maintain its confidence including the introduction of the “business protection zone.”