Cape Town, South Africa, is one of Africa’s most affluent cities. Due to population growth, drought and climate change, it may also become the first major city in the world to literally run out of drinking water.
Six months ago, residents were urged to begin conserving water. Over that time, consumption actually increased.
As a result, “Day Zero – when the taps in suburbia are switched off – has moved from the realm of possibility to probability,” says Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape province. “There is no way in which water augmentation schemes will compensate for our ongoing failure to curb demand sufficiently in the short term.”
A countdown timer predicts that Cape Town will reach Day Zero a little more than four months from now.
It gets worse. By 2030, global demand for fresh water will exceed the world’s available supply by 40 percent. The BBC lists 11 additional cities most in danger of running out of water:
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Bangalore, India
- Beijing, China
- Cairo, Egypt
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Moscow, Russia
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Mexico City, Mexico
- London, England
- Tokyo, Japan
- Miami, FL, United States
The U.S. maintains a high quality of drinking water, but loses 6 billion gallons every day due to aging and obsolete water mains. In a 2017 report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the country a “D” for its drinking water infrastructure.
As a leader in environmental science, Agilent is committed to ensuring the quality of our global water supply. Our technologies and solutions are used by laboratories and communities around the world to monitor contaminants in drinking water, wastewater, surface water and ground water. We support efforts to reclaim, recycle and re-use wastewater.
Today’s blog topic was suggested by Tarun Anumol, Ph.D., Agilent’s global environment market manager.
For more information go to:
- From the Inside: The Countdown to Day Zero (Daily Maverick)
- SA drought declared national disaster, Day Zero pushed back
- The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town (BBC)
- Drinking Water: 6 billion gallons of treated water lost every day (Infrastructure Report Card) (PDF)
- Keeping our drinking water safe from contaminants
- Water – Our Precious Resource (infographic)
- Reclaim from the Drain – The Importance of Water Reuse (infographic)
- Impact of Emerging Contaminants in Our Water Supply (infographic)
- The World’s Water (infographic)