Bruna Kajiya rode the Theewaterskloof Dam during Cape Town's worst drought in 100 years

April 25, 2019 | Kiteboarding
Bruna Kajiya: riding the dry sands of the Theewaterskloof Dam | Photo: Trautman/Red Bull

Between mid-2017 and mid-2018, Cape Town became the world's first major city to run out of water completely.

The severe water shortage led to the creation of the concept of "Day Zero," the day the water levels of major regional dams supplying the Cape Town fell below 13.5 percent.

The authorities implemented acute water restrictions. On February 1, 2018, and the limit for personal water use reached 50 liters per day, a sixth of average daily use in the United States.

Capetonians were forced to stockpile bottled water, avoid flushing toilets, cut down on showers, and pray for the gods to produce and send rain clouds.

During the Cape Town's worst drought in recorded history, professional kiteboarder Bruna Kajiya and photographer Kelvin Trautman head to Theewaterskloof Dam, the city's largest dam.

The duo wanted to raise awareness about how four million residents of the Mother City were forced to become some of the most efficient water savers on the planet.

At the same time, and from a sports perspective, Kajiya aimed at kitesurfing across the Theewaterskloof Dam when it was only 11.4 percent full.

Bruna Kajiya: the world kiteboarding champion was shocked with what she saw at the Theewaterskloof Dam | Photo: Trautman/Red Bull

A Shocking Sight

When the team arrived at the dam, they were shocked by what they had in front of them.

"I was aware that we were running out of water, but like a lot of problems with the environment, we can be aware of it but not fully conscious of the depth of the problem," explained the three-time world kiteboarding champion.

Despite all the sand, rocks, and gusty, inconsistent and unreliable wind conditions, the Brazilian was able to ride her kite, while Trautman took the aerial shots.

Kajiya comes from Sao Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil. In 2016, the metropolis also had a severe water shortage, so she knows how important it is to save the precious liquid.

"Many families didn't have water for their basic needs, and people started getting sick. The Brazilian government sent trucks with water, and everyone was pushing and shoving to get a little bit. It was chaotic," adds Bruna.

The good news is that things have changed in Cape Town. The residents have learned to avoid "Day Zero" by reducing water consumption by close to 60 percent.

Hopefully, the world will learn from South Africa. Saving water makes the planet a better place.

Theewaterskloof Dam: between 2017 and 2018, Cape Town's largest dam nearly ran out of water | Photo: Trautman/Red Bull

The Summer Surf Gear Guide 2019