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‘Day Zero’: From Cape Town to São Paulo, large cities are facing water shortages

The Conversation on June 18, 2018

Will South Africa’s second largest city dry up on August 19 of this year? By launching an official countdown, Cape Town City Council wished to highlight the impending cuts to domestic water supply for its more than 3.7 million inhabitants.

The BBC then upped the ante, with an online list of 11 cities that may sooner or later suffer the same fate. Since then, a tide of alarmism has swept through the media. It is as if we are suddenly realizing that water doesn’t flow from the tap by magic!

Located on the southern tip of Africa, Cape Town has a distinctly Mediterranean climate. This is why grapes grow so well there. But despite being a boon for winegrowers, that climate is characterized by formidable summer droughts. And with winter ending in the northern hemisphere and summer drawing to a close in the southern hemisphere, now is the time of year when the water reservoirs of Cape Town are typically at their lowest.

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