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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:54 pm 
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A major city in South Africa is running out of water

Sign warning residents of water restrictions is seen in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 25, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Cape Town, one of South Africa’s capital cities, is experiencing a water crisis that is totally unprecedented. The city has calculated a “Day Zero,” on which it expects to completely run out of water. The current Day Zero is April 21, moved up in early January by the city’s mayor from April 29, and then again this week from April 22. The shortage is being blamed largely on three years of drought, though Cape Town’s population has boomed without the water infrastructure keeping step. [TIME]

Why it matters: Once it reaches Day Zero, defined as when dams reach 13.5 percent capacity, the city will turn off the municipal taps for all but essential services, like hospitals. Officials will meter out water for residents from 200 water stations across the city, capping it at 6.6 gallons per person.

But the drought in Cape Town is also a global issue, as the drought is indicative of a changing climate, experts say. Before its drought, Cape Town regularly had wet winters, which produced on average three times the amount of water the city needed. Kevin Winter, a senior lecturer in environmental science at the University of Cape Town, told Al Jazeera that Cape Town would need three years of regular rainfall to refill the dams to pre-drought levels. Capetonians are already limiting their water usage, but as Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a Jan. 18 news conference, the city has “really reached the point of no return.”

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:23 pm 
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http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/01/24 ... -zero.html

Looks ugly

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:52 pm 
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Since they are on the ocean they could tap the saltwater for gray water use like cleaning, but yes a major metro area with no tap water will not be pleasant.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:16 pm 
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As of today they even reduced the number of days before the run out. This is not going to be pretty..... This will be something I watch very closely. They are limiting people to 13gallons per person per day, Americans use 88gallons per person per day.

This I believe will be the first major city to have ever run out of water in modern times. I don't see this ending.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:52 am 
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As I understand, a lot of the "88 gallons per day" that Americans use is due to agriculture. If we ignore agricultural and industrial water use the average used "per American" drops quite a bit.

The issues in Cape Town are very interesting and unfortunate. I'll be watching.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Here is a chart put out by the city of Philly:

https://www.phila.gov/water/educationou ... se_IG5.pdf

I call immediate BS on the chart. It is about as logical and straight as Philly.

I shower not bathe, if I am going to the toilet 6-8 times a day I need to see a doctor. My toilet only uses 1.8 gallons not 3, 8 X 8 ounces of water is 64 ounces which is not a gallon but a half gallon. If I used 300 gallons a day at my house that would be 9000 gallons a month. We use much less than half of that. If we were trying to conserve it would likely be around 2000 gallons a month.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:42 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
Here is a chart put out by the city of Philly:

https://www.phila.gov/water/educationou ... se_IG5.pdf

I call immediate BS on the chart. It is about as logical and straight as Philly.

I shower not bathe, if I am going to the toilet 6-8 times a day I need to see a doctor. My toilet only uses 1.8 gallons not 3, 8 X 8 ounces of water is 64 ounces which is not a gallon but a half gallon. If I used 300 gallons a day at my house that would be 9000 gallons a month. We use much less than half of that. If we were trying to conserve it would likely be around 2000 gallons a month.


Some other big uses of water include clothes washing, dish washers as well as plant watering.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:46 pm 
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You got me curious now... During the winter, looks like we average about 36 gallons per person, per day. Which is actually kind of surprising, thought it would be more than that. I love me a nice long shower...


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:00 pm 
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MPMalloy wrote:
A major city in South Africa is running out of water

Sign warning residents of water restrictions is seen in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 25, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Cape Town, one of South Africa’s capital cities, is experiencing a water crisis that is totally unprecedented. The city has calculated a “Day Zero,” on which it expects to completely run out of water. The current Day Zero is April 21, moved up in early January by the city’s mayor from April 29, and then again this week from April 22. The shortage is being blamed largely on three years of drought, though Cape Town’s population has boomed without the water infrastructure keeping step. [TIME]

Why it matters: Once it reaches Day Zero, defined as when dams reach 13.5 percent capacity, the city will turn off the municipal taps for all but essential services, like hospitals. Officials will meter out water for residents from 200 water stations across the city, capping it at 6.6 gallons per person.

But the drought in Cape Town is also a global issue, as the drought is indicative of a changing climate, experts say. Before its drought, Cape Town regularly had wet winters, which produced on average three times the amount of water the city needed. Kevin Winter, a senior lecturer in environmental science at the University of Cape Town, told Al Jazeera that Cape Town would need three years of regular rainfall to refill the dams to pre-drought levels. Capetonians are already limiting their water usage, but as Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a Jan. 18 news conference, the city has “really reached the point of no return.”
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:44 pm 
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cape town isn't the only town in strife, my local town is feeling the pinch of no water.

Townsville has a population over 180 000 people. it has has two dams to provide water to residents, the current levels are:
Ross dam: currently at 14% capacity (35 274 megalitres)
Paluma Dam: Currently at 73% capacity (8 500 megalitres)

In addition, Townsville can pump water from a large regional dam, Burdekin Falls Dam (current capacity 72.9% or 1 356 685 megalitres). however we are limited to 130 megalitres per day, at a cost of $27 000 AUD per day.

the majority of the state of Queensland is drought declared, with the previous record of water shortage going to the regional town of Cloncurry, who had to resort to trucking water in from the Burdekin Falls Dam after the local water supply failed. Brisbane, the state capitol in 2007, ended up at level 5 water restrictions with a total water allocation of 800L per person (included agriculture, toilets, gardens, showers) per day.

I hope Cape Town gets rain...urgently, but I also hope queensland gets rain...urgently

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:43 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
Here is a chart put out by the city of Philly:

https://www.phila.gov/water/educationou ... se_IG5.pdf

I call immediate BS on the chart. It is about as logical and straight as Philly.


I gotta agree, which Jackwad is taking a bath, then showering off and flushing the toilet for grins? :shock:


Locally, we've cycled in and out of droughts. Some years we need water, some years we have WAY to much. The folks who need to worry, are the ones living in an area that requires water to exist. Places that were deserts until the water got piped in. Watching Capetown will definitely be interesting (and sad) though.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:13 pm 
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From ABC (Australia): Cape Town to set up disaster operations HQ as the city faces Day Zero
Quote:
South Africa's police and military will help secure water collection sites in drought-stricken Cape Town if authorities must turn off most taps on Day Zero, a date projected to fall in the first half of April, according to the city.

Key points:

Residents can avoid Day Zero by each using no more than 50 litres daily.

Security forces would guard 200 water collection points where residents can pick up 25 litres daily if the cut-off occurs.

Providers of bottled water are being encouraged to increase supply.

Hospitals, key economic and industrial areas and densely populated areas with a higher risk of disease would be exempt from a water cut-off, municipal authorities said.

The authorities plan to open a disaster operations centre on Monday to prepare for a possible closure of taps in a city known internationally for its natural beauty and tourist attractions.

South Africa's second-biggest city ramped up contingency plans as the water crisis hurt tourism.

Politicians bickered over alleged failures to offset a looming disaster blamed on explosive population growth over the past two decades and several years of drought that scientists say was possibly exacerbated by man-made global warming.

Cape Town's roughly 4 million residents can avoid Day Zero, slated for April 12, by each using no more than 50 litres daily until adequate rainfall fills up depleted reservoirs and additional supply from aquifers, desalination and recycling schemes is activated, according to the city.

Security forces would guard 200 water collection points where residents can pick up 25 litres daily if the tap cut-off occurs, authorities said.

Providers of bottled water are being encouraged to increase supply so people have the option of buying water, and water tankers would deliver to homes for the elderly and other care facilities.

"This crisis will demand a whole of society approach, where we all pull together to get through this," the city said in a statement that acknowledged "panic" among residents fretting over the possible difficulties ahead.

This weekend, Cape Town's water and sanitation department said it was investigating reports that some retailers might be illegally selling municipal tap water after people were seen lining up with empty bottles at two malls.

Some residents are supplementing water supply by collecting from natural springs in the city.

Cape Town is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which says the national government of the ruling African National Congress party has failed to deliver water to all municipalities as required by law.

On Sunday, the ANC's provincial branch said the Day Zero warning was an opposition gimmick to drum up a sense of "gloom and doom" and suggested its own solutions, including reductions in production by brewers and soft drink companies.

"We need water, not sugary and alcoholic drinks," the party said.

Meanwhile, tourism is taking a hit. Agencies have received cancellations from domestic and international travellers, said Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy, according to the African News Agency. He did not provide data on cancellations.

One visitor to Cape Town this weekend was Olympic great Usain Bolt, who attended a horse racing event.

He was asked about the city's crisis at a news conference.

"Don't waste water," the Jamaican said.

In the Caribbean, he said, "we have this issue sometimes."

AP

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:24 pm 
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From NBC: Water crisis grips Cape Town, South Africa, after drought stretching years

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:01 pm 
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Perhaps they should start an iceberg round-up from Antarctica? Even relatively small bergs contain a lot of fresh water, I'll admit it would take some trial and error to get a system going, but as long as you can make a profit, someone could be found to try.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:19 pm 
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I wonder how much the frequent updates are worsening the crisis? People may already be starting to overuse water to hoard it. I bet the water-container-salesman-guy is making a killing right now...

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taipan821 wrote:
cape town isn't the only town in strife, my local town is feeling the pinch of no water.

Townsville has a population over 180 000 people. it has has two dams to provide water to residents, the current levels are:
Ross dam: currently at 14% capacity (35 274 megalitres)
Paluma Dam: Currently at 73% capacity (8 500 megalitres)

In addition, Townsville can pump water from a large regional dam, Burdekin Falls Dam (current capacity 72.9% or 1 356 685 megalitres). however we are limited to 130 megalitres per day, at a cost of $27 000 AUD per day.

the majority of the state of Queensland is drought declared, with the previous record of water shortage going to the regional town of Cloncurry, who had to resort to trucking water in from the Burdekin Falls Dam after the local water supply failed. Brisbane, the state capitol in 2007, ended up at level 5 water restrictions with a total water allocation of 800L per person (included agriculture, toilets, gardens, showers) per day.

I hope Cape Town gets rain...urgently, but I also hope queensland gets rain...urgently


Jeez i didn't know it was that bad up there. I'm on the lower Darling river and i can tell you that this part of the river is again struggling. They keep releasing water out of Menindee for irrigation down stream. Personally im keen on the Wentworth-Broken hill pipeline as it will be a more secure supply.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:48 am 
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From ABC (Australia): Cape Town residents dread 'disaster' as city waits for water to run out
Quote:
It's known as the Cape of Storms for the dreaded weather systems that roll in from the Atlantic Ocean, tormenting sailors, flooding fields, and sending torrents of water gushing down the slopes of the city's famous mountains.

But those conditions have not been seen for a long time, and now Capetonians are praying the heavens will open so their taps will not be switched off.

They are calling that moment Day Zero.

Quote:
"I think it's going to be a huge disaster. People in my community will struggle to go and buy water," says local woman Nombeko Mpaliso.


Last year, Cape Town recorded its driest year since 1933, and the three years to the end of 2017 were also the driest period in those 84 years.

While water restrictions have been in place since last May, the city's water supply is expected to completely run out by mid-April.

Survival strategies

Speak to anyone from Cape Town and you will find they suddenly know an awful lot about how to save water.

Quote:
"When we get together with friends it's all we talk about," says Louise Mullholand.


Her family are using their braai (barbecue) more often so they don't need to wash pots and pans. They're also collecting fresh water from a nearby spring to supplement their supply — "the queues are a nightmare and there is a security guard to make sure people only collect their allowance," she says.

Most keen water-savers take two-minute showers over buckets, reusing the water to flush their toilets.

Quote:
Others avoid washing altogether. Elizabeth Bishop is getting her kids to eat their meals naked.


"Playground dirt and dust, the clothes just get re-worn, but food marks are pretty gross so we just avoid that," she says.

In an online thread, Despina Learmoth recommended spraying dirty clothes with a solution of water and vinegar before hanging them to air — then going out to buy loads of knickers.

"Or just stop wearing any at all!" she says.

Laurian Sachs has disconnected her washing machine from the plumbing and reuses the water in subsequent loads. Once it's too dirty, she uses it to flush the toilets.

"I won't be able to flush good drinking water away with my poo into the sewer ever again," she says.

Divisions emerge

As tends to happen in times of crisis, Cape Town's water shortage is both bringing the community together and threatening to split it apart.

Quote:
"It will affect everyone very differently depending on their disposable income", says Terri Kallis.


Her family have a well point, while other affluent households are installing boreholes at a cost of tens of thousands of rands.

Ms Kallis sees a cross section of people in her physiotherapy practice and says many of her more affluent patients who have tapped into ground water are not too concerned about how much they use, but her older patients are worried how they will cope when they reach Day Zero.

Once the taps are turned off, residents will be allowed to collect 25 litres per person per day from 180 sites across the city.

Police and defence forces will help secure the sites, but many questions remain about how they will operate.

How will families collect water for multiple people? How will people carry the water away from the collection point?

Quote:
And most importantly, with a population approaching 4 million, is one collection point per 20,000 people nearly enough?


"It will be an unmitigated fiasco," says Sandra Lallemand.

She says her family lives in a tight-knit community that already look out for each other, but admits that they are privileged, and that kindness can be a luxury.

Already it's a quality many are not showing.

Blame and finger pointing

Neighbours have been shaming each other online, posting photos of excessive water use to social media.

Residents have also been lashing out at each other as a result of a controversial online database launched by the local government allowing people to monitor each other's usage based on water bills.

As the crisis deepens, various groups have turned on each other: private users pointing fingers at businesses, locals getting angry with tourists, the rich few blaming the poor masses, people living in informal housing calling out residents in affluent areas.

Quote:
Years after apartheid, there is still a stark division between the various Cape Towns.


Cape Town's sprawling "townships" are dominated by informal and public housing; videos have circulated of township residents washing cars and taxis, inciting bitter comments from suburban residents.

In response, statistics are cited that show people in informal housing account for single digit water usage, while formal residents use 65 per cent of the city's water — numbers often followed by mutterings about suburban residents' rolling lawns, lush gardens and swimming pools.

For many, every day is Day Zero

For many living in the townships' informal housing without plumbing, it's been Day Zero their whole lives.

Lukalo Mdulu moved to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape to find work and is now a gardener for Terri Kallis and others living in Cape Town's suburbs.

He lives in informal housing in the township of Khayelitsha, and has never had a shower, never mind a two-minute one.

Every day, before and after work, he collects 25 litres of water from a nearby tap for his wife and three kids.

They bathe daily from a bucket, so water restrictions do not change things much at home, but they could affect his gardening work.

Quote:
"If everything is dry, people will say there is no work. I am very worried," Mr Mdulu says.

He is the only wage earner in his family of five.
Ms Mpaliso reckons nearly 2,000 people depend on the tap where she gets her water.

She prefers to collect one load using a 20-litre bucket than to go back and forth with a five-litre bucket.

"I have no choice. If I use a five-litre bucket I know I'll have to go back and then there will be a queue," she says.

Quote:
"I was thinking that from today, I'll start buying bottles to keep water for myself.
"

The future is unclear

The city has said when Day Zero arrives, it will not disconnect the water supply to the townships, but these are vast, varied places that house more than a million people, and it is not clear how everyone will be affected.

While some people live in informal shacks, with shared taps and no toilets, others live in government-built units, with plumbing.

Nomawonga Khohliso, a social worker with a local NGO, shares a flat with four adults and three children and is already doing all she can to cut down their water usage.

She has been washing her dishes with bleach so the recycled water doesn't smell and she bathes all her kids together, which presents difficulties when her older daughter has her period.

But it could get worse.

Quote:
If her family of seven must collect their water every day, they will lose valuable hours they could otherwise be spending at work or school.


A drought of leadership

The catastrophe Cape Town is facing is at once a simple problem and a very complex one, but whichever way you look at it, leadership has been as wanting as water.

Quote:
Seen simply — for the past few years the water coming in has been significantly less than the water going out, and as anyone who manages a budget knows, that always ends poorly.

Cape Town is a beautiful city, with a thriving tourism industry and a booming property market, all of which have attracted many to its shores, slopes and townships.

But despite numerous warnings from experts, the city's water supply has not kept pace. As the crisis has drawn closer, there's been much finger pointing and feet dragging among the bodies tasked with keeping the city's taps on.

Now with impending disaster has come real action.

The city recently announced that a nearby catchment area will donate an extra 67 million litres of water per day for a short period.

And a citywide effort has meant tens of thousands of residents came closer to hitting 50 litres of water per person per day before it became the recommended level on February 1.

It may still be too little, too late, but one thing is for sure: today's Capetonians will never again treat their Mother City, as they call it, as a place of endless abundance.

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Interesting to note those near the bottom of society are the least affected by the water saving. It is worth seeing how those in the US and those overseas live life and get things done.

I really feel for a man who has four dependents and is at risk of losing his job. I don't have as many dependents but that is something which weighs on me. I have been thinking about how to position myself in case something happens to the US.

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It was the same in the depression.
Poor and rural people were already living so close to the bone we just notched our belt tighter and carried on.
Often we suddenly had more people to take care of, too.
Those who lost their jobs & houses came home, and we all dealt with it together.
Whatever else you stop paying - MAKE YOUR HOUSE PAYMENTS.

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It's just business.
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From Bloomberg: What It’s Like to Live in a City Without Water
Quote:
Cape Town residents are taking extreme measures to cut consumption during a record drought.

By John Vijoen February 12, 2018, 11:48 PM CST

To shower in 90 seconds or less like a local in Cape Town, you need a plastic basin to stand in—a bucket’s just going to lead to wastage—and, preferably, a hand-held shower.

Capture any water you run before the shower reaches a decent temperature in your basin, then quickly wet yourself before turning off the faucet. Soap up and clean before turning on the water again. If it’s a hair-washing day and you haven’t made the switch to dry shampoo, skip the “repeat” bit after rinsing.

Irksome at first, these steps have become routine in recent months as we save and re-use every precious drop of water in our beautiful but parched hometown. Capetonians have been told to keep daily water consumption to 50 liters (13 gallons) a person. A long, luxurious bath can use four times that much.

I’m quite proud that in our household we’ve got it down to around 30 liters, with the water from those 90-second showers harvested in buckets and deployed for the toilet and to keep a few favorite plants alive. The last time my wife or I took a bath was three months ago, when we were abroad.

Confronted by the worst drought on record after years of disastrously low rainfall, city authorities say they may have to turn off the water entirely by June 4, the latest estimation of “Day Zero,” if reservoir levels keep falling and consumption doesn’t slow. That has sparked panic buying of water. Supermarkets have varying limits on how many 5-liter-bottles of water shoppers may buy—when there is any to be had.

Friends have installed tanks to capture and store water on the rare occasions when it rains. Because we recently moved, we’ve been left behind on this front. A distributor I called last week said he had none in stock and the waiting list was so long that he wouldn’t even take an order. The small washing machines for campers that my wife has been coveting have all been snapped up—you can’t get one anywhere in South Africa. Our family wash takes place once a week, on the 15-minute cycle.

Residents are sharing pointers on how to live with the drought on social media, with the “Water Shedding Western Cape” Facebook group boasting more than 154,000 members. Advice dispensed in the forum in recent days includes dealing with kitchen drains that are turning smelly because of the little water flowing through them, and which supermarkets have those sought-after 5 liter bottles in stock.

Members of the group compare notes on how much water they have stockpiled—the results range from zero to 20,000 liters. There’s handy guidance on how to build a system that gathers used water from your washing machine and the lowdown on the latest rules on using water from boreholes, an increasingly popular option.

The drought has devastated gardens, but boosted the popularity of fake grass. A lawyer friend is among those who’ve replaced their entire lawn with the verdant, artificial alternative.

Our water crisis has driven invention and innovation: two Bloomberg colleagues have invested in contraptions typically used to spray insecticide, but that are now catching on as high-pressured, water-efficient showering devices. My sister is about to start renovations and will use water from the swimming pool to mix cement, the city having forbidden the use of municipal supplies for this. My in-laws stand in long lines at the natural spring in the suburb of Newlands, clutching their outsize containers. And you don’t even want to know about the measures being taken in homes and at schools when it comes to using the toilet.

We’re becoming worried about the potential for illness as the water shortage drags on. Nandi Siegfried, a doctor friend who is an expert in public health, told us over dinner she is gravely concerned that disease could spread as people wash their hands less and staff in restaurants rely more on waterless sanitizers, which may not be as effective.

Our hoped-for winter rains are still about four months away. A decent deluge we were promised this past Friday night was a disappointment. My friend Luke Stevens measured just 3 millimeters in our suburb, barely enough to quench our lemon tree’s thirst.

We’ve got our 25-liter containers ready should “Day Zero” arrive and we have to collect daily rations from 200 planned distribution points around the city. We desperately hope it won’t come to that, because it promises to be hellish and chaotic, turning work, school and home life upside-down as we line up for hours every day.

We’ve adapted a lot during this drought, but perhaps the most important change is that we’ll never again take water for granted. It’s just too precious.

— With assistance by Zimri Smith

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Matthew Paul Malloy
Veteran: USAR, USA, IAANG.

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"When society is experiencing severe disruptions, or is being completely interrupted, people have the responsibility to handle their own and their nearest relatives' fundamental needs for a while."


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From CNBC:
Quote:
Cities around the world should prepare for running out of water, experts say

Cape Town's recent water shortage crisis has raised global concern about the threat of water scarcity.

The increasing risks have cast a spotlight on the issue of water theft and mitigation efforts.

Andrew Wong CNBC.com

It's called "Day Zero": when Cape Town, South Africa's bustling port city, sees its water taps run dry, and its population thrust into a perilous situation.

Originally projected for this year, the impending crisis has been delayed in part by severe measures — the city instituted restrictions that amount to less than one sixth of an average American's water consumption. Yet despite that effort, "Day Zero" is still projected to arrive next year.

And when it comes, the crisis will see the government switching off all the taps and rationing the resource through collection points.

That future isn't just Cape Town's. It's a scenario cities around the globe may face, experts say.

A public swimming pool, in a suburb of Cape Town has been emptied due to local water restrictions on March 6, 2018.
It may be hard to fathom just how cities could be at risk of a water scarcity crisis when approximately 70 percent of the world is made up of the resource. The stark reality, however, is that the percentage of fresh water probably only amounts to about 2.5 percent, according to often-cited assessments.

Even then, a significant supply is locked up in ice and snow, which means just 1 percent of all fresh water is easily accessible to the global population.

Inequality in access to water is also quickly becoming a problem. While the affluent can find ways to get access to water— through deliveries or in-built tanks — poorer populations are left to their own devices.

That situation oftentimes leads to water theft — for profit, for survival, or for both.

A 'wake-up call'
A nation's development has frequently come at the cost of undercutting its sources of clean water, Betsy Otto, director of the World Resources Institute's global water program told CNBC.

"For example, quite a bit of scientific evidence has shown that deforestation changed the hydrological cycle in the Amazon," she said.

Although water scarcity is a very real and pervasive problem, experts said most cities are not immediately at risk of running out of water.

Still, it is extremely important that water scarcity is acknowledged as a global problem because cities should begin working on unique solutions to local problems now, according to Rebecca Keller, a senior science and technology analyst at intelligence firm Stratfor

"It won't be the same exact scenario that Cape Town is facing," Keller said. "It might be pollution, drought, drier climates or significant population growth."

The troubles faced by Cape Town should serve as a "wake-up call" for other countries about the realities of increasing water stress, Otto said.

Water stress occurs when demand for the resource exceeds the available supply. It taxes the reserves and may lead to deterioration of fresh water resources.

In recent years, California faced a drought that lasted years, Australia survived the millennium drought, and Sao Paulo faced a water shortage crisis in 2015 due to both drought and inefficient infrastructures.

Otto summed up the global state of preparedness for water scarcity, saying: "We've either under-invested in measures or allowed existing structures to fall apart."

Water theft
The United Nations' 2010 recognition of water as a human right has complicated the issue of water theft, said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow in the foreign policy program at think-tank the Brookings Institution.

"The right to water does not mean the right to free water," Felbab-Brown explained, saying many people had misunderstood the UN. "In the same manner that people have to pay for food, they should expect to pay for safe water."

That sentiment hasn't stopped outright water theft on a large scale in countries like Brazil, India and Mexico. Companies and individuals illegally tap into pipelines and reservoirs, or they find other ways to avoid water meters.

There's no single solution to the issue, however, as the context of water theft varies between places, Felbab-Brown said. But, she pointed out, better law enforcement, water monitoring, and creating comprehensive databases, are good starting points for governments.

"Governments need to recognize that they can't just apply law enforcement without providing legal alternatives," she added.

As of now, water smuggling mostly operates within countries' borders, but it will eventually occur on an international scale, Felbab-Brown said.

Ethiopian construction workers working on the Grand Renaissance Dam near the Sudanese-Ethiopian border on March 31, 2015.
That could become a point of geopolitical tension between countries dealing with transboundary water issues, Keller said.

For an example of international water tensions, take the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam in the Nile, a $4 billion hydroelectric project financed by Ethiopia. It's left Egypt fearing a potential disruption to its fresh water supply.

Controling demand
Mitigating water scarcity has proven to be a tricky political subject because, in many countries, environmental or climate solutions tend to have a hard time gathering enough political support to become a reality.

It is also extremely expensive to build out new water supplies, dams and desalination plants.

"Unless there is an acute event — a severe drought for example — it is the [political] constraints that play out in a long time frame," Keller said.

Consequently, many governments have done little to guide their citizens on water-efficient behavior. That can be implemented through price controls, Otto said, but it's rarely a popular measure.

"There should be two tiers of pricing. Conservation pricing, which charges the minimum amount for water that is sufficient for basic needs, should be provided at low rates. Discretionary water use, which is anything beyond the necessary amount, should be charged more," Otto said.

On a national level, she said, governments should encourage conversation about conservation issues. That is, saving water will always be cheaper than building or drilling for new sources, Otto added.

The good news, experts said, is there will be time for governments to start preparing for a Day Zero scenario.

"It's not going to be a surprise. The city is not going to run out of water suddenly," Keller said.

Andrew Wong Special to CNBC

_________________
Matthew Paul Malloy
Veteran: USAR, USA, IAANG.

Dragon Savers!
Golden Dragons!
Tropic Lightning!
Duty! Honor! Country!

"When society is experiencing severe disruptions, or is being completely interrupted, people have the responsibility to handle their own and their nearest relatives' fundamental needs for a while."


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