Cape Town is one of the top 50 driest countries in the world, with water restrictions affecting the area since 2005. They are currently suffering from the worst drought in over a century. It is because of this that water limitations have been set to 50 litres per day, per person as of February 1st, 2018. These 50 litres being the amount of water needed for a person to meet their minimum daily needs according to the World Health Organisation.
On April 12th, Day Zero will arrive; the day where water storage is at 13.5% and all taps are turned off except for those to hospitals. Though that figure doesn’t seem too severe, the last 10% of water within the reserves are unusable due to silt and debris. The 4 million residents of Cape Town will be left with 200 points across the city from which they can collect 25 litres of water a day – armed guards being ever present to maintain peace among the parched citizens. It goes without saying that the current state of affairs in Cape Town are not promising. They are in dire need of water source alternatives, and for water consumption to be cut down. While the city has several major projects underway to combat their arid environment, most of them are behind schedule or still in the planning phases. This is not a problem to be fixed easily, nor is it an issue for Cape Town alone. There is not doubt this is a global issue that warrants international recognition, for it foreshadows the consequences of our neglect toward global warming.
Let it be understood that global warming is here. What we are currently seeing is a growing inevitability of our worlds future. A time in which refugees flee to less parched lands; when water becomes a commodity on black markets and people are denied access to the fundamental resource of life. We are on the precipice of an irreversible change to our world. And though many would deny it, what we see in Cape Town today is a glimpse into this future. A glimpse into a world that will be desperately difficult to change.
It is because of this that I urge you all to become more conscious of the environmental impact you as individual are causing. While it may seem like an issue for generations to come, the future and flourishing of that future are dependent on our decisions today. Whether it be through your eating habits, consumption of excessive goods, or your neglect to pressing environmental issues, I plead that you begin to make a change today. For there is no time to prioritize convenience, there is no time for debate. There is no time at all for the Doomsday Clock ticks ever closer to midnight.
Baker, A. (2018, January 15). Cape Town Is 90 Days Away From Running Out of Water. Retrieved from Time: http://time.com/5103259/cape-town-water-crisis/
Level 6B Water restriction guidelines. (2018). Retrieved from City of Cape Town: http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Procedures,%20guidelines%20and%20regulations/Level%206B%20Water%20restriction%20guidelines-%20eng.pdf
Media Office, City of Cape Town. (2018, January 23). Non-water savers urged to join Team Cape Town water savers as Day Zero moves forward to 12 April 2018. Retrieved from CIty of Cape Town: http://www.capetown.gov.za/Media-and-news/Non-water
Murphy, P. P. (2018, January 25). In less than 3 months, a major international city will likely run out of water. Retrieved from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/24/africa/cape-town-water-crisis-trnd/index.html
UN. (2018). The Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Retrieved from The United Noations: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/human_right_to_water_and_sanitation_media_brief.pdf