Exploring productive Features of Infrastructure

Social Mobilisation during the Cape Town Water Crisis


  • Janina Herzog-Hawelka Department of International Development Studies | University of Vienna




hydropolitics, infrastructure, urban metabolism, social mobilisation, Cape Town water crisis


This article explores social mobilisation in the context of the 2018 water crisis in Cape Town. Water infrastructure reveals political realities and disciplines, directs and shapes the lives and lifestyles of different populations. The announcement of Day Zero caused various reactions across Cape Town but made clear that the water infrastructure was quotidian and unremarkable whilst working uninterruptedly. The interference of the water infrastructure created an awareness of water and its use across Cape Town. Capetonians developed daily strategies to cope with the situation. These strategies interfered with their daily tasks, impacted personal relationships, and revealed narrations of struggle and privilege. During the water crisis, people became experts on water-related topics and many residents engaged extensively with water realities that affected their own lives and the lives of those around them. Water realities arose from daily challenges which Capetonians were experiencing and as a result, they felt the need to address the issue with vigour, including in the form of social mobilisation, civic activism, and public participation processes.


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How to Cite

Herzog-Hawelka, J. . (2021). Exploring productive Features of Infrastructure: Social Mobilisation during the Cape Town Water Crisis. International Journal of Water Governance, 8. https://doi.org/10.25609/ijwg.8.2021.5780



Research Article

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