The Down Low On Day Zero: Cape Town's Water Crisis Will Cause Water Taps To Shut Off In July
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Politics and Activism

The Down Low On Day Zero: Cape Town's Water Crisis Will Cause Water Taps To Shut Off In July

In just four months, Cape Town will restrict access to running water for its four million citizens.

The Down Low On Day Zero: Cape Town's Water Crisis Will Cause Water Taps To Shut Off In July

Water. It makes up 70 percent of our bodies and about 71 percent of the planet, and many of us take it for granted. Humans have been putting off the issue of water conservation for far too long, as far away as the problem may have once seemed, water shortage is looming over us all and Cape Town is the first of a series of wake up calls to us all.

Every time I leave the tap on while brushing or wasted water while washing dishes, my dad always explains to me just how privileged we are to have clean water within an instant. People in other parts of the world go through immense struggles to get clean water. As a child living in rural, southern India, my dad had to ride his bike every day to a well four miles away where he would physically pump out water that was clean enough to drink and cook with for his family to use.

He would go back and forth as needed throughout the day to stock back up on water. The water that he pumped out did not include the water that they used for bathing, which was a briny salt-infused water that would not meet water quality standards today. Water is such a precious resource that many of us do not realize the importance of because it is so easily accessible to us.

Use water, pay the bills for what you use and repeat. Simple as that, right?

Well, for the four million citizens of Cape Town, South Africa, time is running out until the day that they run out of clean running water. Day Zero is when Cape Town will restrict its citizens from accessing the water taps, and it is quickly approaching on July 9, 2018, which is the most recent predicted date based on current conservation efforts.

How exactly did Cape Town get to this point?

Unlike most major cities and the rest of the world for that matter, this South African city relies on rainwater as the sole source of freshwater for its citizens. When drought smacked the city in 2015, Cape Town fell into a scramble to enact (long overdue) conservation efforts to save the water that they had remaining. Since they had no other major sources of water like ocean water desalination or water aquifers, the city could only rely on what they had saved up in their rainwater-filled dams, which now hold less than 1/4 of their maximum capacity.

What will happen when Day Zero arrives?

Officially, Day Zero is when the dams will reach a capacity of below 13.5 percent. Though it was previously predicted to be in April and then May, the day has most recently been pushed to July 9, 2018 due to the water conservation efforts taken on by the citizens.

When it arrives, Cape Town's taps will all be turned off to four million citizens except for those in immense need-like hospitals. People will have to go to one of 200 water distribution centers to collect their daily ration of 25 L of water which will be guarded by government officers and police to make sure everyone gets a fair share.

Until Day Zero...

Cape Town has taken on many conservation efforts to push back Day Zero as far as possible. As of January, 87L ( 23 gallons) was the set amount of water to use per person, and residents were fined if they used more than this amount, However, it was ineffective since 60 percent of people use above this amount. And how are 23 gallons used in one go? By taking a less than two minute shower, flushing a toilet once, reusing bath water to water any plants and hand washing any dishes and clothing with the minimum amount of water needed to clean.

This should remind us not take one of our most precious resources for granted. We must learn that conservation is not an effort to take up when a situation is at its worst. We must conserve now to ensure that another major water shortage like Day Zero doesn't occur anywhere else, so we can all enjoy access to clean water.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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