Due to substantial concerns about student health and safety due to the water shortage crisis in the city of Cape Town the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) is cancelling its Cape Town program for Spring Quarter 2017-18, and we are notifying twenty-seven (27) students who had planned to attend.
Cape Town’s water shortage stems from insufficient rainfall and rapidly declining dam levels. City officials have announced increased restrictions on water usage beginning February 1, 2018, limiting all residents to no more than 50 liters per person per day for at least the next five months. Given increasingly mounting concerns about the drought, city officials anticipate Cape Town’s water supply may be cut off fully on April 12 — otherwise known as “Day Zero.” This move would turn off water taps throughout the city, leaving residents without access to running water. Consequently, all residents will be limited to 25 liters of water per day, distributed at collection points across the city. Water usage will be scrutinized and rationed for an indefinite period.
As we approach Day Zero, the water crisis has the potential to lead to social unrest. We also could not guarantee that our students would have adequate water for personal use and drinking. And we do not want to contribute to the crisis by adding visitors at a time permanent residents are facing shortages of such a critical resource.
Twenty-two (22) undergraduate students are currently studying abroad at the Stanford Program in Cape Town during Winter Quarter. While this program continues to operate, Stanford is closely monitoring the water shortage and the impact it may have on students, as well as students’ impact on an already limited resource. Adequate water for drinking and personal hygiene is currently available for students participating in the program. On-site BOSP staff, faculty, and students are observing water-saving measures in accordance with water restrictions imposed by the municipality.
While we monitor the water situation, BOSP will continue to accept applications for Summer Quarter 2017-18, we also are moving forward with planning for Soccer and Rugby in South Africa: A Racial Divide and Future Transformation, - a three-week faculty-led seminar taught by Robert Sinclair, Charles M. Pigott Professor in the School of Engineering. Professor Sinclair’s course is scheduled to take place in Cape Town June 24-July 14, 2018. BOSP will continue to closely monitor the water shortage and re-evaluate the decision to operate summer programs in Cape Town at the end of February. Further updates will be posted on the BOSP website.