CapeTown’s Water Crisis, A Big Opportunity

Vinod Chauhan
Dec 2, 2019 · 3 min read
Water Crisis in Capetown

In 2018, Authorities announced that the city of 4 million people was three months away from running out of municipal water, the world was stunned. Labelled “Day Zero” by local officials and brought on by three consecutive years of anemic rainfall, April 12, 2018, was to be the date of the largest drought-induced municipal water failure in modern history.

The city has already established a “Day Zero”, the day when all taps will cease to flow, and its inhabitants will have to walk, drive, taxi or take the train each day to one of 200 water distribution points set up around the city to pick up 25 Litres emergency rations of water. Bottled water is flying off the shelves, and home-owners are locking up their faucets to discourage water theft. The city has levied heavy fines against those violating the strict quota of 50Litres of water per person per day. The Day Zero dashboard shows all the new water supply projects to supply water to the city, but as of this writing, most of them are behind schedule. The city of 4 million is in a race against time to stretch the remaining reserves of water to last until new water arrives.


Even in this crisis, People around the world are still hoping for the best and want a magnificent solution of the crisis by arranging a hackathon of open source crowd-funding solution. For this, four organisation ‘global citizen collective Stop Reset Go’, the Cape Town Science Centre, the global Berlin-based Open Source Circular Economy Days, and Envienta are banding together.

On Feb 24 and 25, the process will be supported by SAREBI, a South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator, who will help in judging various ideas and offering valuable Master Business Incubator classes to promising technical water innovations. Simultaneously, the hackathon will take place virtually at the Open Source Circular Economy Days community page. Local physical participants will transcribe local work onto project pages, where global participants can co-participate.

The hackathon follows a strategy called cosmo localization, understood through the expression “Design Global, Manufacture Local“. Leveraging the world wide web to mobilize designers to create a planetary design commons, we can create a resource accessible to local peer producers everywhere, empowered by old and new production technologies.

In traditional capitalism, innovators seek financial investment capital to bring their ideas to market. Securing funds allows innovators to exchange it to obtain the resources they need to turn their idea into reality. With money, it’s easy to buy the expertise we need, but without it, we need a compelling vision of an end product that all the collaborators desire.

In addition to the open source and cosmo localization strategies, the project also takes an “urban planetary boundary approach”, to investigate the reasonable limits that should exist in a city’s ecological footprint if we are to create sustainable cities that do not overstep our planetary carrying capacity.

So if anyone of you have any great idea for this global water crisis solution, then come up and contact the agencies.

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