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How Cape Town Could Become the First City to Run Out of Water

According to the USGS, the average person uses approximately 80-100 gallons of water per day. That is only something to dream about however for the people of Cape Town, as they are being forced to ration their water supply. Come mid summer, they will be allowed only 25 liters of water, roughly 6.6 gallons. That's a 2 minute shower to the majority of Americans.

The Drought in Cape Town



The city of Cape Town, South Africa has been enduring a 3 year drought, the worst drought on record for the city. Though signs of a water shortage could've been foreseen as early as 1990, the city never expected to see a drought last as long as this one has. In recent years, the city took drastic measures to conserve water and was even awarded a number of awards for their efforts in water conservation. However, no one could have predicted the drought.

Currently, Cape Town's reservoirs are filled to a 26% capacity. Rations for the city will begin when the reservoirs approach 13.5%. Expected in mid July, Day Zero as the city is calling it, is when rations will become mandatory and water to residences and the majority of businesses will be cut off. In preparation of Day Zero, the city has constructed 200 points of water distribution for approximately 4 million people. Water distribution points are already crowded in areas of Cape Town and carrying 6 liters of water will be increasingly difficult, especially for those with families.

In the meanwhile, the city is encouraging residents to use minimal water. Police officers are confiscating water hoses and buckets and residents are encouraged to only use a maximum of 50 liters of water per day. Furthermore, residents are stocking up on water, forcing the government to step in to help prevent price gauging wars.


Day Zero was originally predicted to take place in April. However, the city's recommendations to decline water usage worked to help push the date back to May, and again back to July, where Day Zero is currently anticipated to hit. The decline in water usage has allowed the city time to develop solutions to the problem.



Currently, the city is working to extract water through drilling efforts. However, the water supplied from these projects is minimal. The city is also working on 3 desalination projects to help supply water, yet these, too, are minimal. Overall, the real solution to the water shortage is an end to the drought that seems to be never-ending.

At Talon/LPE, we do our best to protect and preserve groundwater. It is a precious resource that no one should take for granted. If you have any questions or need help, contact Talon/LPE using the button below.

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