Update: South Africa Water Crisis

Mar 9, 2018 7:56:30 PM

In the news recently are reports that the Western Cape of South Africa is experiencing a severe drought due to poor rainfall during the 2016 and 2017 winter seasons. Over the past two years, CISabroad has been closely monitoring this situation with our overseas partners and onsite staff. We recognize the severity of the situation and are committed to ensuring that our students have access to clean drinking water and that they understand the situation through the additional resources and mandated conservation measures outlined below.

Due to the low dam and reservoir levels, the city of Cape Town and surrounding areas have implemented strict water restrictions. As of February 1st, each person is required to use no more than 50 litres (approximately 13 gallons) per person per day in total. Through these diligent water conservation practices and the government's efforts to improve management of the declining dam levels, as of March 7th the Western Cape announced that Day Zero (the hypothetical day in which South Africans will need to queue for water at approximately 200 sites across the peninsula) has been pushed back to 2019! For more information about water restrictions and frequent updates regarding the water shortage, please see the government’s websites here:

As students prepare for their study abroad programs in South Africa, we find it important that everyone be aware of the water shortage and that we do our best to use as little water as possible during time onsite. This includes being conscious of water use while taking showers, washing dishing, doing laundry, and much more. We also advise that students purchase bottled water for drinking and brushing their teeth. Students will have the opportunity to do this during the initial onsite orientation.

While we recognize that saving water has been a key component of understanding life in South Africa for over two years, we also recognize that students may have some concerns regarding the water levels during your time abroad. At this time, CISabroad would like to assure everyone that we are working closely with our overseas partners and onsite staff to monitor the situation. We are keeping watch on the US Department of State’s Travel Advisories for South Africa. Additionally, experts at Stellenbosch University have implemented campus-wide water awareness and water saving measures and are working towards reducing the university’s water footprint. You can read more about the water saving initiatives and Drought Response Plan at Stellenbosch University here: https://www.sun.ac.za/english/water-crisis