Cape Town in South Africa, that is one of the most beautiful towns in the world, could become the first major city remained without drinking water.

Would you manage to lead a normal lifestyle with 50 liters of water per day? This is the amount of water that a citizen of Cape Town can use overnight. For comparison, between 100 liters and 300 liters a day is the average human consumption in the world.

50 liters of water per day is definitely not enough - a 2-minute shower is about 20 liters, twice washing hands and face (4 liters), a single release of water in the toilet (6 liters),  dishwashing (9 liters), twice washing teeth (0, 3 liters), two times cooking (1.8 liters), eight glasses of water (2 liters) and water for pets (2 liters).

It sounds easy to perform until it is applied in practice and you realize how much water every person uses. To stick to this constraint, you must completely change your habits. For some, such restrictions require a great deal of effort. For me, as a person who always saves water, no matter where he is, the changes were minimal and easily adapted to the “new norm”.

Day zero, in which all the water sources in the city would dry in Cape Town called, was expected to be in April 2018. Since the East Cape rulers did not have an adequate plan for such a catastrophe, the only way to avoid such a scenario was the citizens who have to save maximum water.

Here’s how it works:

The morning shower is limited to one minute if you afford this luxury at all. Many people bathe with an alarm that signals the end of the shower. Water always stops when people use the soap. Sometimes the shower does not run at all, but a small bucket is used, which is sufficient for a quick refreshment.

If you still want to use the shower, there is always a bucket beneath it, in which you collect water. This water is used for the toilet. In some households, the water to the toilet is completely stopped, and the cistern is filled with so-called “gray water”. Bricks are often placed in the cistern to reduce the space that is filled with water. It’s insane when you realize how much water you use for a toilet release when you actually need less than half.

The dishes are washed very creatively, and when cooking, everyone tries to use a minimal amount of water. People don’t even think about a washing machine and they wash dishes once a week.

In some offices, the water is completely stopped and only the one that is brought from the water posts is used. In all public toilets have been placed signs which encourage water saving. The hands are not washed, but a sanitary gel is used. In the major hotels and fitness centers the sauna premises are closed, and a warning message on the airport is repeated, asking visitors to the city to observe the restrictions.

The drought, unfortunately, is not only a problem only in Cape Town but also in many other regions of South Africa. South Africa is the 30th most dry country in the world. As a result of the warming and the drought of the Earth, many large cities around the world are endangered by the fate of Cape Town.

Unlike in Bulgaria, where there is winter with snow, spring, and autumn rains, and sometimes even during the summer, in the Cape Town region, the amount of water is determined only by the rainy season. It is during the winter, which starts with full force from June to August.

Cape Town water saving attempts are made in 2015 when the city experienced its first very dry winter. Scientists from the University of Cape Town have been warning the authorities for years that a period of drought is set. This is due to many factors – 100-year climate cycling, El Nino, and unpredictable climate change. As early as June 2017, Cape Town had only 10% of usable water remaining.

All this in combination with the constant flood of incoming people who do not have water-saving habits contributes to complicating the problem. Moreover, 60% of the city’s population does not even try to save water.

The question is why there was no adequate plan to deal with the situation until now, why they only rely on rainfall and water saving? Why do  households that do not save water aren’t sanctioned and what happens to water desalination stations that should be used in emergency situations and can process water from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean that surround Cape Town? When will the golf courses or spa centers stop wasting huge amounts of water?

In the rich neighborhoods, the lack of water means the end of the aromatic baths, watering of large gardens and the end of luxury pools, and in ghettos where there is no sewerage, it means a boom of epidemics and lethal viruses that will sooner or later reach the interior part of the city.

In April, Cape Town did not meet its biggest fear. Whether as a result of the general efforts of citizens to save water, a miracle, or, as other people suspect because of certain political strategies, but somehow for the day zero people do not speak anymore. Now everyone is counting on the rains expected during the winter, which will begin in a few days, as well as on the first desalination plant in Stradftain, East Cape, which officially began ocean water treatment.

 

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