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The Cape Town Crisis

Theewaterskloof+Dam+is+Cape+Town%E2%80%99s+major+water+supply%2C+and+it%E2%80%99s+currently+running+dry.+
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The Cape Town Crisis

Theewaterskloof Dam is Cape Town’s major water supply, and it’s currently running dry.

Theewaterskloof Dam is Cape Town’s major water supply, and it’s currently running dry.

Nic Bothma / EPA

Theewaterskloof Dam is Cape Town’s major water supply, and it’s currently running dry.

Nic Bothma / EPA

Nic Bothma / EPA

Theewaterskloof Dam is Cape Town’s major water supply, and it’s currently running dry.

Kaia Patel, Staff Writer

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Cape Town, South Africa. A populous and productive international city as well as a tourist destination. Unfortunately, it is now burdened with the threat of “Day Zero.” It’s the day that many Cape Town residents in South Africa dread, and is now drawing soon. Previously set for April 22nd, but now moved up to May 11th, Day Zero is when the water will be used up and the taps will run dry – when the water level of the dams drops to 13.5%.

Day Zero is the result of Cape Town’s population growth, a quickly changing climate, and the worst drought in more than a century.

Currently, the water level of the Cape Town dams is at 25.5%, with a drop of 0.8% in the past week. The continually rising temperatures are predicted to increase the decline in water level. Agriculture in Cape Town uses around 30% of the water supply, but with city authorities pushing restrictions on water use, this number is predicted to drop 15% in March and 10% in April.

“All Capetonians must therefore continue to use no more than 50 litres per person per day to help stretch our dwindling supplies,” said Cape Town’s executive deputy mayor, Ian Neilson.

To the four million people living in Cape Town, living on about 13 gallons a day (less than one-sixth of what the average American uses on a daily basis) is affecting their daily way of life. Showers must be limited to 90 seconds, recycled bath water is used to help flush toilets, and the supposedly “safe” drinking water is even causing stomach issues for children.

While this drought in Cape Town has its many downsides, it has also given our community a lesson to learn. The attention brought to the drought has increased awareness about water conservation and climate change worldwide. Junior Makeila Cox said, “I’m going to try and do my part in practicing conservation. I love our world and want future generations to continue enjoying it as much as we have.” As a community, we should start doing whatever we can to help us in the long run. If this means taking shorter showers, recycling water, and running dishwashers and laundry washers only when full, then so be it. When doing this, think about the luxury that we have when it comes to water, but also think about how quickly this luxury can change. Let’s work together in doing our part in preventing this before it can happen and save our future world.

About the Writer
Kaia Patel, Opinion Editor

Meet Kaia Patel. Kaia is a Junior this year. Over summer break she went to New York for
some sightseeing and time with family. She currently runs cross...

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The Cape Town Crisis