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What Preppers Can Learn from Cape Town, Where Residents Live on 13 Gallons of Water Per Person Per Day

What Preppers Can Learn from Cape Town, Where Residents Live on 13 Gallons of Water Per Person Per Day

Living in Cape Town South Africa, after we have gained experience with rolling blackouts, our city (and surrounds) ran out of water … a first-world major metropolis ran out of water.

This is my summation of what happened and how we personally dealt with it.

Two things to note:

  • Cape Town falls in a winter rainfall area. (Similar to Northern California)
  • In our country, clean water is a constitutional right. Building dams, desalination plants, and maintaining the dams is the responsibility of the national government. Local governments are responsible for distributing the water. They are not allowed to build dams or desalination plants. Cape Town was forced to do both, at taxpayers’ cost.

This is to give you some background on how things are (or are supposed to be) here. You will see that how things are supposed to be are not how things are.

How did Cape Town almost run completely out of water?

There were basically four main reasons, as Cape Town knew of this pending problem:

  • An unforeseen severe drought triggered it all.
  • Unbeknownst to most, because of “state capture” (a kind phrase for corruption), the National Department of Water and Sanitation had no funds left to build dams. The South African public was blissfully unaware of this.
  • The local budgets, the part that the city must budget in order to distribute the water, was used to build a dam, effect some repairs to local national water infrastructures, and because year after year there were good rains, the rest was used for other pressing political promises, like schools, toilets (yes toilets), and housing etc.
  • There was a huge influx of people into Cape Town from other provinces, seeking jobs, as the Western Cape is one of the best-run provinces in SA.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If You Think the Water Restrictions in California Are Tough, Check Out Cape Town

If You Think the Water Restrictions in California Are Tough, Check Out Cape Town

Remember earlier in the year when the news was abuzz about Day Zero in Cape Town, South Africa?  According to the press at the time, the day was looming when the city of 3.74 million people would run completely out of water. First, the date of Day Zero was heralded as April 16th, then May 11th, then June 4th.

Calculating Day Zero took into account maximum evaporation (based on temperature and wind) and existing patterns in agricultural and urban use—an equation that considered both natural and man-made conditions. (source)

Now, they’re saying the disaster has been averted for now, but that it could happen in 2019. And if you think the water restrictions in California are tough, wait until you see what they’re doing in Cape Town.

So how did Cape Town avoid Day Zero?

Day Zero was delayed by a combination of things. Fortunately, there was some rainfall, and citizens went to great effort to reduce their water usage.  There was a public campaign to basically scare Capetonians into compliance with conservation efforts.

Late last year, as the South African government faced the prospect of its largest city running out of water, they took an unprecedented gamble.

The government announced “day zero” – a moment when dam levels would be so low that they would turn off the taps in Cape Town and send people to communal water collection points.

This apocalyptic notion prompted water stockpiling and panic, caused a drop in tourism bookings, and raised the spectre of civil unrest.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Exposing Africa’s Manmade Water Crisis

The imminent shutdown of Cape Town’s piped water network should serve as a wake-up call for all of Africa to overhaul urban water-management systems. Unfortunately, like Africa’s water resources themselves, Cape Town’s crisis seems likely to be wasted.

About a decade ago, at a meeting of South African mayors convened by Lindiwe Hendricks, South Africa’s then-minister of water and environmental affairs, we predicted that an unprecedented water crisis would hit one of the country’s main cities within 15 years, unless water-management practices were improved significantly.

That prediction has now come true, with Cape Town facing a shutdown of its piped water network. The question now is whether African leaders will allow our other projection – that, within the next 25-30 years, many more of the continent’s cities will be facing similar crises – to materialize.

Africa has long struggled with urban water and wastewater management. As the continent’s population has swelled, from about 285 million in 1960 to nearly 1.3 billion today, and urbanization has progressed, the challenge has become increasingly acute. And these trends are set to intensify: by 2050, the continent’s total population is expected to exceed 2.5 billion, with 55% living in urban environments.

The challenge African countries face may not be unique, but it is, in some ways, unprecedented. After all, in Western countries, urbanization took place over a much longer period, and against a background of steadily improving economic conditions. In building effective systems for water and wastewater management, cities had adequate investment funds and the relevant expertise.

In Africa, cities’ financial and management capacities are already overwhelmed. As a result, water and wastewater management has often fallen by the wayside, with policymakers focusing on water-related issues only when droughts and floods occur. The Third World Centre for Water Management estimates that only about 10-12% of Africa’s population has access to adequate domestic and industrial wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The 11 Cities Most Likely To Run Out Of Drinking Water

As of Sunday afternoon, the dreaded “day zero” – the day residents of the city of Cape Town, South Africa, will need to begin queuing for drinking water after supplies sink below the threshold of sustainability – was estimated to be Nov. 11, 2018.

The shortage is the result of South Africa’s worst drought in 100 years…

And with city government efforts to secure alternative water supplies progressing slowly, Cape Town (pop. 440,000) is on track to become the first major world city to run out of water.

Hiring security forces to guard water supplies and forcing residents to ration their use must be unimaginably frustrating for the city’s government. But during a press conference late last month, Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s mayor, expressed another secondary annoyance that, in some ways, is even more profoundly disturbing.

A disaster that was until recently only imaginable by writers of dystopian science fiction is playing out in front of our eyes: And what’s worse: Nobody seems to care.

“We have reached the point of no return,” Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s mayor, warned this month. With anger in her voice she added: “It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care.”

But they should – if only because they’re city might be next:

As the BBC notes, over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress”.

Here’s a list of 11 other major cities where the taps may soon run dry, courtesy of the BBC.

Sao Paulo

Brazil’s financial capital and one of the 10 most populated cities in the world went through a similar ordeal to Cape Town in 2015, when the main reservoir fell below 4% capacity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Who will drink the last glass of water in Cape Town?

Who will drink the last glass of water in Cape Town?

Because Cape Town sits between picturesque beaches and mountains, it is a favored travel destination. And, its weather during the summer is described as “almost too perfect.” That’s in part because it rains very little in the summer in this second most populous city in South Africa.

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

Trouble is, starting in 2015 the rainy season never arrived. One year, then two years and now three years of extreme drought have brought the city’s water supplies almost to exhaustion. Barring extraordinary rains or even more draconian cutbacks in water usage than have already occurred, Cape Town officials say they will have to turn off water to most household taps and businesses sometime in April. They’re calling it “Day Zero.” Hospitals and essential public facilities will be exempt. Most residents would have to line up at designated water supply stations for a daily allocation of 25 liters.

Cape Town’s current troubles were not necessarily foreseeable in the usual sense. Yearly long-range weather forecasts raised no alarmswhen they were released since they did not predict an extreme drought for that year.

The causes of the city’s water problems are, in fact, multiple. First, Cape Town’s population has risen 80 percent since 1994 (the end of white rule) to 3.75 million people putting extraordinary demands on its water system. Second, average rainfall has been gradually decreasing for decades and has reached its lowest since 1933. Comparable records before that are not available. One calculation cited in the above linked article is that the current drought is the worst in more than 300 years. Another calculation suggests the multi-year drought is a once-in-a-millennium event. Third, climate change is almost certainly increasing the likelihood of such a drought though there is no way to prove the link to this particular drought.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Bellwether? With Cape Town Almost Out of Water, “Day Zero” Looms

Climate Bellwether? With Cape Town Almost Out of Water, “Day Zero” Looms

In less than three months, residents in South African city could be lining up for rationed water under armed guards. “Is this the new normal?”

Tree trunks stand in the critically low Theewaterskloof Dam in Villiersdorp, South Africa, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

Tree trunks stand in the critically low Theewaterskloof Dam in Villiersdorp, South Africa, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

For residents of Cape Town, “Day Zero” is getting closer.

That’s the day when taps in the drought-stricken coastal South African city are projected run dry, and its residents would be forced to head to police-guarded distribution sites to obtain their daily ration of water.

“Anyone who works in climate change knows that we’ve given lots of quite doomsday-esque scenarios in the last two decades. This is the first one which I’ve really seen come true.”
—climatologist Simon Gear
The city warned last week that the day was “now likely to happen.” And on Monday, the city, citing a drop in dam levels, moved the projected day up from April 22 to April 12.

“We have reached a point of no return,” Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said last week announcing tightened water restrictions for the city’s 4 million residents. Starting Feb. 1, residents face a 50 liter per day limit (13.2 gallons). [For comparison, Americans’ daily home use is 88 gallons of water, the EPA says.]

When Day Zero hits, the limit will be 25 liters per day, to be collected at one of 200 water collection points. Agence France-Presse reports: “With about 5,000 families for each water collection point, the police and army are ready to be deployed to prevent unrest in the lines.”

USA Today, however, reported that “Each collection point will accommodate around 20,000 people per day.”

Cape Town is being described as the first major city in the developed world that would run out of water.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In less than 3 months, a major international city will likely run out of water

In less than 3 months, a major international city will likely run out of water

(CNN)In Cape Town, South Africa, they’re calling it “Day Zero” — the day when the taps run dry.

A few days ago, city officials had said that day will come on April 22. This week, they moved up the date to April 12.
Cape Town is South Africa’s second-largest city and a top international tourist draw. Now, residents play a new and delicate game of water math each day.
They’re recycling bath water to help flush toilets. They’re being told to limit showers to 90 seconds. And hand sanitizer, once somewhat of an afterthought, is now a big seller.
“Unwashed hair is now a sign of social responsibility,” resident Darryn Ten told CNN.

People collect drinking water from pipes fed by an underground spring in St. James, about 25 kilometers from the city center of Cape Town.

The genesis of the crisis

So how did this happen? How does a major city in the developed world just run dry?
It’s been a slow-motion crisis, exacerbated by three factors conspiring together:
Even with the predicament they find themselves in, residents haven’t dropped their water use significantly, said Patricia De Lille, Cape Town’s mayor.
The city has lowered the water pressure in their mains to help stretch the water supply. But usage is still 86 million liters above its target goal.
“It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero,” a statement from the mayor’s office said. “We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hell On Earth: Major City Will RUN OUT Of Water In Less Than 95 Days

Hell On Earth: Major City Will RUN OUT Of Water In Less Than 95 Days

earthquake drought natural disaster

If you’ve ever needed a reason to store extra food and water, this just might be it.  Cape Town, South Africa is on schedule to run out of water in less than 95 days, and when they do, the government will turn off the taps.

“There are only 95 days left before we reach Day Zero,” the City of Cape Town announced on January 15 in a statement. “Day Zero has moved a day closer this week to April 21, 2018. Day Zero is when the City will be forced to turn off most of the taps.”

The coastal South African city has been battling droughts for nearly three years, amounting to the worst one in their history. With little rain on the horizon, the city has now ordered its 3.7 million residents to drastically cut their water consumption, take short stop-start showers, not wash their cars, and flush toilets as little as possible. If they don’t, all of their taps could be shut off by the government in April.

The city doesn’t appear to have any plan in place for such a SHTF event. But if the government cannot find a solution to the problem, Capetonians will be forced into “bread lines” for water. As if that isn’t scary enough, city residents will have a limit of 5.5 gallons of water a day that will only be given to them at specific government outposts around the city.

Cape Town’s mayor Patricia de Lille‏ tweeted: “I cannot stress it enough: all residents must save water and use less than 87 liters [19 gallons] per day… We must avoid Day Zero and saving water is the only way we can do this.” Not missing the opportunity to levy extra taxes on the populace, the city mayor has also impeded a “drought charge” in order to fund new water projects, such as constructing desalination plants.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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