Vanderbilt students study in Cape Town during water crisis


Hunter Long

Kirkland Hall.

Todd Polk

On March 13, 2018, the South African government declared the water crisis in the city of Cape Town a natural disaster. Since early January, students traveling abroad in Cape Town have had to rethink their water consumption habits in the face of a late rainy reason and persist drought. According to Global Safety and Security Manager Andrea Bordeau, however, dry spells in South Africa are not uncommon.

“Cape Town is a location, based on its climate, that has cycles that are drier than usual,” Bordeau said. “They are experiencing an unusually dry cycle and subsequent drought right now and the local government has put plans in place to conserve water until the rainy season can boost supply.”

Bordeau, who advises students traveling abroad about international safety and accessing health care while outside the United States, notes while students in Cape Town are not in any immediate danger, they are asked to recognize the importance of smarter consumption.

“Students who participate in programs in Cape Town have enough water for hygiene and drinking but are asked to be mindful about how much water they use.”

Although Bordeau did not mention any additional changes to Cape Town’s programs, she said that the university will maintain close contact with both students and site leaders.

“We will continue to monitor the water situation and if any changes to our programming are needed we will communicate with our students in collaboration with our program providers,” Bordeau said.

Students who want to know more about possible security risks and accessing healthcare while traveling abroad can contact Andrea Bordeau at [email protected].