Cape Town Has Only About 100 Days of Drinkable Water Left
Cape Town, South Africa, is known for its stunning natural beauty, with tourists flocking here all year long to take in all that the Western Cape has to offer. Now, it turns out the city is in a dire situation. Of all the water in Cape Town's dams, only 18.6% of it is drinkable, which translates to about 100 days worth for the city, which uses about 750 million liters of water per day.
"Cape Town is in a water-scarce region and is experiencing the impacts of climate change with an increased frequency of drought events," said Xanthea Limberg, a mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, told Times Live.
According to an article by Quartz, Cape Town's mayor, Patricia de Lille, said residents have been adhering to water restrictions put in place since December and water consumption has been reduced by 27%. Unfortunately, people are still consuming more water than the city's target of 700 million liters per day.
[pullquote source="Xanthea Limberg, cape town mayoral committee member"]We are in the midst of one of our worst droughts of the past century.[/pullquote]
To combat the drought, the city is looking to implement small-scale emergency schemes to help cope with the short supply of water. According to Times Live, there are three potential schemes to save and generate water in the short term:
- Drilling boreholes into the Table Mountain Group Aquifer for access to two million more liters per day
- A small-scale desalination package plant along the northwestern coastline, yielding roughly two million liters per day
- Intensifying the city's management projects to help reduce demand
The measures will cost the city about R315 million (~$25 million) over the course of three years. The Western Cape MEC for Environmental Affairs told Times Live that the city's rate of population growth means that it will have surpassed the supply by 2019, so the city is seeking long-term solutions to its drought crisis as well.
Cape Town is in a local government state of disaster, so tourists may notice it's not operating the same way it used to — fountains throughout the city may be turned off, dead grass may take the place of once-lush greenery and you may see some conservation efforts around town and at your hotel. The good news is that the gloomy winter season is about to arrive in the Western Cape, so seasonal rains may hopefully provide some temporary relief.