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Why Earth Week? Because Water is Life

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” —Ancient Proverb

In partnership with Compassion Games, Play for Peace has organized activities for Earth Week—a nine-day global challenge beginning April 14 and running through April 22 (Earth Day)—to inspire acts of love, service, and compassion toward Mother Earth. Around the world, players and teams come together to come up with fun, meaningful, and creative ways to develop regenerative practices and activities that celebrate life's interconnectivity while cultivating a responsibility to protect and restore the Earth for future generations of life to come. We focus very hard on the crisis our friends in Cape Town, South Africa, are facing. After years of drought, the city announced in January 2018 that a "Day Zero" would occur in April—meaning that residents would need to queue for rationed water—a mere six gallons per day. However, just 48 days later, the city announced that "Day Zero" would be pushed back to 2019. The city credits the dramatic recovery to its conservation efforts:

  • Water consumption dropped significantly, from over 600 million liters per day to around 520 million liters. This was driven by a combination of tight new restrictions, significant tariff increases, a deliberate drop in water pressure, and residents' compliance with water-saving measures.
  • Water supply to three agricultural irrigation boards was cut entirely.
  • The farmers of the Groenland Water Users Association donated 10 billion liters of water from its Eikenhof Dam to the city.
  • Augmentation began to come on stream by the targeted dates.

While certainly a relief for the time being, the crisis is not over. And experts say that more cities should be prepared for a "Day Zero" in the future. Cape Town is South Africa's second largest city, with an estimated population of 3.78 million people. The city was also voted the best tourist attraction city in south Africa five years in a row. Local lives and tourism has been affected immensely with media reports indicating that people have been advised to save and re-use water where possible. According to Thozi Ndlazi,  Africa's Play for Peace Regional Coordinator, the situation became noticeable about two years ago. The city has been very open and honest with the residents about the crisis, and though the Day Zero has been pushed back, the situation seems inevitable. "The worst experience was the day we didn't have water for nine straight hours," Thozi said. "We had to go to the grocery store to purchase water for cooking and drinking. We couldn't even use toilets that day." The Cape Town-area PFP clubs have started to spread awareness about the various ways of conserving water in schools and the community.