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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.

Go deeper

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.