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Food vs water: Where is the Cape's water really going?

In a recent video by local vlogger Adam Spires, new light is shed on the Cape's extreme water crisis – and where our water in these dire straights is going.

by: Lisa Wallace | 05 Jan 2018

As Cape Town hurtles to "Day Zero" – the date the dams will drop below 13.5 percent, taps will be turned off and Capetonians will have to collect water at one of 200 checkpoints around the city, all of which will be monitored by police and military deployment. It really is an ominously George Orwell-like prediction, and based on current consumption this date is projected to be 18 May 2018. Four months away. 

In a video by Cape Town vlogger Adam Spires, co-produced by TV personality Siv Ngesi, the urgency of the situation is highlighted not just by the reality of the drought, but by the Global Food Report's frightening food versus water statistics. Spires attempts to debunk a myth that millions and millions of litres of water are purposefully being released downstream in spite of it being the most severe water crisis on record. Sadly, the myth is in fact reality.

The reason? Farming.

According to Global Food Report, it is estimated that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tonnes) of all food produced on the planet is lost before reaching the human stomach. And what do farms need? Water.

Cape Town receives its water supply from six major dams, one of them being Theewaterskloof Dam, and 60% of that water allocation goes to farms. The amount of litres of water used to make a single cup of coffee, a bar of chocolate, a kilogram of cheese or just two chicken breasts is in the thousands, and up to or more than 30 days of your careful, cautious water rationing.

ALSO READ: Through the lentil curtain: A beginner's guide to becoming vegan 

Get to know just how much water is being used in farming, agriculture and the meat industries below, or visit for the full Global Food Report. 

image: Global Food Report


Theewaterskloof Dam in June 2016. Photo: Masixole Feni, Courtesy of Traveller24

Theewaterskloof Dam in May 2017. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks, Courtesy of Traveller24

Theewaterskloof Dam in May 2017. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks, Courtesy of Traveller24


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