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What You Need to Know About Capetown's Water Crisis
The capital of South Africa, Capetown, has a population of four million people. Shockingly, in February 2018, the government ordered all residents to use no more than fifty litres of water a day. Residents who defied this faced fines of up to $10,000.
Why? Capetown is facing an unprecedented water crisis. Capetonians fear what is known as Day Zero, the day that all taps across the city will run dry. Back in 2018, the city was only ninety days from Day Zero. This unimaginable event would have affected all, regardless of socio-economic status. Capetown would have been the first city in the world to run out of water.
The city has narrowly avoided this fate, but the threat still remains real. As you read this article, Capetonians are being forced to queue for hours at a time at the city’s natural springs to collect water. For some, the taps at their homes have already run dry. Yet, the city is working hard to overcome the crisis.
Chennai, a city in India, was not as fortunate as Capetown. The city reached Day Zero last year. It was the first city to go completely dry. Fights broke out and the only access to water was from water brought in from the countryside by tanker trucks or trains. Chennai is desperately trying to better its predicament by building numerous desalination plants, improving its wastewater treatment and clearing out ponds currently filled with waste.
It is easy for many of us to think nothing of taking a long shower or to go swimming in a pool. Yet millions of people across the world revolve their lives around accessing water. Global water poverty is real. Over two billion people do not have access to clean water. Even the UK, famous for its bad weather and rainy days, is at risk. If measures are not implemented to reduce consumption, the UK faces a water shortage by 2040.
COVID-19 has only escalated the problem, stalling efforts to provide access to poor communities. We must work together to find solutions. Everyone can help. Before using water, ask yourself, how much do I really need? If everyone consumes water responsibly, overcoming the problem will be a tad bit easier.
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