Drought-stricken Cape Town counts the cost
The Western Cape region has gone without significant rains for more than three years, forcing South Africa’s second city to slash residential water consumption by more than 60 percent.
Wine flavours may benefit, but water-intensive businesses like Marlize’s farm, 35 kilometres (20 miles) east of Cape Town, have borne the brunt of the water crisis.
"Water costs have increased by about 100 percent.
We’re absolutely only giving water to keep the vines alive—not any more than that."
So perilous is Cape Town’s economic situation that credit rating agency Moody’s warned in January that if the crisis worsens, it could lead to the city losing its investment-grade status.
The ‘Day Zero’ threat The city was granted a narrow escape earlier this month when the dreaded "Day Zero"—the date when taps will run dry—was finally pushed back until next year after months of growing public panic.
If Day Zero does arrive, individuals will be forced to queue at public standpipes to collect daily 25 litre (6.6 US gallons) rations.
The famed winelands, responsible for 11 percent of the region’s economic output, also bring millions of visitors to the region annually and the Western Cape tourism sector alone sustains 300,000 jobs.
In 2016, 94 percent of the region’s companies flagged water as a risk to their operations.
The beer giant, owned by AB InBev, declined to comment on the drought’s effect on beer production, but others in the drinks industry told AFP that if "Day Zero" happened, it would be catastrophic.