Water shortages in Delft

In 2018, the South African government declared the Western Cape Province a drought disaster zone, with the City of Cape Town (CoCT) becoming a hot spot for water shortages. Residents of Cape Flats townships were severely affected by acute water scarcity, which local government attempted to remedy through enforced high-level water restrictions that in many cases persist today. Resentment grew when these restrictions were acknowledged to be unfair and differentially disadvantaging the most economically deprived. Furthermore, these water allocations were often lost to broken pipes, faulty water meters and other causes, which could leave entire streets without water, often for days at a time. Delft residents report that the township’s capacity to manage water shortages has at best stagnated since 2018. Considering how narrowly complete water deprivation was avoided in 2018, such stagnation is particularly foreboding, particularly against the backdrop of an increasing informally housed population and projections of more intense future droughts induced by climate change.