Voelvlei Dam near Cape Town early in 2018. Picture: REUTERS
Voelvlei Dam near Cape Town early in 2018. Picture: REUTERS

Cape Town’s water crisis highlights the threats to South African companies of a repeat event and should serve as a warning to vulnerable cities worldwide, analysts from UBS wrote in a report.

The drought-hit city come within 90 days of turning off the taps earlier in 2018.

New Delhi and Hyderabad in India, Beijing, among other Chinese cities, Jakarta, Singapore and Sydney in the Asia-Pacific region, Brussels and Rome in Europe, along with San Francisco and the Manhattan area in the US are some of those with relatively high water risks, the UBS analysts said, citing information from the World Resources Institute.

With the city in the grips of a record drought, in January, Cape Town authorities told residents that their supplies could be cut in April, as dam levels dwindled dangerously below 30%. That risk has receded after a recovery in rainfall and severe restrictions on water use, with the so-called "Day Zero" pushed out to at least 2019.

Dam levels have risen to 63.5%, city authorities said Tuesday.

But Cape Town "is not yet out of the woods", the UBS analysts wrote in their report on Tuesday. The Swiss bank cited work by scientists suggesting that global warming had tripled the risk of a three-year dry run in the Western Cape, increasing the risk of a repeat of 2018’s "water crunch".

With James Cone