Cape Town, South Africa is in crisis mode right out of a Mad Max movie. Given current water consumption, the city has approximately 90 days until it runs out of water.
The city recently pushed forward what they call Day Zero, where the city will be forced to shut off water supplies to all but essential consumers, such as hospitals. This would mark the first major city in the world to run out of water, a result of a prolonged 3-year drought.
The city has mandated that every household limit their water consumption to 23 gallons per person per day. However, only 54% of households are meeting that target. The city has asked residents to limit their showers to a couple minutes, stop watering their lawns, no washing of cars, and flushing toilets only when necessary.
As the city approaches Day Zero, four million South Africans living in the Cape Town metropolis fear for what seems inevitable. On April 22nd, apart from a major reduction in residents daily usage, the city will turn off water supplies and implement rations for residents.
The fact is, water supplies will never completely run out as the last 10% from a reservoir becomes costly and difficult to extract. The city has agreed that once the dams reach 13.5% capacity, water supplies will be shut off and residents will have to queue to collect their daily rations of 6.6 gallons of water. To keep the peace and prevent water theft, armed guards will be employed.
For wealthy Capetonians, there are numerous advertisements of people willing to drive trucks full of water from less water-constrained areas for a hefty price. The rest of the residents will have to settle for the likely long lines for daily water rations.