How to cope with the water crisis

South Africa is a water-scarce country… three of our provinces have been declared national disaster areas, with Cape Town still facing the threat of Day Zero, when taps will be turned off. This situation holds health implications not only on a physical level, but also on a mental level.

What potential problems can we expect?

  • An increased incidence of diseases such as gastro-enteritis, hepatitis A and respiratory illnesses, mainly due to poorer hygiene and water being contaminated.
  • Food supply may also be affected as there is less water for crops and livestock.
  • The general level of stress and anxiety will increase as a result of limited supply and uncertainties.

Tips to survive Day Zero or a limited water supply

Only drink bottled water or water supplied at municipal water collection points.
Rain water that has been stored should only be used for flushing toilets.
Keep sufficient hand sanitisers and wet wipes on hand.
Vaccinate against Hepatitis A, if you have never been vaccinated (especially immunocompromised individuals), and ensure that vulnerable members of your family such as elders and babies/infants are not hygienically compromised.
Consult your healthcare provider if you become ill and symptoms become severe or do not resolve in a few days.