First strike: The world is running out of water

Cape Town would become the first big city in the planet without water

First strike: The world is running out of water

The south hemisphere is passing through one of the most intense summers in the last years. The record temperatures in Australia are just an example of the heat they are suffering. Now, another victim of the summer is Cape Town in South Africa. This city will face a drought that will leave it without water.

The recent projections of the experts suggest that the city, with nearly 2 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, could run out of the liquid in March. However, Patricia de Lille, the city mayor, said that the Day Zero will come a little later, the 22nd of April. That day will arrive, if people don't reduce their water intake drastically. If it occurs, as experts predict, Cape Town will become the first major city to run out of water.

De Lille explained that Cape Town arrived to this situation due to 2 elements; on one hand, 3 years of few rains have dried the near water reservoir; on the other hand, there has been an increase in both the population and the water intake.
Possible solutions for the emergency, according to the local authorities, are:

•    To install some desalination plants to make the seawater potable.
•    To implement extraction from ground water.
•    To recycle the used water.
•    To reduce the daily water use up to 87 liters per person.

The people who break the limits will have to pay at least 400 dollars in fee.

The mayor has also asked to establish a 2-minute shower rule, to do not wash their cars or water their gardens, and to flush their toilets just if it is necessary.
Local authorities insist that the Day Zero is not a scary tactic to reduce the intake during the Summer days. When the dams reach 13.5% capacity, the government will stop the water supply to the population, excepting emergency buildings, such as Hospitals.

The Latin American crisis

According to national and international organizations, several cities in Latin American are in danger of running out of water. The huge population of Mexico City makes the city as one of the most vulnerable places. In accordance to the New York Times, the climate change, the high temperatures, the droughts, and an increase of the water intake are driving the capital of the country to find new water reservoir, each one farther away than the other. Furthermore, the drying of the Mexican valley is accelerating the sinking of the city.

In compliance to the local authorities, Bogota has guarantee water supply until 2032. However, the local media estimates that the Colombian capital can run out of the liquid between 2019 and 2022. Diego Laserna, the expert that predicts a water shortage in just 1 year, explained in his column in El Tiempo, that right now, the city is working in optimization projects and not in increasing the water reserve.

Despite Brazil has 20% of the world water, since few years, the country is demanding more and more water in the urban areas and for the energy creation.
Meanwhile, Chile is the 24th country in the world at risk to suffer a water shortage. According to the ranking from the World Resources Institute, the southern country and Peru have a high risk of running out of the liquid in 2040.

The same ranking showed that Argentina and Cuba have medium-high (20-40%) risk of shortage of water for the same period.

Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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