02 March 2018 - Day Zero: Cape Town is Running Out of Water
Counting Down to Day Zero in Cape Town
Rosa Lyster (The New Yorker, 01/03/2018)
Two weeks ago, in Cape Town, I waited for a thunderstorm. The weather report had called for rain, and, despite the ninety-five-degree heat, the cloudless sky, the drought having been declared a national disaster that day, and the weather report having repeatedly shown itself to be an instrument of torture, I believed it. There is something wrong with a city in which it just never rains, and there has been something very wrong with Cape Town for a long time. Evidence of how bad things are is all around us—the signs at the airport begging tourists to use water carefully, the electronic billboards on the freeways flashing words like “critical” and “severe,” the hospital smell of waterless hand sanitizer in the office buildings, the dead grass in the parks, the empty shelves and refrigerators in the grocery stores, the empty municipal pools, the empty dams. The subject of the drought can be avoided only with great determination. Any attempt to have an ordinary conversation about ordinary things that might happen in the future inevitably gives way to speculation about Day Zero, the date on which the municipal taps get switched off and Cape Town’s four million inhabitants begin lining up for their daily twenty-five-litre rations. Earlier, the city’s deputy mayor had announced that Day Zero had been pushed back again, from May 11th to June 4th. (At one point, it had been April 16th; a week ago, it was changed, again, to July 9th.) The news felt like an unearned gift, something that could be snatched away at any time.
Awaiting Day Zero: Cape Town Faces an Uncertain Water Future
Adam Welz (YaleEnvironment360, 01/03/2018)
Backed by the iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest metropolis, seduces increasing numbers of international travelers. Its charismatic neighborhoods, bright beaches, and breathtaking natural landscapes garner shelves-full of tourism awards and terabytes of glowing Instagram posts.
Recently, Cape Town also has become infamous as the home of “Day Zero,” the day when most of the city’s taps are predicted to run dry. With its major, rain-fed supply dams dangerously low after three years of drought, most of the city’s 4 million-plus residents — some rich, many desperately poor — have been facing the prospect of lining up at emergency water distribution points to collect a daily ration of just 6.6 gallons per person sometime before June or July. That’s when winter rains normally begin filling the reservoirs of this Southern Hemisphere city.
Day Zero may only be in early 2019 — if Capetonians keep saving water
Aron Hyman (Business Day, 01/03/2018)
Cape Town residents will probably not see Day Zero this year if they continue to use 50l of water a day‚ but that puts the next Day Zero target in the middle of next summer.
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Thursday the current Day Zero projection‚ which is based on dam levels‚ was in mid-July — placing it in the middle of the rainy season.
Rainfall patterns over the past two years had become extremely unpredictable‚ and models assumed 2017’s well-below-average rainfall as the "new normal"‚ he said.
Day Zero: How Cape Town is running out of water
Josh Holder and Niko Kommenda (The Guardian, 03/02/2018)
Day Zero is looming for Cape Town. According to the latest estimates 16 April is when the city’s water supply will be turned off until the rains arrive, leaving residents to line up for water rations at one of 200 points across the city.
The scramble for water is already raising tensions among residents. Freshwater springs now require 24-hour policing as congestion builds in surrounding streets and there have been sporadic reports of fights break out in the lengthy queues.
How did one of the wealthiest cities in Africa find itself in this position?