day zero

Cape Town Residents use Half the Amount of Water than Before ‘Day Zero’

Cape Town, South Africa, faces a major water crisis, but the city has managed to stave off Day Zero – that is, the day the city would actually run out of water completely – for the foreseeable future. Still, with “severe climate change looming, the city of 4 million will face a reckoning sooner or later,” writes climate expert Ashley Dawson, a native of Cape Town, in the Washington Post. “And it will not be alone.”

Cape Town’s water crisis – and the city’s response to it – has shown that planning for a drier future needs to be comprehensive, integrated and realistic, Dawson writes.

waterless urinals, cape town drought

But Cape Town has also shown us that such crises can be successfully addressed.

Today, Cape Town residents are using nearly 50% less water than they were in 2015 and reductions are expected to continue, says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co...

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Will “Day Zero” Happen in the US?

Vista, CA - Cape Town, South Africa is approaching Day Zero.

Cape Town Water Crisis

Day Zero is when there will be no water left for its four million citizens. All taps in homes and businesses will be turned off .

Why? 

The city has essentially run out of water as a result of an unrelenting three-year drought, considered the worst in more than a century.

Unless a rainfall event happens soon or some system is developed to bring water to the city, Day Zero could be declared as early as March of this year.

Cape Town South Africa

Already, city officials are preparing for a public health disaster and social unrest. 

However, even though Cape Town residents are well-aware of their dire situation, some citizens continue to use water foolishly, for instance washing their cars.

When this happens and police are called in, these people are fined, some arrested, and their buckets and sponges are confiscated as if they were illegal drugs.

Residents are allowed to use only 13 gallons of water per person, per day.  In the U.S., we use on average 66 gallons of water per person, per day.

Many believe climate change is behind this.  Countries near the North and South poles are feeling the impacts of climate change more than other parts of the world.

“Cape Town already has very strong environmental policies in place,” says Klaus Reichardt, CEO, and founder of Waterless CO manufacturers of waterless urinal systems. “They are also ahead of much of the world when it comes to effective water management.”

Will Day Zero happen in the US?

In fact, we almost did reach Day Zero when Northern California nearly ran out of water in the late 1970s.  And in the late 2000s, Atlanta only had about a three-month supply of water left, also due to a severe drought.

To prevent Day Zero from occurring here, Reichardt says, “We need to take steps now to improve water management, rebuild water infrastructure, and install more devices that use little or no water.”