Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The coming dark age: Cape Town in South Africa will run out of water on April 16 if it does not rain soon.
Officials estimate that if water levels continue to fall as expected, South Africa’s second most populous city will run out of water by April 16, which has been dubbed “Day Zero.” Experts are keeping a close eye on daily consumption in a desperate bid to avoid the disaster, warning residents tempted to ignore measures that they face fines and the installation of water-management meters if they do not comply.
It may seem unthinkable that a developed city of four million could run out of water but it’s been a slow-burning catastrophe exacerbated by some uncontrollable factors. Cape Town been enduring the worst drought in a century for the past three years. A changing climate and rapidly growing population have made matters worse. And as the crisis has taken hold, Capetonians have not been doing enough to curb their water use, further aggravating the scarcity. Only an estimated 55% of the city’s residents are actually sticking to their allotted water per day, according to last week’s figures issued by authorities.
The city is now working to upgrade its water systems — rushing to build desalination, aquifer and water-recycling projects — and help stretch the current supply, but officials say residents need to step up, too. [emphasis mine]
It is interesting to me that this CNN article seems to downplay the South African government’s lack of planning while instead focusing on the failure of residents to ration themselves. The real scoop here however is this: “Why did the government let this situation get to this point?” Such incompetence should have been the highlight of the article, and in the past would have been. Now, the journalists at CNN feel obliged instead to make excuses for them.