Cape Town runs out of water due to drought

Cape Town

The drought increased by the effects of climate change is causing that, CapeSouth Africa's second largest city and the country's tourist heart, is counting down to running out of water.

If tourists and residents of Cape Town do not drastically reduce their consumption, the city will run out of water by April 12. It is the first modern city to run out of water. How do you intend to deal with the situation?

Day zero

cape town photo

The date of April 12, 2018 has been called "Day Zero". That is the date where, if the consumption habits of its inhabitants and tourists are not changed, the city will run out of water. Cape Town is at 13,5% capacity and given the extreme drought situation and increased water evaporation caused by higher temperatures, the depletion of water is imminent.

If consumption does not decrease, the city will be forced to interrupt its water distribution. Despite the efforts, the deadline until Day Zero not only remains a more than probable threat, but has been getting shorter.

The measure that has been launched by the authorities in the area to combat the problem of drought is that citizens only consume a maximum of 50 liters per person per day. This is a very drastic reduction, taking into account that a 5-minute shower uses up to 100 liters of water, according to the WHO.

The drought that plagues the area is an unusual phenomenon since it not only derives from the lack of rainfall that characterized the last rainy season (April-October), but also from the fact that the level of rainfall was particularly low during the previous two years as well.

Cape Town without water

drought in cape town

Weather predictions do not announce rainfall until April. The authorities retain a halo of hope that these rains will arrive earlier and keep the doors open to tourism, despite the fact that the high tourism season coincides with the driest months of the year.

Just two years ago, the city used 1.200 billion liters of water. As of today, that consumption has been cut in half. According to Tim Harris, executive director of the Official Agency for the Promotion of Tourism, Trade and Investment, this extreme drought event only occurs once every thousand years and, therefore, they are further adjusted in water consumption.

Although the drought hits the city, the tourist season has been very good. Harris has ensured that even if Day Zero arrives and the taps stop working in residential areas, hotels will be among the businesses whose operation would be assured.

And what is better, we have seen an incredible response from tourists in saving water. They have enthusiastically joined the efforts, they have realized that they can be part of the solution by joining the spirit of Cape Town, ”Harris stressed.

Of the 25.637 million dollars (about 20.615 million euros) that the region entered through this sector in 2016 (according to the 2017 edition of the report "UNWTO Panorama of International Tourism"), 7.910 million (about 6.360 million euros) were added via South Africa (30,85%).

Tourism in Cape Town is becoming more frequent and popular. In 2017, 1,3 million tourists visited the city. It should also be mentioned that the drought only affects the part of the Western Cape. There are many places where there is plenty of water.

As you can see, the drought is hitting many areas throughout the planet and the most disastrous consequences are already imminent. Solutions such as reducing water consumption are only preventive since, if it does not rain enough, it is a matter of time before the water runs out. Therefore, the creation of policies that help manage water is of vital importance.


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