Bucket Loads of Health

BLH Update 7: Consequences of Water Restrictions Driven by Drought

Through our #bucketloadsofhealth project, we have worked in partnership with the Delft Water Clan to create a mini-series of four short films that bring deserved attention to the intersecting consequences of the Western Cape drought – consequences that have not yet been fully recognized.

The mini-series was produced through a novel participatory visual methods process of bodymapping and storytelling; it shows the embodied experiences of people living in the township of Delft during the 2018 Cape Town water crisis.

Each one of the four films shines a different spotlight on the effects of the high level water restrictions that were driven by severe drought, and which had their harshest consequences in the poorest areas of the City. Together, the films highlight the need for serious reflection on decisions made by authorities during times of drought in urban spaces, and the far-reaching implications of these decisions on people’s lives.

Community Spirit shows how a shortage of water can stop the enjoyment of activities that help to bring meaning, cohesion and respite to people who live in the City’s townships. As Clevin Consul gently reminds us “You never miss something until it’s gone…”

The smell is so bad sometimes that you can actually taste it in your mouth.”  Health, Stress and Sanitation: Luthfiyah Tites and three other residents of the township of Delft share their stories about the ways in which the water restrictions have compromised their health and well-being. We see how a shortage of water prevents every day activities such as maintaining personal hygiene, taking medication and caring for children. The film also shows how the water crisis has surfaced anger between neighbours and increased levels of tension within the Delft community.

Through Water and Loss, Tashwell, Rugshana and Norton share deeply personal experiences around Cape Town’s severe water restrictions. Their reflections on loss of life, disruption of important religious practices and the spiritual link to rain remind us that “the effects of the drought and water restrictions reach more deeply than you might think.”

‘We filled bottles with water at houses with taps outside. We would throw the water at each other and we enjoyed the game. But today, because we don’t have water, our joy has been taken away’. Children, Water and Recreation  illustrates how water restrictions have blocked one of the few childhood games that can be played safely and close to home in township settings. Through their stories, Clayton, Prudence and Xoliswa show us how important water is for recreation among children and youth in their community.

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