Cape town experiences water shortage

Cape Town in South Africa will reach Day Zero on May 11-the day water will no longer run from tap.

Currently, Cape Town residents are lining up at water stations with buckets to collect their day’s worth of water, which amounts to 50 liters, or about 13 gallons per day. With this amount of water, residents are restricted to a minimal use.

Meanwhile, the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water in the same time frame, according to United States Geological Survey.  

Conservation methods include 90 second showers and not flushing the toilets.

“We have stocked up [on] bottled water, hand sanitizers and wet wipes,” said resident Wayne Ronne, according to CNN. “You literally feel guilty when flushing,”

The city previously relies on the infrequent rain as a water source. However, the dams that supported Cape Town is now drying up at an alarming rate due to climate change and the growing population that the storage cannot keep up with.

“While they were completely full just a few years ago, the dams now stand at about a quarter capacity,” according to Vox, an American news website.

While wealthier residents in Cape Town are installing water tanks in their homes, poorer residents who live farther away from the water sites have a harder time obtaining the necessary water for their day. When Day Zero arrives, police and military forces will control the water collection areas, and prevent anarchy that may occur, reported Vox.

Although this is the first example of a drought causing a complete exhaustion of water supplies, it will be not the last. According to National Geographic, major cities such as Jakarta, Mexico City and Melbourne are also at risk of running out of water in the next few years.

“It’s clear our current system is no longer reliable enough,” reported David Olivier, researcher at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand to National Geographic. “Extreme events are only going to become more common.”

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