South Africa’s Cape Town will most likely enter any serious list of most attractive cities in Africa. It is loved by tourists from around the world and attracts numerous visitors each year. Cape Town’s water is, however, now at an alarmingly low level.
The picturesque city has been struggling with a water crisis set off by a drought sweeping across the Western Cape province. Cape Town’s water problem is so serious that earlier this month the city was declared a disaster area.
Officials said that they had designated it as such to spell out the seriousness of the issue and free up some money to deal with the crisis.
Still, not much was done and by last week, the mayor’s office said that water levels at the major dams supplying Cape Town had dropped to 28,6%, which was 1.4% less than the week before.
Considering the fact that the last 10% of dam water isn’t fit for human consumption, Cape Town’s water problem comes into more glaring focus.
Taking away the unusable 10 percent of water, Cape Town only has about 18.6% of ater left which equates to just a little over 100 days.
Cape Town is therefore, pleading with people to save water and increasing restrictions. All the measures have managed to reduce water consumption by 27% but according to the mayor, that is still 137 million liters more than the targeted 700 million liters a day.
One of the measures the city has taken is to name and shame water wasters. Two elite Cape Town suburbs, Bishops Court and Constantia, were named as the highest water users in the City. The action offered only a little embarrassment but the city has threatened to fine any repeat offenders.
The city will certainly have to get tough to ensure that the situation does not get even more dire. Part of the long-term plans being considered to resolve Cape Town’s water problem is building infrastructure like desalination plants for the surrounding water or collections systems for the run-off water.
Such a project would cost about 8 billion rand or $632 million for 55 billion liters a year.