CAPE TOWN – As the South African city of Cape Town edged closer to the day when most taps are turned off due to a severe water shortage, many people in the poorest areas on Tuesday continued to depend on communal water sources for their day-to-day life.
Piped water to homes is expected to be shut off on April 16, known as “Day Zero,” when dam levels are predicted to be as low as 13.5 percent.
Day Zero was originally slated to be on April 12, but Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, said Tuesday that the date could be pushed back thanks to the water-saving efforts of many Cape Town residents.
But for millions of South Africans living in informal settlements, the daily routine of collecting water from communal points has been occurring for many years, meaning they are better prepared to adapt to restrictions and collection than those residents enjoying the luxury of taps at home.
Images by an epa photographer on the ground showed people carrying clean paint buckets and huge oil bottles across a plank over a stream to get to a municipal tap, which they depend on for everything from drinking to washing clothes.
The residents then made their way through the informal settlement of Masiphumelele to their homes, where they carefully stored the water for future use.
Dam levels in Cape Town are currently at 26.3 percent.