Capetown South Africa is running out of water. Here's what you need to know.

Capetown South Africa is running out of water. Here's what you need to know.

Cape Town, South Africa is facing one of the worst water crisis in modern history. The city is simply running out of water. It's residents are being forced to follow water shortage measures, such as limiting toilet flushing to just once per day and preparations are being made for "day zero": when no water remains. 

cape town day zero water crisisCape Town, South Africa. Africa's second largest city.

Here's what you need to know about the situation:


Cape Town is a city of over half a million people located on the Western Cape of South Africa. The area receives a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and winter rainfall. It's located in the southern hemisphere, and therefore experiences season during the opposite months from of the Northern hemisphere (United States, for example).

So what's going on?

The situation in Cape Town has been caused by three pars. 1) Immigration to the city region from rural areas 2) insufficient water reserves and 3) periodic drought here. According to Wikipedia, the Cape Town region's population has grown from 2.4 million residents in 1995 to an estimated 4.3 million by 2018. And consequently, the six major dams that contribute most of the area's water have not been able to take up the population gains.

cape town south africa water disaster

A city who's metropolitan area includes 4.3 million people is bracing itself for when the tap gets turned off.

How did the city let this happen?

The short answer here is that city officials relied to heavily on predictable winter rains. Historical data showed that extreme drought in the region is very, very rare and so scientists and officials, thinking rain was on the way, did very little to prepare for shortages.

What is "Day Zero?"

As dam levels continue to diminish to critical levels, the city of Cape Town is preparing itself for the day that it effectively turns off the tap to municipal sources. Day Zero, according the the city's website, is scheduled to fall on July 15.


A note: Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Cape Town as they continue to move through this difficult period. As they do, we'll be sure to keep our followers up to date on the situation down there.