Cape Town's water crisis: Your event questions answered

Some of our clients have sent us questions as to how Cape Town's water shortage will affect their upcoming events. We hope the following information will help you plan your event. The CTICC is mindful of the drought and is open for business.  


Day Zero is not inevitable 

The water restrictions and ongoing communication around the water shortage has certainly stimulated Cape Town businesses and residents to develop innovative water savings solutions and ensured a sustained focus on reducing our water consumption. Unfortunately, it has also created unhelpful and alarming visions of a waterless doomsday – one which is, in fact, entirely avoidable. 


The feared “Day Zero”, when the City of Cape Town will be forced to shut-down our regular water supply, is not inevitable. The focus remains on reducing consumption and adherence to water-usage limits. Continued committed cooperation will ensure the City reaches its target and we avoid Day Zero. 


What is the CTICC doing to reduce water usage?  

The CTICC is hosting all our 2018 events with the same passion and dedication to service excellence.

  • Our water savings information boards, placed in high-visibility areas throughout the centre, inform visitors, including international delegates, on the need to save water.
  • We have stopped the water supply to all our bathroom hand-wash basins and offer waterless hand sanitizer as a safe hygienic alternative.
  • We serve only bottled water, sourced from certified producers outside of the Western Cape.
  • Purchased bottled water is to be used for cooking and food preparation going forward.
  • We have installed 65 000 litres of rain water storage tanks. We reuse this water for cleaning and maintenance activities inside the centre.
  • We have installed 10 000 litres of grey water storage tanks. Our air-cooling system creates water from air and this water is being collected in our grey water tanks.
  • We are giving clients the option of using biodegradable crockery for events to reduce dishwashing loads and water usage.
  • We are using biodegradable cups at our Coffee Shops to reduce dishwashing loads and water usage.
  • We have replaced linen napkins with high-quality disposable napkins to reduce laundry loads.
  • We are installing additional storage tanks across CTICC 1 & CTICC 2, which in the unlikely event that the water is shut off, will give us access to 550kl of water and enable us to operate the building at full average capacity for 5 days. This is being done in two stages with the first additional 200 kl of storage being in place by the end of February 2018.
  • CTICC’s appointed engineers have completed a detailed water feasibility study and we are now in the design phase of our reverse osmosis plant, which will provide us with an additional 200 kl of water per day, which is 50 kl more than our average daily water needs. 


What does this mean for our clients and delegates?

  1. The CTICC can deliver all our events and we look forward to hosting you and your delegates.
  2. Your delegates will have access to:
    • Clean, bottled drinking water;
    • Fully-functional toilets; 
    • Delicious cuisine from our fully-operational production kitchens.

In the unlikely event that Day Zero does occur, the City of Cape Town has indicated that the central business district (CBD), including the CTICC precinct, will not be affected by the shutdown.  As such, our doors will remain open and we will continue to host all our events. 


The only area that might be affected is air-conditioning, which requires relatively large amounts of potable water. As a purpose-built convention centre we can, however, assure fresh-air is circulated throughout all venues. Air-cooling is only really needed in summer, i.e. January through to March. As autumn and winter arrive in Cape Town, ambient temperatures in venues are such that air-conditioning is not necessary. 


Hotels in the CBD will also not be affected.  In addition, a number of the hotels in and around the CTICC are currently installing water augmentation systems to allow them to cater for their guests’ requirements. 


What is the impact on tourism? 

As the number one venue for international conferences in Africa, we are concerned about the potential impact of inaccurate and alarmist messaging on our industry.


It is critical to note that tourism supports 300 000 jobs in our City and Province and should delegates opt not to come to Cape Town, they would be placing these jobs at risk.


As a strategic asset of local and provincial government, mandated to contribute to economic growth and job creation, it would be short-sighted for the CTICC not to host events that generate tourism revenue and, as a result, support the livelihoods of many South Africans.


International tourists and delegates to Cape Town add a maximum of 1% to the local population during peak season. Tourists have relatively moderate water needs compared to other water consumers but their positive economic impact is significant to Cape Town and the thousands of households they support.    


The CTICC has been reducing its water consumption through its environmental sustainability practices for several years. Over the last 6 years we have reduced our consumption by an average of 8 million litres per year. In addition, our latest water account shows the CTICC has already recorded a 42% saving in water consumption for the first quarter of its current financial year compared to the same period last year.  Indeed, our rain water and grey water re-use system has been very effective in reducing our use of municipal water over the past year.


At the CTICC, our focus remains on reducing water usage wherever possible and ensuring our events run successfully in a responsible manner.  

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