Scenes from a Dry City

2018, 13 minutes

Cape Town is facing a water shortage due to the persistent drought in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The level in the city’s reservoirs is steadily falling, and tight restrictions on water usage are in place. There are fears of a “Day Zero,” when the water supply will be turned off. “We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water, we now have to force them,” says the city’s mayor.

In 12 minutes, Scenes from a Dry City looks at the water crisis from different perspectives: illegal car washers, demonstrators against water privatization, Christians in a mass service praying for rain, or golfers on a lush green course. These scenes are interspersed with shots of the effects of drought on the reservoir, and the canals and drains that carry an ever-decreasing trickle of water. The camerawork and drone shots are stunning. Presented without commentary, the film gives an impression not only of the water crisis, but also of the racial inequality and income disparity in South African society.


Ecology and climate
Suitable for
havo/vwo - bovenbouw
havo/vwo - onderbouw
François Verster
Country of production
South Africa
Documentary, Short
13 minutes
Age rating