South Africa (McKoy’s News) – Cape Town’s Worst Drought: The worst drought in a century is forcing the most stringent water restrictions ever implemented for South Africa’s second largest city.
Cape Town has less than 10% of its useable water remaining for its nearly 4 million residents.
The city is implementing Level 4 water restrictions, which ask residents to limit daily usage to 100 liters (26 gallons) per person. The measure is meant to reduce demand and conserve what little water is still available, and means significant sacrifices for residents.
For Cape Town resident Suzanne Buckley, the restrictions mean adapting to a new lifestyle.
“We have buckets in our shower and bathroom sink to save excess water,” Buckley said. “The gray water is then used to flush our toilets.”
The restrictions are in effect across the city in an aggressive effort to preserve its remaining drinking water, but it may not be enough.
South Africa ranks as the 30th driest country in the world and is considered a water-scarce region. A highly variable climate causes uneven distribution of rainfall, making droughts even more extreme.
Speaking to CNN, Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille explained her concerns about the growing water crisis.
“Climate change is a reality and we cannot depend on rainwater alone to fill our dams, but must look at alternative sources like desalination and underground aquifers.”
The Western Cape, one of the country’s nine provinces and home to Cape Town, experiences its annual rainy season during the winter months (June-September). Capetonians are likely several weeks away from any substantial, drought-relieving rainfall.
Even then, predictions are dire for this winter as a potential El Niño develops off the west coast of South America, according to the Climate Prediction Center. If El Niño does materialize, it would have a negative effect on rainfall across the Western Cape.
Contributed by Dr. Colin O Jarrett