In face of our civilization and our continuous breakthroughs in innovation and technology, humanity continues blindly propel itself into potential global calamities. The reality is that we find ourselves in an era of industrialization accentuated with climate change (and global warming) as well as uncontrolled population bursts. Because of this, water supplies around the world are drying up.
It is true ocean water covers over 70% of the surface of our planet, yet our species doesn’t necessarily depend on that for drinking. Rather, we live on freshwater supplies which are dropping drastically by the day. Because of this, entire metropolitan areas are now threatened with lower reserves of potable water. Substantiating this with figures from the World Bank, we see that over one billion people can’t access clean water, while another 2 billion are equipped with adequate sanitation facilities to ward off water-borne diseases.
Population growth in Cape Town has been significant. Add to that a perilous drought over the last three years and the situation with the water supply has become exasperated. This extended period of drought has dragged Cape Town into a dangerous quagmire where the city is estimated to be a mere 90 days away from suffering a major catastrophic water shortage. After this span, water reservoirs in the city are expected to be exhausted. This would mark an unprecedented case of a major city becoming the first to run out of water. Residents have to painfully change their lives magnanimously slashing down on their daily consumption of water.And how will the residents of Cape Town get access to water once the supply has become critical? The simple reality is that the population will only have access to water via the 200 municipal water points distributed around the city. There each person will be able to collect at most 25 liters (6.6 gallons) a day. To maintain law and order, armed law enforcement agents will be stationed at those supply points to maintain law and order, as well as prevent any individual from taking more than their daily budget.
The next rainy season in Cape Town is expected in May, but many are not positive that the rains will come, or at least enough to replenish the supply of water necessary to support the ever growing population, which has doubled the last two decades.
The water scarcity debacle in Cape Town mirrors the unfortunate prevalence of drying water supplies around the world particularly plaguing developing nations whose water planning lacks the sophistication and anticipation to tackle the modern challenges of climate change. For a visual of what the water crisis in Cape Town looks like, as well as what it could portend to more and more major population centers around the world, watch the below video.