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Cape Town braces for severe water crisis

in Africa & the Diaspora/Crisis & Natural Disasters/Feature by

Extreme drought conditions in Cape Town accelerate emergency plans by city officials preparing for a severe water shortage.

With less than three months of clean water in reservoirs of the Western Cape Region, Cape Town, the second-largest South African city, is headed to becoming the first major city to run completely out of usable water.

Already authorities monitor queues at public standpipes. For weeks, broadcasts of ways to save water, such as quick or intermittent showering and reducing toilet flushes flood the news.

Residents will be mandated to observe a 50-litre-a-day ration or a little over 13 gallons in February to stave off what is called, Day Zero, but as of now, they have not decreased their water usage, according to Cape Town’s mayor, Patricia de Lille.

Crisis Uncovers Deeper Issues

4 million people live in Cape Town, a bustling seaside city that is a high-tourist destination.

Known for its picturesque views, wine vineyards, marine life and prominent flat-topped landmark, Table Mountain, the city’s water crisis began in 2015.

Three consecutive years of severe drought taxed a city already experiencing low water levels sourced from its dams.

The boom in population growth and development in the Western Cape of South Africa along with rapidly changing climate exacerbated drought conditions.

Investigations unveiled that a significant amount of blame falls on city management. Officials discovered that 37% of the water is leaking from broken and ruptured city pipes.

Other reports detail water siphoned from illegal connections. Stealing water is an issue also prominent in Durban, another coastal city that sits on the eastern side of the country.

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