DISPATCHES FROM DAY ZERO
Go back 2,000 years and Cape Town, South Africa was actually first named “Camissa,” meaning “Place of Sweet Waters,” by the indigenous Khoi people, because of its natural and clean streams stemming from the mountainside. It once had four rivers and 36 springs running through it, and was colonized by the Dutch in 1652 because of its plethora of fresh water. But as the city grew, these water systems became polluted and were diverted underground via a storm water system. .
Fast forward to 2018 and add years of drought attributed to climate change and Cape Town’s swollen population – more people than the place can sustain – and the city faced a much publicized “Day Zero” scenario where the city would simply run out of water. Fear, confusion and water hording marked the early months of that year….
Shot on assignment for National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal. .