For the first time, a major city may run out of water this year.
The South African city of Cape Town has been grappling with water shortages that are the result of what the Weather Channel calls the worst drought to hit the country in 100 years. The situation may result in Cape Town officials shutting off all of the city’s water taps this April.
Irregularly dry winters have created exceedingly low dam levels within the country, leading city representatives to set a “Day Zero” date, which is when they believe the country will see dam levels drop below 13.5 percent and lead to the mandatory shutting off of all taps.
Currently, the date is set for April 22. That’s a week earlier than the previous date set for April 29, with the city’s current dam levels only providing 19.7 percent of water that is actually useable.
Despite taking measures that include reducing water pressure and banning the ability to water outdoors or wash your car, city representatives are still finding that residents are using some 78 more million liters than the set goal.
Officials are continuing to urge individuals to take actions to decrease their overall water consumption in an effort to try and avoid “Day Zero,” which would lead to residents being forced to line up at some 200 checkpoints across the county to receive daily water rations under the supervision of police and military officials.
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Travelers heading to the area will also find some changes regarding water consumption at their hotels. For example, properties like Hotel Verse are giving guests discounts if they refrain from using ice in their drinks, while others like the Taj Cape Town are closing their steam rooms and hot tubs in an effort to help with the situation, according to the New York Times.
“The city of Cape Town could conceivably become the first major city to run out of water, and that could happen in the next four months,” Dr. Anthony Turton, who teaches at the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State, told the Times regarding the current crisis.
City officials are still welcoming travelers to visit Cape Town, beloved for its magnificent coastline and natural attractions, as they work to prevent one of its vital natural resources from disappearing.
Water shortages may become a reality in other locations as well, with the World Wildlife Fund estimating that two-thirds of the planet’s population could be facing water scarcity by 2025.