Cape Town, one of South Africa’s most luscious and amazing cities that had once been in the forefront of SA green movement, is currently going through a major water crisis and it has reached its peak level. The ongoing drought in the city is said to be the worst drought to hit the city in almost a century.
In almost two months, the residents of Cape Town might lose piped water in their homes, if they don’t soon act to counter it.
The government in the city has already announced “day zero” in the city, that is, April 12. The local authorities have even warned the 4 million residents that if they do not reduce their water consumption by “day zero”, they will have to queue at 200 standpipes for daily water rations of 25 litres.
The capital of South Africa has been attracting millions of tourists every year, and this is said to be one of the major factors behind the drought.
The city has been under the situation of drought for past three years and now, the massive reservoir of the city – Theewaterskloof Dam – has dried up, with just 13% full. The residents are now being asked to curb their daily water consumption to just 50 litres. Just a month ago, level six restrictions had placed residents on a daily allowance of 87 litres, however, as the reservoir came down to 13% (from 14% recorded last week), this immediate step was imposed on people.
While climate change is said to be the major problem behind the drought in the city, it isn’t just that. Poor management of the city’s water system, which relies almost entirely on rainfall, also contributed to the growing crisis.
The Theewaterskloof Dam can hold around 4,80,000 megalitres and accounts for half the water held by dams in the region. But due to severe drought and population growth, it is now only 13 percent full, down from 14 percent last week.
Cape Town is considered to become the first major city in the world which will run out of the water. Here are some of the satellite images that show the dramatic change in the reservoir level between 2011 and last month.
Rapid migration to the city is another major reason behind the drought situation in the city. In 2000, a little less than 3 million people lived in the city, today there are just less than 4 million.
The authorities are trying their best to curb the water consumption in the city. A fine has already been imposed on those who use too much water at home, as 70 percent of water used in Cape Town is consumed in homes. Along with this, the use of drinking water to wash vehicles, fill up private swimming pools, hose down paved areas and water gardens, is illegal.
While other international cities have faced water crisis, Cape Town’s situation is more extreme and an effective handling of the situation could serve as a global model, said Sisa Ntshona, CEO of the South African Tourism agency. ‘We are actually the guinea pigs to the world as to how to overcome this,’ he said, as reported by Daily Mail.