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Patricia De Lille (Wikipedia)

Why is Cape Town running out of water?

Cape Town is facing Day Zero, when the water supply runs out. In 2017, southern Europe, especially Italy and Spain, had a devastating drought that caused huge damage to agriculture, and yet their cities did not run out of water.

Published: January 22, 2018, 8:41 am

    Cape Town

    So why is it happening in South Africa? The city in crisis mode thanks to poor planning. Given current water consumption, the city has approximately 90 days until it runs out of water. Officials had been warned decades ago of the looming infrastructure requirements to avert a water crisis, but ignored the warnings.

    Coloured mayor Patricia de Lille admitted last Thursday — the day before the City of Cape Town voted to relieve her of power  — that Day Zero was now likely. The projected date is April 20‚ though it is likely to be sooner.

    De Lille faces eight charges of impropriety and maladministration in the running of the city.

    The city, a major tourist destination, will soon be forced to shut off water supplies to all but essential consumers, such as hospitals. This would mark the first major city in the world to run out of water, Bloomberg reported. But the media outlet blamed “a prolonged 3-year drought” and not poor management.

    As the city approaches Day Zero, the four million mainly English-speaking South Africans living in the Cape Town metropolis fear for what seems inevitable. Residents are facing long waiting lines for daily water rations.

    While meteorologists believed the drought was initially due to the strong 2015 El Niño, the water problems has continued despite no longer being in El Niño conditions.

    Columnist Tom Eaton tweeted: “I can find references in news articles to #DayZero as far back as May. Want to know how far the city’s plans have come in the subsequent eight months? Trust me‚ you don’t. Holy shit‚ this is appalling.”

    To combat the water crisis, the city is investing in desalination plants, however, they will not be operational before Cape Town runs out of water.

    Education expert Nic Spaull of Stellenbosch University‚ said the city council Day Zero plan was “totally unworkable” because there are too few water-collection points‚ which means 6 320 people queueing per station every day‚ and each somehow carrying 100 litres of water.

    Antoinette Dreyer tweeted sarcastically: “Day Zero will be the result of decades of sub-moronic stupidity… no single political party is responsible.”

    Sources say De Lille spent the money for water infrastructure on buying black votes to keep the city from falling into the hands of the ANC. The country’s official opposition party, the DA, won Cape Town with 66.61 percent of the vote in 2016 under De Lille’s leadership. Despite her shortsightedness, she was voted 22nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

    De Lille did not respond to FWM’s request for comment.

    Early on Monday‚ the deputy mayor met with officials from national disaster management‚ the police‚ the South African Defence Force and the State Security Agency‚ among others.



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