Horse breeders struggling as Cape Town drought bites

How Cape Town's drought affects horse breeding
How Cape Town's drought affects horse breeding

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Story highlights

  • Cape Town enduring worst drought in over a century
  • Residents permitted to use no more than 87 liters of water per day
  • Lack of water also affecting the horse breeding industry

(CNN)Cape Town, South Africa could run out of water in 95 days.

After its worst drought in over a century, that is the nightmare scenario facing Capetonians after a statement from local authorities earlier this week called on everyone to save water wherever possible.
On April 21, if the current situation doesn't improve, most taps will be turned off, according to local authorities. This will mean residents having to queue daily for 25 liters of water at approximately 200 collection points across the city.
    To put that into context, a single 10-minute shower typically requires more than 75 liters.
    It's a situation putting huge strain on the three million people who live in the Cape Town areas, as well as industries such as agriculture and also horse breeding.
    Agricultural businesses are being asked to reduce water consumption by 60% and businesses that don't adhere to these regulations face fines or the installation of "water management devices."
    CNN's Winning Post team was in Cape Town during the first week of January, when a "Level 6" water restriction had been put into effect with the start of the new year limiting households to 87 liters of water per day.
    But the situation has worsened. While 54% of Cape Town residents adhered to the limit during the first week of the month, that number dropped to 39% the following week.
    "It's been terrible," Ross Kieswetter, owner of Highlands Stud, one of South Africa's leading horse breeders, told CNN.
    "They've put meters on, and if you use your amount in two days, that's you for the rest of the month."
    "Breeding horses is hard enough as it is," says his brother Craig Kieswetter, a former international cricketer who appeared 71 times for England before being forced to retire through injury.
    "Now with the drought it obviously makes it exceedingly more difficult. At the moment, it's tough all around."
    South African horse trainer Justin Snaith is another concerned by the lack of rain, telling CNN Winning Post it's becoming a "major worry."
    "As bad as it is now, the forecast is not good for the next few months," says Snaith. "We just hope all the time that the rain is coming and that we have a good Winter.
    "Fill up the dams, and we'll be alright."

    'Day Zero'

    While Capetonians could soon be queuing for 25 liters each day, the average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons (302-378 liters) of water per day, which shows just how everyday could soon be effected.
    In a desperate plea for greater conservation efforts, Cape Town city officials revealed that the water consumption rate was a growing concern.
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    "Cape Town's average daily collective consumption is still too high," the statement continued. "It has increased to 618 million liters per day, up from 578 million liters per day.
    "For each day that Cape Town uses more than 500 million liters, the city moves closer to Day Zero."
    The city's dam levels have dropped to 28.7%, although only 18.7% of that is usable water due to the remaining amount being too difficult to access.
    Alternative water sources are being explored with increasing urgency. Groundwater abstraction has begun and three desalination plants are in operation, while recycled waste water from a plant in Zandvliet could be available soon.
    The footage, including drone photography, shot by CNN Winning Post's team gives a sense of the water depletion in the Cape Town area. Click or swipe on the video to find out more.