Jan 20, 2018

Cape Town's taps could run dry within 100 days

Bare sand and dried tree trunks standing out at Theewaterskloof Dam, which has less than 20% of its water capacity. Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images

Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water, Xanthea Limberg, said the city's taps are expected to go dry by April 22, per Reuters. That’s puts “Day Zero” fewer than 100 days away.

Picture this: Residents lining up for water, and soon, if there’s no rain to help replenish dams. Dams that supply nearly 4 million people are at under 20% capacity. Residents will have to line up when those levels reach 13.5%, per Reuters.

Why it’s happening:

Cape Town has spent three consecutive years in drought, and rains needed to replenish the dams have not come.

What they're doing:

  • Cape Town has implemented level 6 water restrictions and is encouraging people to live on less than 87 liters of water per day. But Limberg said some people aren’t heeding the recommendation, exacerbating the problem.
  • This past week the city launched an online water consumption map that allows people to check their neighbors’ water consumption habits, per ABC News.

Up next:

  • The city reportedly has a trial water collection site already and is considering adding 200 more. Residents would only be able to take 25 liters of water per day at maximum.
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