Feb 5th, 2018, 03:51 AM

Cape Town Water Crisis

By Lorenza Aranda
Image Credit: Flickr/David Stanley
Cape Town is running out of water in 90 days.

The South African city of Cape Town is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water unless its residents ration their water intake drastically.

"Day zero," as they call it, is the day that they are supposedly running out of water (non-essential supplies), and it just jumped forward to May 11 according to Major de Lille.


Image Credit: Pixabay/Ray Mark

According to Time Magazine, the city will not literally run out of water, being that reservoirs cannot be empty because silt and debris make up to 10 percent of the water unusable. However, authorities have decided to turn off water supply once the dam reaches 13.5 percent capacity, except for essential services.  

When "Day Zero" hits, Capetonians will have to go collect strictly rationed water to the approximately 200 collection points scattered around the city, according to Vox news. 

The city gets 99 percent of its water from dams that depend on rain, and this year they have not seen much of it. 

Thomas De Beer, a resident of Cape Town, says that everyone has a restriction to only use 50 liters a day since the drought began. "It seems that most people don't respect the water restrictions so, if they keep going like this we are going to run out of water by April. We measure the water consumption per house, and they work out what should be 50 liters per person. Certain areas cut off water completely, for two or three hours a day."

One of the biggest concerns with the water crisis in Cape Town is that people will have to either pay higher prices for water or pick it up daily at different locations depending on their municipalities. When interviewing Thomas, the biggest concern was how the water would be rationed between social status. According to Thomas, the poor areas of the city are always going to have access to water, and the rich areas are going to be cut off unless they can afford water. 


Image Credit: Thomas De Beer

It's not only Capetown that has a water problem, it is all over South Africa, but most of the cities have enough water to last until it starts raining again. 

Thomas is not scared about the aftermath of "day zero." He said, "some people are considering moving already; they are freaking out. Of course, having to go to certain points to pick up water is not going to be fun. But if you try to use the minimum water it won't be a problem. The thing is, Cape Town gets rain, but unfortunately, it hasn't been raining at the reservoirs. So a lot of people implemented a system where they use their roofs to recollect water when it rains. They can fill up tanks and reuse it, which is very clever and efficient to get some extra water."

"I wouldn't move, I love Cape Town too much," he said, "we've been having this problem for a long time, so we're used to using as little later as we can, and if we have to go to pick up some, it's not that bad."

"It has happened in the past, but never like this, worst comes to worst, I think this situation can last for two months. But there are already plans in action, and the thing is that Cape Town has grown exponentially in the past years, and we've had many cycles of droughts, but due to the mass amount of people we didn't expect it to be this bad."