Zürich, center of power and prestige in central Europe

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Cape Town water crisis

January 24, 2018 Comments (0) Views: 325 Urban Trekker

Cape Town – the first major city in the developed world to run out of water

Cape Town is famous for several reasons and has been a hot spot for tourists in the past two decades. Visitors to this city can catch a cable car up Table Mountain or accept the challenge to dive in shark-infested waters. For those more into history, there is the Robben Island and the District Six Museums from the period of South Africa’s apartheid which concluded in 1990.

The fascinating Robben Island for one has emerged as a symbol of both oppression but also resilience as it became synonymous with the former leader of the free and democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela who spent 18 years imprisoned under maximum security on the island.

However, as of early 2018, the news is that Cape Town is also becoming a symbol of climate change issues. This city is set to take the title of first major city worldwide that will run out of clean water resources. In early January projections hinted that there will be no more water as of early March. As the end of the first month of this year is approaching, the so-called Day Zero has been postponed to the date April 12.

The water crisis has followed for Cape Town after three years of severely low rainfall, coupled with increasing consumption by a growing population. The local government has implemented enforcements to deal with the water shortage, but they have so far only managed to delay Day Zero. Some initiatives have included projects for making sea water drinkable, groundwater collection projects, and water recycling programs.

Nevertheless, for some people, it has been a harsh reality as they were forced into changing daily habits of how they use water. One of the measures introduced by local government has been limiting 50 liters of water a day per person. Many people have not stuck to the measure hence the approachment of Day Zero.

Running out of water imposes itself as a tremendous challenge in a city that is the home of around four million. Hundreds of people already queue outside the gates of South African Breweries premises to collect what is fast becoming the city’s most scarce commodity – fresh water.

Such breweries have been installed near the stadiums for cricket and rugby downtown, with five taps that for now enable locals to fill up plastic bottles of every shape or size with clean water diverted from a natural spring found on the premises.

Security is also tightened in the area as well as each person is limited to fill in up to 25 liters of water. This limitation has followed after some locals used an entrepreneurship opportunity by reportedly taking as much as 2,000 liters in one go, then selling the water to people who were getting desperate.

The opening times for the breweries have also been adjusted, from a 24-hour operation to working hours from 5 AM until 11 PM. This way possibilities of crime are lowered.

More locals can be noticed with plastic containers and looking for water resources in the nearby mountains that encroach the city. Such alertness to the issue inevitably means one thing, that water is the new gold of Cape Town.

We also thought to remind you of  the cities that will no longer exist given the seas level rise at full-scale due to global warming

Photo credit: Damien du Toit, CC-BY 2.0

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