When I told friends that my wife and I were heading to Johannesburg -- which had just been hit by torrential rain and flooding -- for a family wedding over Easter, they joked about how lucky we were to be able to take deep baths and long showers.
By now, residents of Cape Town have grown used to living with the extreme drought that has the city by the throat -- but every now and then something happens that makes the reality of what we are facing very personal. For me, such a moment came last week when a decades-old rose bush in my garden literally keeled over dead, a victim of the drought.
Just three years ago, as large parts of South Africa struggled to survive a crippling drought and dams dropped to critically low levels, residents of Johannesburg were hit with stringent water restrictions.
Driving through a middle-class suburb of Cape Town a few days ago, I noticed about 20 people lined up in an orderly queue on the sidewalk. As I got closer, I saw that everyone was carrying plastic containers, and some even had garbage bins.
Like many people in Cape Town, I teared up last week as I watched a video of the gates of a privately owned dam being opened to release 10 billion liters of water, a lifesaving gift for our drought stricken city.
Popping into my local supermarket in Cape Town a few days ago, I noticed something I'd never seen before -- a long line of people queuing out the door. A woman in the queue told me they were waiting for a delivery of bottled water, as the store had run out of it earlier in the day.