Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town

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Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town

Ellie Young

Hello all,


We wanted to share the latest news on Wikimania with you.


We are very excited to be hosted by Cape Town for Wikimania 2018 in July. As you may know, Cape Town has been experiencing a drought for some time; the Foundation and Wikimania organizers have been carefully monitoring the situation. We have looked at a range of options and will continually assess the situation to ensure that we both support the local community and manage our ability to host an outstanding event. We have created a page on the Wikimania wiki to track developments.[1] “Day Zero”—the day city water was meant to run out—was pushed back by several months to reflect the effectiveness of the ongoing campaign to save water, and has most recently been indefinitely postponed thanks to efforts by the citizens of Cape Town.   


To help conserve water we will be asked to:

  • Take short showers. Visitors and residents alike are asked to limit their showers to two minutes (120 seconds).

  • Flush only when necessary to dispose of solid waste.

  • Use hand sanitizers instead of washing hands after bathroom visits.

  • Don’t leave water running. For example, when brushing your teeth use water in a cup to rinse.


Although attendees will be asked to save water as much as possible, the hotel assures us it has a secure water supply that is both administered separately from the city's system and drawn from multiple independent sources (including groundwater and desalination). While the drought will impact our comfort, we will have plenty of water to meet our needs for hydration and sanitation. We will strive to be cognizant of the impact our presence has on the city’s water supply.


It is clear that the city is eager to have our presence.[2] Cape Town is highly dependent on tourism, which will help fund the infrastructure the city needs to deal with ongoing challenges of water conservation. Our presence will also have a positive impact on other organizations hoping to hold their events there as well.


We will continue to closely monitor the situation, but at this juncture we are committed to holding Wikimania in Cape Town. Holding Wikimania in Cape Town provides us the opportunity to show we are truly a global movement. The water crisis currently faced by Cape Town is an issue that will soon affect cities and people around the world, so there are valuable lessons even as we join the local community in their conservation efforts.


Perhaps most important is each person’s commitment to respect for our host city, and eagerness to attend at this time in service to that community. Wikimania is an exciting but stressful event and there are going to be additional stressors, please consider that when making travel decisions. For those accustomed to unrestricted water, this may challenge you and we strongly suggest you make the decision whether to attend with full information about the restrictions, and understanding about how they may affect your visit.[2] We very much hope you will choose to join us, but of course, no one is required to attend.


If you have any questions regarding Wikimania, please send them my way. We expect to announce the program by early May.


Best regards,


Ellie Young

Wikimedia Foundation Events Manager



[1] https://wikimania2018.wikimedia.org/wiki/Water_shortage

[2] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/africa/south-africa/cape-town/water-crisis-drought-how-to/ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-water-tourism/fearing-tourist-drought-cape-town-charts-a-new-relationship-with-water-idUSKCN1G42FO and https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/africa/south-africa/cape-town/articles/cape-town-drought-water-crisis-how-visitors-help/



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