DEAR CAPE TOWN – Filmmaker Sven Harding’s short film considers South Africa’s water crisis in a visually poetic, ethereal manner.
Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain was once a place from which springs and rivers flowed freely. As the city became populated, the mountain’s natural water sources were turned into dumping grounds. As a result of the manmade contamination, most of the channels were paved over and forgotten. Now, as the country faces the worst drought in the last 30 years, filmmaker Sven Harding says that the Cape’s natural spring water could be the answer.
According to international development charity, WaterAid, officials in the city of Durban have already begun water rationing for the city’s three million people and there are concerns Cape Town will have to do the same. In other regions of the country, citizens rely on water tankers or contaminated reservoirs to access life-sustaining water.
In Harding’s short film, Place of Sweet Waters, he highlights Cape Town’s largely untapped fresh water springs. Research suggests that there are around 25 springs and four underground rivers flowing under the City Bowl while the City of Cape Town has only 13 springs on their records.
“Shortage of safe water is a global concern, and WaterAid is doing a fine job in highlighting this issue and campaigning for change to improve people’s lives,” says Harding.
“Cape Town and most of the rest of South Africa is currently experiencing its worst drought in decades. The city is severely water-stressed, through this film I wanted to highlight how this naturally occurring resource has been largely untapped, and wasted, for decades.”
Campaigner Caron Von Zeil, who features in the film, has campaigned for this cause for over a decade. Through her project, Reclaim Camissa, she has tried to prove how much pristine spring water comes from the mountain and is simply wasted by flowing into the wastewater systems of the city.
The film was produced as part of a global sH2Orts film competition run by WaterAid and the Public Media Alliance’s WorldView project, with the aim of documenting the future of water.