South Africa’s Cape Town, one of the world’s most iconic tourist destinations could run out of water by April as the city’s worst drought in a century risks forcing residents to join queues for emergency rations
“Day Zero” – the date taps are due to run dry – has crept forward to April 22 as city authorities race to build desalination plants and drill underground boreholes.
Almost 2 million tourists flock to Cape Town every year to bathe on sandy white beaches, explore natural features like Table Mountain or to sip wine in dozens of nearby vineyards.
Travel and tourism accounted for an estimated 9 per cent or 412 billion rand ($33 billion) of South Africa’s economic output last year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
“At the current rate the city is likely to reach Day Zero on 22 April,” said councilor Xanthea Limberg, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for water. “There is a real risk that residents will have to line up.”
At a trial water collection site, similar to an estimated 200 the city may introduce, people line up between metal fences waiting to fill up containers from standpipes. A maximum 25 litres of water will be provided per person, per day, officials said.
“The parliament conducted a commission to deal with the water crisis, took tax payers money to produce multiple papers and reports, and since then has only built one dam ,leaving the country bizarre,” a Cape Town resident stated while talking exclusively to The Express Tribune.
The local African government is blaming the central government for not providing enough budgets over two decades, and are also accusing the residents of Cape Town for extra consumption of water.
The desalination plants designed recently by the government are to supplement the dams which are the main sources. The dams in Cape Town are dry and the local government is banking on enough rains over three years to make the dams (currently desserts) overflow.
However at the same time the central government of Cape Town who has always lost majority seats in the city is refusing to declare it an emergency, which means they will have to provide services and financial aid as it puts the local government in jeopardy and is great anti-campaign before elections.
The Israelis and Australians have offered desalination ships to pump water into the city ,however the central government refused ,stating they could not pay for it and do not want the debt.
Not that the problem was unseen by the government, Cape Times newspaper of Cape Town, in 1990, had sent out a warning that the country will run out of water in ‘17’ years.
Hundreds of people gathered in the fields of Cape Town to pray for rain before the arrival of Day Zero, which has been moved to April 12.
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