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Cape Town's - Day Zero - Approaches

Kayla Ritter, Circle of Blue on December 27, 2017

In 123 days, South Africa’s second largest city could run out of drinking water.

Cape Town, a city of 4 million, continues to grapple with severe water scarcity following three consecutive years of below average rainfall. The city’s six major reservoirs are expected, by late April, to run dry on “Day Zero.”

For months, local authorities encouraged residents to cut water consumption. The city’s goal is to lower daily water use to 500 million liters, which allocates a mere 87 liters (23 gallons) of water per person per day. A typical desert Southwest resident in the United States consumes five times that much water in a day. Although some Cape Town residents have complied–34 percent use less than 87 liters each day–many households continue to flout the water restrictions. Last week, water use jumped to 641 million liters, up from 628 million liters the week before.

In response, the city is considering jail time for heavy water users.

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