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Water Crisis Takes Over Cape Town and Officials are saying it will be the Worst Disaster since 9/11

Screen Shot 2018 02 01 at 12.07.08 PM 758x375 - Water Crisis Takes Over Cape Town and Officials are saying it will be the Worst Disaster since 9/11

 

 

 

After three years of unprecedented drought, the South African city of Cape Town has less than 90 days worth of water in its reservoirs, putting it on track to be the first major city in the world to run out of water. Unless residents drastically cut down on daily use, Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille warns that taps in the seaside metropolis of four million will soon run dry. On April 22nd, to be exact.

Is this a joke you’re probably thinking. . . And the answer to your question is? Nope. Day Zero, as it is called, is real, and is calculated every week based on current reservoir capacity and daily consumption. The city won’t literally run dry; in most cases, reservoirs can’t be drained to the last drop, as silt and debris make the last 10% of a dam’s water unusable. City authorities have decided that once the dams reach 13.5% capacity, municipal water supply will be turned off for all but essential services, like hospitals, hotels and more.

Cape Town law enforcement officials have issued fines to residents who have failed to comply with the new level 6B water restrictions, which kicked in on Thursday.

Under the new restrictions, water consumption is limited to 50 litres per person per day in the hope that Day Zero – the day the taps will be closed – can be avoided.

 

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Cape Town residents are allowed to fill up one 6.6-gallon container at the Newlands Brewery natural water spring. Samantha Reinders / for NBC News

 

Below is a map showing a three year span of Cape Town’s drought.

theewatersklooof oli 2018014 - Water Crisis Takes Over Cape Town and Officials are saying it will be the Worst Disaster since 9/11After three years of drought the Theewaterskloof Dam, the city’s largest reservoir which provides roughly half of its water, is at 13 percent capacity. NASA Earth Observatory

 

The city is now working to upgrade its water systems — rushing to build desalination, aquifer and water-recycling projects — and help stretch the current supply, but officials say residents need to step up, too.
“It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero,” the mayor’s office said in January. “We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them.”

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