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How Cape Town Avoided a Water Crisis at the Eleventh Hour

How Cape Town Avoided a Water Crisis at the Eleventh Hour

Cape Town’s water crisis got so bad last year that there were competitions to see who could wash their shirts the least. Restaurants and businesses were encouraging people not to flush after going to the toilet. The city was just 90 days away from turning off the taps.


Restricted supply

The City of Cape Town introduced increasingly strict restrictions, which as well as limiting the volumes allowed, also restricted what the water was used for. Filling swimming pools, washing cars, and fountains were all banned.

Households using high volumes of water faced big fines. The city also significantly hiked tariffs as well as rolling out management devices, which set a daily limit on the water supply to properties.

Another method of curbing use saw the city reduce the water pressure, which both cut overall consumption as well as decreased the loss through leaks.

Alongside measures targeted at domestic use, Cape Town also called on the agricultural and commercial sectors. Hard limits on agricultural water quotas were introduced.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, demand is set to reach 17.7 billion cubic meters by 2030 — up from 13.4 billion cubic meters in 2016 — outstripping what the country is able to allocate.

Reposted with permission from our media associate World Economic Forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A view of Clifton Beach on Oct. 4, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Source: EcoWatch

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Scarcity

Water Scarcity

Water scarcity can mean scarcity in availability due to physical shortage, or scarcity in access due to the failure of institutions to ensure a regular supply or due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.

Water scarcity already affects every continent. Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered, especially in arid regions.

Drought in Niger in 2011. Photo: WFP/Phil Behan
Drought in Niger in 2011. Photo: WFP/Phil Behan

Challenges

Water scarcity will be exacerbated as rapidly growing urban areas place heavy pressure on neighbouring water resources. Climate change and bio-energy demands are also expected to amplify the already complex relationship between world development and water demand.

Aerial shots of Ricefields near Baucau, Timor Leste. UN Photo/Martine Perret
Aerial shots of Ricefields near Baucau, Timor Leste. UN Photo/Martine Perret

Opportunities

There is not a global water shortage as such, but individual countries and regions need to urgently tackle the critical problems presented by water stress. Water has to be treated as a scarce resource, with a far stronger focus on managing demand. Integrated water resources management provides a broad framework for governments to align water use patterns with the needs and demands of different users, including the environment.

Source:  UN Water

By:  https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/scarcity/
LINK: https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/scarcity/

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