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Cape Town Water Crisis: The Countdown to Day Zero

Feb 1, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
Cape Town declared a drought disaster in May 2017 as Gauteng province battled its worst water shortages in over 100 years.

The Theewaterskloof Dam, which supplies Cape Town, was at less than 20 percent of its capacity in May 2017. Only half of that can be used for human consumption; the last 10 percent is undrinkable due to the silt content.

(RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

It sounds like the title of a disaster movie, but the reality is a bit more muted. Still, for the residents of South Africa's second largest city, the approach of "Day Zero" is already inducing a certain degree of panic. In a little over two months, local officials will shut off the taps of Cape Town if the city's reservoirs drop too low amid a drought aggravated by political infighting and aging and inadequate infrastructure. With water conservation efforts drawing only a lukewarm response, local authorities are likely to enforce ever-stricter rationing measures. But even if the city eventually finds some respite, the ramifications of the crisis are likely to have lasting effects on all aspects of life in the region and the country....

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