Water restrictions in Cape Town have pushed many residents into seeking alternative sources of water, as the possibility of taps running dry by March looms.
This has, however prompted, business opportunities for many. Head of core business at Gumtree South Africa Claire Cobbledick says there has been an "explosion" of devices connected to the water crisis –– and the number of people searching for them.
According to Cobbledick, this is a "a classic demonstration of the responsiveness and flexibility in the economy [that] has been enabled by online platforms."
"Businesses can start and then scale up quickly with a much smaller and more accurate marketing spend than in the past, and in precise response to measurable demand."
Not only is there a demand for plumbers, but the number of searches for Cape Town borehole service providers on Gumtree has doubled in a year.
More than 50 specialist suppliers of water-recycling systems are now listed in the Cape, ready to install systems that channel water from the bathroom, sink and washing machine for reuse.
Water storage is now a critical issue, and there are more than 1,440 sale listings for tanks in Western Cape alone.
"Businesses can start and then scale up quickly with a much smaller and more accurate marketing spend than in the past, and in precise response to measurable demand," Cobbledick added.
A previously small category –– pool covers –– now has 1,330 current listings in the Cape, and a new subset in the pool-service category is the installation of direct-draining pipes, which allow pumps to work even when the swimming-pool water level is below the weir.
Online listings and searches for paving, wooden decking, artificial grass and water-wise plants and trees have all boomed as well.
Level 5 water restrictions were imposed on Cape Town in August, as a result of the severe drought conditions.