There is no one solution to solving Cape Town's water crisis. Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA Pictures
There is no one solution to solving Cape Town's water crisis. Picture: Courtney Africa/ANA Pictures
Damian Foxall is Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing's sustainability manager. Picture: Lance Witten/Cape Argus
Damian Foxall is Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing's sustainability manager. Picture: Lance Witten/Cape Argus

Cape Town - The Western Cape is experiencing its worst drought in a century and while there are efforts being made to avoid Day Zero, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the #WaterCrisis, a sustainability expert has warned.

Damian Foxall is a sailor and the sustainability manager for Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing currently contesting the Volvo Ocean Race. The teams are in Cape Town ahead of the third leg to Melbourne, Australia. They depart on Sunday.

Foxall has visited Cape Town at least six times with the race, and has seen first-hand how the region has become water scarce.

"The problem is global," Foxall says.

"Worldwide, we cannot go on as we have, and it's not just water-scarce areas like Cape Town that need to start thinking about this."

The message being spread by the race and all its participants is one of sustainability and conservation, with the health of the oceans as its primary concern. 

Damian Foxall is Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing's sustainability manager. Picture: Lance Witten/Cape Argus

"With our partners, we're trying to spread that message. Water is life, but it's not only a key ingredient to our survival, it's also the heart of a community. We need to conserve what we have, work with it more smartly and also look at better ways of managing this scarce resource.

"I've been to Cape Town a number of times now and I can tell you, the situation is dire, but it's not beyond control."

On board the 65 foot ocean racing yachts, the crew of 10 survives on 50 litres of desalinated water a day. On land, desalination is one of the options that can be explored to ensure water security, but because it is energy intensive, it's not the only solution, Foxall says.

"There's no silver bullet, no one solution to water scarcity. Our partners Bluewater are leaving behind water purification systems which make grey water potable, and there are desalination options, but it's a combination of these and things like roof rainwater catchment and a shift in mindsets and attitudes which is going to make a real change in a water-scarce environment like Cape Town."

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