Written by Bertrand Seah

Cape Town, one of the wealthiest and most urban cities in Africa, is facing a severe water crisis. The recent low rainfall, coupled with population growth and increasing consumption, has put the water supply on the brink of running out. “Day Zero”, where water reserves fall so low that supply will be cut off from all but the most essential services, was recently pushed back from April to July. This was partly due to a drastic consumption reduction campaign, which advocated for <90 second showers and reduced flushing of toilets.

Climate projections – as recently as 2016 – did not adequately anticipate such changes to the climate, and therefore government officials could not act early enough. Such a crisis is not an isolated event; the warming climate is expected to affect other big cities including Los Angeles, Beijing, and São Paulo are facing similarly uncertain futures. 

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