The dried up Theewaterskloof dam in Viliersdorp, South Africa. The single biggest dam supplying water to the metropole of Cape Town. [Source : Jon Kerrin]
Cape Town's drought and associated water restriction has officially gone up to the level of a disaster. The news of the drought crisis has spread across the globe, and the world is now paying attention to know the fate of the city. This drought has been caused by three years of very low rainfall, associated with increasing consumption by a growing population.
“Day Zero”, currently forecast for April 16, is the day when the taps will run dry in Cape Town. According to the latest data, dam levels for Cape Town are 26.3% as at January 29, 2018. The day has been approaching faster– brought forward by the city's excessive consumption despite proactive measures like the implementation of water restrictions.
The four million inhabitants will be forced to collect a daily water ration of only 25 litres from 200 water collection points – barely enough for a two-minute shower.
How did this happen?
It has been a slow-motion crisis, triggered by three factors:
Some studies suggest that the possibility of extreme drought is increasing in the western part of South Africa. Future climate projections show a possible shift towards a drier, more drought-prone climate. This means that it is possible that man-made influenced climate change has contributed to the severity of the current drought, and even though it is an extremely rare event, similar droughts may not be rare in the future. On a positive note, there will still be wet years, but likely not as many.
What solutions are being implemented?
To learn more about other interesting weather events occurring across Africa, be sure to click here !
©2018 Oceanographer Daneeja Mawren