'Composting toilets' and 'Day Zero' dominate Cape Town Google searches

(iStock)
(iStock)

Johannesburg - As Day Zero - the day when taps will run dry - approaches for Cape Town residents, the city’s internet searches have seen a surge in water-related topics including pit toilets. 

According to Google Trends, the search term “waterless toilets” reached a peak in search results over 12 months on January 28. 

Google Trends numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. 

A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term and a value of 50 means that the term is half as popular.

Similarly, “composting toilet” became a ‘breakout’ topic on Google Trends, meaning the search topic grew by over 5 000%.

Google Trends point to all search queries from “waterless toilet” and "composting toilet" emanating from the Mother City. 

Also topping the list of Cape Town search results is “water tanks”, in which interest spiked to 700% since November 2017.

The topic “cape town day zero” also saw a 200% surge in searches in the past 90 days. 

Scramble for bottled water and JoJo tanks

According to data from product comparison website PriceCheck, Capetonians are scrambling to get their hands on bottled water and JoJo tanks.

PriceCheck reported a 577% increase in searches for ‘bottled water’ since December in anticipation of Day Zero, set for April 16. It said that ‘JoJo tanks’ are one of the most searched for items across the site.

PriceCheck data also showed that ‘artificial grass’ is among the five most searched for products on the site.

While it would be tempting for suppliers to push up prices, PriceCheck CEO Kevin Tucker said there has not been any abnormal movement in this regard.

He does, however, note that “prices of specialised water saving products and devices are on the rise”.

“Too many Capetonians have made the change to water-conscious living too late,” he said, adding that the move to higher grey water consumption and getting the tools needed to do this should have been done earlier.

Those preparing themselves for Day Zero should, meanwhile, stock up on some basic provisions.

“When Day Zero hits,” Tucker says, “everyone should have the following available in their homes: hand sanitiser and wet wipes, bottled water, kettle/stove top or heater and pots, buckets as well as basic medication to keep any water-borne illnesses at bay”.

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
ZAR/USD
15.20
(-0.25)
ZAR/GBP
20.40
(-0.01)
ZAR/EUR
18.42
(-0.06)
ZAR/AUD
11.29
(-0.13)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.06)
Gold
1835.48
(-0.24)
Silver
24.14
(+0.55)
Platinum
1061.00
(+3.78)
Brent Crude
48.78
(+0.95)
Palladium
2336.01
(+1.71)
All Share
59419.37
(+0.80)
Top 40
54500.04
(+0.61)
Financial 15
11646.83
(+2.17)
Industrial 25
79758.36
(+0.10)
Resource 10
57015.33
(+0.70)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 383 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 948 votes
My landlord refused
27% - 499 votes
Vote