I’m scared of climate change. If our recent conversations with supporters about water are anything to go by, I’m not the only one.

The drought in Cape Town made headlines recently when “Day Zero” was announced – the day the taps would be turned off for those lucky enough to have piped water in their houses. It seems that the reason this made the global news is that this would have been one of the first instances of a relatively wealthy city having to come to grips with water scarcity.

We know from the people we work with across Africa that this was definitely not an issue confined to Cape Town. Even as the threat of Day Zero receded in Cape Town – for now – the impacts of climate change are being felt faster and more severely than predicted. Our relationship to water is being radically altered.

We asked our networks in Cape Town what impacts and changes they are seeing in their daily lives, and how they are reacting to the drought. We then took the stories, advice and “water hacks” we received and sent them to people in Nairobi and Accra, two other African cities struggling with water shortages. We asked them for their input. In part two of this blog, we will share what we heard with you.

To be clear, access to water is a complex issue, and there are many other aspects to it beyond the impact that climate change is having. Cape Town in particular represents a huge water equality issue, especially when one considers that the issue was only reported on, and only became a crisis when more wealthy residents were threatened by having to collect water from central points – something that is a daily reality for many residents. Similarly in Nairobi, we heard stories of so-called water “cartels” sabotaging infrastructure so that they could sell more water to residents. These issues are no less serious, however climate change will not discriminate – it will mean water, what we all depend on every day, is harder to source for all of us.

The effects of climate change, and how climate impacts are making water shortages worse is very clearly understood, not only by climate scientists, but by the people we heard from who are experiencing these impacts directly.

Water is one reason that is driving us to fight against fossil fuels, we’ll share some of the ways the people we heard from are coping with scarce water in our next blog. In the meantime, you can help us fight climate change by getting involved in the African mobilisation against fossil fuels on the 25th of May.