Cape Town water crisis: adapting to a water-scarce future

DW – March 26, 2018

The water crisis is clear before you’re even out of Cape Town International Airport. The bathroom faucets are dry, with soap replaced by hand sanitizer.

After a historic three-year drought, Cape Town faced the prospect of “Day Zero” — the moment when the water supply runs too low to supply homes, and all the city’s faucets go the way of those at the airport.

To avert the collapse of municipal plumbing, the city imposed a limit of 50 liters (13 gallons) of water per person per day, with sharp financial penalties for overuse.

Day Zero was initially expected in April, but pushed back to June, July, and then August. Earlier this month, the city announced that water-saving limits had worked.

“Provided we continue our current water savings efforts, Day Zero can be avoided completely this year,” deputy mayor Ian Neilson said in a statement.