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Citizens for Justice and Peace

Cape Town water supply at risk of approaching ‘day zero’

05, Feb 2018 | CJP Team

The New York Times reported last week that Cape Town’s water supply is perilously low, and that if water levels continue to decline, the South African city could “declare Day Zero in less than three months”. If this happens, taps in houses and businesses will be turned off until the rains arrive, and Cape Town’s residents will have to queue at 200 water collection points across the city. According to the Times, the government has warned that this event will exceed any threat a major city has faced since World War II and the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. There are ongoing discussions with South African police, since “normal policing will be entirely inadequate.” One resident told the Times, “When Day Zero comes, they’ll have to call in the army”. According to the Times, Cape Town has had robust environmental policies and water management, but is struggling following a three-year drought, deemed the most acute in more than a century. In contrast to today, in 2014, C40, a network of megacities that works to tackle climate change, gave Cape Town its ‘Adaptation Implementation’ award for its water management. Cape Town’s situation encapsulates a major threat posed by climate change, i.e. “the growing risk of powerful, recurrent droughts,” the Times said.

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