Cape Town running out of water in mega-drought

Cape Town is experiencing a once-in-300-year magnitude drought. The World Water Council says the South African city is preparing to turn off its taps as it nears ‘Day Zero’, the […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Cape Town is experiencing a once-in-300-year magnitude drought.

The World Water Council says the South African city is preparing to turn off its taps as it nears ‘Day Zero’, the date it will completely run out of water.

At the moment this is expected to occur on the 11th of May if it doesn’t rain, according to the City of Cape Town’s website.

Currently, four million residents are having to reduce their water usage to 50 litres each day, a seventh of average water usage in the US.

The organisation says the problem, which is heavily influenced by climate change, can be mitigated by increasing funding for water infrastructure, reinforcing management practices and developing knowledge and prediction methods.

Droughts and flooding are projected to worsen by 2030, when 40% of the world’s population will live in river basins under severe water stress, while a fifth will be at risk of floods.

World Water Council President, Benedito Braga, said: “There are ways to address the problem: first, to increase availability and resilience through securing our water resources. This involves construction of dams, reservoirs and repairing water mains.

“In addition, there must be a rational use of water, which means all sectors must share sources fairly and encourage citizens to be efficient with water use in their own homes. Industry needs to recycle and reuse water and ensure that irrigation uses more efficient methods.”