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.
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.