Cape Town Is Running Out Of Water In 100 Days
Located in a geological depression, beneath Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa is set to be the first major city in the world to run out of fresh, drinkable water. Under normal circumstances, Cape Town would get its water from the abundant winter precipitation. But after a three-year-long drought, the city’s reserves are set to expire in less than 100 days – on the 21st of April, to be more exact.
When that day arrives, and the situation doesn’t improve, then all water in the city will be turned off, with the exception of the poorest neighborhoods. Residents of the city will be required to source their water from the 200 available collection sites. Each citizen will be given 6.6 gallons of water per day. This daily quota will be enforced by armed guards that will be in charge of keeping the peace.
For now, however, there is a daily water limit per citizen of 23 gallons per day. In the meantime, they are also looking at various water recycling projects and the construction of three desalination plants, which they hope will be up and running by the March.
According to Time Magazine, this three-year-long drought has led to a backlog of water storage tanks and “unwashed hair is now a symbol of upright citizenship” in Cape Town. The city has also produced a live water-monitoring map that displays how much water each individual property is using. This map hopes to encourage, or shame, residents in conserving water.
“The potential water-saving benefit for all of Cape Town of making water consumption indicators publicly available outweighs any privacy issues at this stage of the crisis,” Zara Nicholson‚ spokesperson for Mayor Patricia de Lille, told Cape Town Etc. “This behavior-modification tool attempts to acknowledge good savers and encourage those who have yet to join the efforts.”
Rising global temperatures and shifting weather patterns, though, not the sole ones responsible for this development, have certainly added to it. In a study, it was found that over 74% of the global population will be subjected to dangerous heatwaves by the end of the century.
Moreover, satellite images have shown that nearly a third of all groundwater supplies around the globe are under severe stress from human activity. Cape Town can now be only an example of what could happen in many other places around the globe if we will not learn how to use water more consciously and responsibly.