Neighbourhood responses to drought in the Western Cape
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An extreme drought event occurred in the Western Cape when the mean level of water supply dams declined to 28% of capacity in August 2017 (Odendaal 2019). Our survey of 240 households and 71 businesses identified neighbourhood variations in response to the drought and to local government restrictions in water usage, and in the methods of adaptation that were implemented to mitigate the impact of the disaster. Whereas water consumption declined dramatically in comparison with drought responses in other contexts (Shaw et al. in Am Water Works Assoc 84(10):34–41, 1992, https://doi.org/10. 1002/j.1551-8833.1992.tb05862.x; Miller and Buys in Soc Nat Resour 21(3):244–257, 2008; Buurman et al. in Int J Water Resour Dev 33(1):31–50, 2017, https:// doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2016.1138398; Okaka and Odhiambo in S Afr Geogr J 100(3):378–393, 2018), significant variations in attitude and behaviour emerged between respondents of Western Cape neighbourhoods with different socio-economic profiles. Middle class and older households and waterintensive businesses or organisations were more likely to report substantial decreases in water usage and to be critical of official interventions than were poorer or younger households and small businesses.