The Dream Team’s solution to Capetown’ s Day Zero

After brainstorming and choosing the topic, we came up with : the fresh water issue in Africa.

  • Keywords/ Key points from documentaries
  • We take those resources for granted.
  • Serious problem, can be fatal. 1000 children die every year
  • No money, no basics infrastructure
  • Toilet that requires no water, No sewage
  • Waste dump; sewage returning to environment.
  • Contamination from human waste cause disease
  • Nano membrane, combustion chamber
  • Underground water
  • Poverty/farmer
  • Food
  • Birth control
  • Health care
  • Firewood to boil water to make it cleaner
  • Disease can be transmit easily
  • Compromise on hygiene
  • Cannot cook
  • Chemical contamination from factory
  • Traditional water purification
  • P&G NGOs
  • Saving ourselves
  • Life = Water
  • Commercialization
  • Ground water instead of river
  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Water companies controlling fresh water
  • Colonialism


(Photo: Man collecting sea water)

After watching all the documents, we specified an area of study to focus.

  • Cape town: South Africa

Cape town’s current situation is regarded as “The day zero crisis”, that is the day when the city’s taps will run dry and people will no longer have easy access to water. Initially, it was bound to happen at August of 2018, but thanks to the collective work of the citizen, that are now living under a 50 liters per people per day restriction, day zero has been pushed down to 2019. Yet, it still is bound to happen if a solution cannot be found, and that is the objective of the research. It will point out a alternative solution to the current situation and present a way to do so.

Problem: How to solve fresh water crisis in Cape town, South Africa

Solution we came up with

  1. Move the population and isolate the city
  2. Reinvent tap water and sewage system in household
  3. Rain/Artificial rain
  4. Currency for water
  5. Invest on converting sea water into fresh water
  6. Create water by chemical reaction
  7. Change crops type/crops rotation
  8. Reforestation
  9. Improve treatment & filtering system

 Main questions

(a) Can this issue be solved by conventional approach alone? What’s missing in these common assumptions and approaches?
(b) What new information do I get by observing people, their environments, their stories, which might lead to a completely different approach in solving the problem?                (Provide concrete examples … bookmark specific episodes inside your selected videos)
(c) Can I notice a disconnected between what people say and what they do?

A) The problem is far more complicated than it seemed. It may look like geographical problem at first glance, but the reality is more than that. Environmental problem and political problem also need to be considered. Natural resources that everyone should take it for granted have been privatized and commercialized. Fresh water sources have been owned by private companies, whose resell water and get profit from free water.

B) We take water resources for granted by tap water system. However this serious problem for locals, it can be fatal 1000 children die every year because of infection from dirty water. People have no money, no basics infrastructure. Toilet that requires no water using Nano-membrane and combustion chamber is a good solution to the issue because it creates no sewage. Traditional toilet let waste & sewage return to environment, causing disease from human waste.

C) Everyone seems to notice and question about the clean water and think it is serious, but no one is going to take any action, People who face the problem directly have no power to solve, people who can solve do not take it serious enough. We forget to think that water is the source of life and we are living on the same earth.

(Photo: Water Police at Work)

Useful resources:

Cape Town water crisis: Approaches day zero

What happens when cape town runs out of water?

Blue Gold world water wars

PBS frontline poisoned waters

Transforming lives through the power of clean water

Bill Gates: From software to toilet