Over the past year, negative publicity about the drought and resulting water restrictions has had a severe impact on tourism in Cape Town. The great news is that good rain over the winter means that dams in the Western Cape Province are now 61% full – higher than dam levels in 2015, before water restrictions were instituted. One of the city’s top villa management companies, Camps Bay Apartments, invites travel journalists who visit Cape Town to enjoy our hospitality in the off-season. Reporting on the effect of the recent abundant rain could be accompanied by references to Camps Bay Apartments.
Because tourism is so important for the city – making up 7.5% of the city’s GDP in 2016 – residents and tourism operators have resorted to creative and environmentally friendly ways of conserving water while minimising inconvenience to tourists. One of the innovative ways businesses, like Camps Bay Apartments, have responded to the challenges posed by water restrictions, has been to install rain water tanks at all the villas and apartments on its books. The swimming pools at the various sites are now filled with clean rain water, and in the dry summer months, swimming pools are filled from a reliable source.
The water restrictions had a dramatic effect on water consumption – water usage in Cape Town decreased by 60%. Personal water use was limited to 50 litres of water per day, which has demanded residents and visitors alike resort to innovative ways of saving water. Compare this low personal usage to the “Millennium Drought” in Brisbane, Australia, when daily water usage was limited to 166 litres per person per day, or California’s 2016 drought, when usage was at 412 litres per day. However, in spite of the positive dam levels, government has announced that water restrictions will remain in force until the dams are 85% full, to prevent a recurrence of the water shortage.
In spite of the severe challenges posed by the drought, the natural beauty of Cape Town, its top-class facilities, and the warm welcome provided by locals still make the city and surroundings a destination worth visiting. Accommodation, such as the variety of high-end apartments and villas offered by Camps Bay Apartments, restaurants and tours, still offer excellent value for money. A world-class bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon will only set you back 5 pounds sterling!