Household and business adaptation to the 2016-2018 Western Cape drought
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Water supply dam levels for the City of Cape Town dropped to their lowest levels in 100 years of recorded history in January 2018. Despite similar droughts in other parts of the country, Cape Town's prominence as an international tourist destination generated copious media attention on the impending drought disaster. Warnings by the municipality were largely unheeded and water consumption patterns did not change significantly until the City declared that, at prevailing consumption rates, the 16th April 2018 would be Day Zero''. Accordingly, a restriction to 50 litres of water per person per day was imposed, consumers collaborated, and the use of water declined dramatically. This HSRC study factors in the vulnerability approach to Disaster Risk Reduction, which elicits community based problem-solving and the application of local knowledge. The goal of this approach is reducing vulnerability, in order to complement technocratic engineering solutions. The literature asserts that communities survive disasters by applying locally initiated practices, knowledge and skills, and to this end, the Disaster Management Act (No.57 of 2002) provides a framework for consultation with communities and stakeholders.