Cape Town was once known to have abundant freshwater at its disposal. Today, the city stands in the predicament of running completely dry in less than 3 months. Cape Town is the first city in the world to run out of water.
Water levels in Cape Town have been diminishing rapidly due to a three-year drought attack. This year, the water levels have dropped so low that the town may not have any water left at all. It is predicted that on April 21 – or Day Zero – the city will reach a point where dams reach 13.5% of their capacity.
Every week, water levels are being calculated on the basis of daily consumption. On January 8th, the date of Day Zero was brought down from April 29 to April 22 – showing the dire condition of this city.
What Will Happen When Water Runs Out?
All municipal water supplies will be turned off. Residents will have to go to one of the 200 water points throughout the city where they will be rationed with 25 liters per head, per day. These water points will be stationed with armed guards to enforce peace and security.
What Steps Have the Residents Taken?
The city laid out a limit of 87 liters of water usage per person each day. Residents have shortened their shower time to 2 minutes and have stopped watering their gardens. They have adjusted to flushing their toilets only when absolutely necessary and also limited their washing machine usage.
However, statistically, 46% of Cape Town residents have not been following water limitations. This led to Day Zero’s expected arrival to be pushed a forward by a week.
In an attempt to increase awareness, the city has gone live with a water–monitoring map. This map shows the amount of water used by each property – and urges its people to encourage their neighbors to stick to the water limit.
The city is also hurriedly building desalination plants, drilling for groundwater and recycling wastewater.
A Consequence of Climate Change
Although population plays a huge role in Cape Town’s water crisis, climate change is the most pressing reason. Climate change scientists predict that the three-year drought and Day Zero of this South African city is just the beginning. They believe that more dry years and very few wet years are expected in the future.
It’s not just Cape Town, but the whole world is facing hotter and drier weather. Freshwater supplies have been depleting gradually all over the earth, and it is high time that water conservation is taken seriously.