Water Tech Wednesday #1: "Zero Day" in Cape Town


Imagine life without water. Not just life without clean water, but life without any access to some good ol' H2O. Water access in Cape Town, South Africa has become so scarce that officials estimate city taps to completely run dry by 2019. Originally, "Zero Day" - the day that Cape Town is expected to run out of water - was predicted to be April of this year. As of now, Cape Town residents are limited to 50 liters (13.2 gallons) of water a day. The water shortage has greatly impacted the city's agricultural and economic growth, and there are concerns that it could impact Cape Town's tourism. 

So what does 50 liters of water a day look like? Two-minute showers, restricted amounts of toilet flushes, and using recycled bathwater. But that's a luxury in comparison to Zero Day. Cape Town officials may have to look ahead to water technologies that allow them to access water in some creative ways. 

According to Wired's "Can Humans Survive on Water Vapor Alone?", NBD Nanotechnologies makes a coating that pulls water from thin air. The coatings can then be applied to plastic or metal surfaces. Additionally, Zero Mass Water, produces panels, called "hydropanels", that can produce up to five gallons of water. The panels are designed for yards and rooftops, and collect moisture from water vapor. If you're concerned about sanitation, the panels filter the water through mineral cartridges to make it safe for consumption.

As Zero Day approaches, water technologies create new ways for people to access a life necessity without requiring a direct source. 

Wine To Water loves to keep updated on the most recent water technologies. While we aren't implementing these ideas, we want to share with you how other people respond to the global water crisis. Have you heard of any water technologies that you'd like us to talk about? Email us at fieldnotes@winetowater.org!

-Sydney Wolford, writing intern

Sydney Wolford