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Cape Town Water Crisis

I have always aspired to be thankful for the “littlest” things in life that we are given in the United States that are so easy to take for granted. I have never been fully aware that water was such a limited resource in even developed nations and that provisioning services are so important. On January 30, 2018 the NY times published an article to inform everyone about the devastating announcement out of Cape Town, South Africa, where they reported that the town is severely low on water. The government brings to attention a “Day Zero” threat that will exceed anything a developed city has seen since World War II or the September 11 attacks.

The understanding is that the city’s water supply is critically low. The city claimed Day Zero will begin in less than three months if the water levels keep declining. Officials are declaring Cape Town as one of the few major cities in the world that might lose piped water for homes and most businesses. But hospitals, schools, and other fundamental institutions will remain receiving water.

Additionally, the residents of Cape Town never would have expected this crisis to happen just a couple of years ago. In 2014, the dams were full after years of rain. Cape Town was distinguished as one of the world’s top “green” cities. They were also recognized for the city’s success in conserving water. However, the city conserved so much water that it delayed looking for new sources and now they do not have any other supply for water besides dams, which prove to be hazardous because of the changing climate.

Not to mention, many other issues are coming about with this water shortage, including a roadside car-wash operator on the edge of Cape Town who was fined $250 for illegal water use. Taps in businesses and homes are going to be turned off until the next rainfall comes. In addition, beginning in February, citizens will get fined if they go over the daily limit, which is being reduced to 50 liters a day per person instead of 87 liters.

Also, climate models are displaying that Cape Town is certain to face a drier future. One of the biggest concerns is the dangers of climate change because of the recurrent droughts.  This has caused tension between political associates since the African National Congress is being held responsible for building water infrastructures.

The proposition behind this article was to inform people about the shortage in Cape Town. This water crisis is something everyone should be educated about so that we make sure to maintain multiple sources of water and are not “stuck” if climate change randomly happens. The author wrote this article to help individuals be more aware and alert about what is happening around the world. This could inspire people to help make a change; it certainly made me take a step back and realize how blessed we are for basic needs such as food and water that we take for granted in everyday life.


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2 thoughts on “Cape Town Water Crisis

  1. barretoen

    This summary is really interesting, I have always known Cape Town to be one of the nicest cities in Africa. I can’t believe that theres a water crisis even there. Since water is necessary for life it is important we learn to conserve it and make it available to everyone.

  2. prof.saunders

    Nice summary! This is a prime example as to why it`s so important to think about resilience for not only today, but in the future. Diversification of critical resources is key.

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