Jamms Session: Day Zero

On Friday we hosted our biggest JAMMS session to date with more than 600 people in attendance. Thank you to all of our members who attended and contributed to this crucial discussion. It emerged from the meeting that collaboration between tourism role players is now more important than ever before.

All speakers were adamant that the industry must do everything it can to rally together and avoid Day Zero at all costs.

Chairperson of Cape Town Tourism and lead Chair of JAMMS, Mr Enver Mally: “We all do better if we collaborate but in times of crisis, these relationships are critical. We need to work together if we want to beat Day Zero and ensure the sustainability of Cape Town as a destination.”

Mr Peter Flower: “It will rain again, but at this stage it cannot be predicted when the rain will come. Monitoring dam levels (inflow, evaporation and withdrawals) and managing dam withdrawals is a key to maintaining the integrity of the system and getting through the drought. We cannot build our way out of the drought – driving down the demand and stretching what is left in the dams is the main component to getting through this.”

Deputy Mayor: Alderman Ian Neilson: “We have to cut down on our consumption if we are to get through this period and not get to Day Zero. We are determined that we should not allow this water crisis to also result in an economic crisis.”

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Mr Alan Winde emphasized the contribution of the sector to the economy: “We must avoid Day Zero, because our businesses cannot afford to move into that next stage – this region cannot afford to lose those jobs. Jobs depend on keeping this sector going, but we need to do this in a sustainable way. We need to have a concise and clear message on being open for business to maintain the status quo of the economy.

CEO of South Africa Tourism, Mr Sisa Ntshona spoke of the importance of fiercely guarding the Cape Town as a destination: “We need to protect our brand – it’s under attack. For the next three weeks, South African Tourism will be travelling around the world, spreading the message that Cape Town is open for business. We commit to equipping the tourism sector with knowledge and facts of running businesses within this context of a water crisis. We all need to build and protect the space, and we’re picking up this fight from different angles. The challenge is to remain clear and calm in what we’re doing to achieve productive results.”

The main takeaway from the session was that the entire sector needs to collaborate at this critical time to ensure long-term sustainability in tourism.

With this in mind, JAMMS has committed to finding innovative ways to avoid Day Zero by encouraging members and tourists to save and drive down consumption of potable water through the collective sharing of ideas. Please see the updated FAQs on our website as well as a comprehensive list of ways in which our members are cutting down water usage for more ideas on how you can further reduce consumption. Also keep an eye out for a video documenting the most important points from the meeting.

In addition, JAMMS will create local area water committees where members can engage regularly to share information and resources to get through the water crisis by supporting themselves, fellow members and the communities they operate in. We will keep you updated on these developments in the coming weeks.

By working together, we can ensure that the Mother City will be enjoyed by generations of tourists for many more years to come.