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With 100 Days of Water Left, Cape Town Risks Running Dry
« on: March 17, 2017, 11:10:50 AM »
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-16/with-just-100-days-of-water-left-cape-town-risks-running-dry


With 100 Days of Water Left, Cape Town Risks Running Dry
by Michael Cohen
, Paul Vecchiatto
, and Scarlet Fu
March 16, 2017, 2:00 PM AKDT March 17, 2017, 3:11 AM AKDT

    Supply should last until rainy season, may run out by 2019
    Plans are being implemented to supplement city’s water supply

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Cape Town Mayor Says Water Shortage Is a 'Real Crisis'

Cape Town, the crown jewel of South Africa’s tourism industry, has 100 days before it runs out of water.

After two years of the least rainfall on record, the average level of the six main dams that supply the city of 3.7 million people has dropped below 30 percent, one of the lowest levels on record. The last 10 percent of the reservoir water is unusable, and the risk is mounting that taps and pipes will stop flowing before the onset of the winter rainy season that normally starts in May or June.

Even if the supply stretches until then, heavy downpours may be needed to avert outages over the next two years in South Africa’s second-biggest city. Each year more than 850,000 people from the region and abroad fly through the international airport in Cape Town, which the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper has rated as the top city destination for the past four years.

“We are in a real crisis,” Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Women4Climate conference in New York on March 8. “People will have to change the way they are doing things. You can only save water while you have water.”

Patricia de Lille, Mayor of Cape Town, South Africa, discusses the city’s water shortage.
Source: Bloomberg

The city council has imposed water restrictions, including bans on using hosepipes to irrigate gardens and fill swimming pools, and fined those who violate them. It’s also lowered the water pressure and stepped up efforts to combat leaks. While those measures have helped reduce average daily summer consumption to 751 million liters (165 million gallons) a day, from 1.1 billion liters a year ago, that’s still shy of the city’s 700-million-liter target.
Diversify Supply

The Cape Town authorities should have done more to diversify its water supply and implemented projects to use treated sewage and effluent, said Kevin Winter, a lecturer and water expert at the University of Cape Town’s Environmental and Geographical Science Department.

“Ninety-eight percent of water comes from dams and that is crazy,” he said. “We use untreated, high quality water for everything we can think of.”

The lack of water and efforts to conserve it are evident from the city’s withered gardens and parks and closure of most municipal swimming pools. Many of the city’s more than 3.7 million people have taken to using water from their baths and showers to flush toilets and try and keep their plants alive. Providers of wells and equipment that captures runoff from washing machines and bathrooms, known as gray water, are doing a roaring trade.

Nazeer Sonday, who grows vegetables in the southern suburb of Philippi, is one of hundreds of farmers in the city and surrounding areas whose livelihoods are under threat from the water shortages.
Struggling farmers

“We have access to an underground aquifer,” Sonday said. “The long drought means that the aquifer is no longer been replenished as quickly as it should. The salt content rises and the seedlings are very sensitive to this. The water has to be filtered and this adds to the cost of production.”

The city and national governments are implementing and considering several projects to augment the water supply, according to De Lille. These include:
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* Pumping surplus water from the Berg River to the Voelvlei Dam, east of Cape Town, which will cost 274 million-rand ($21.6 million) and yield an extra 60 million liters of water a day.
* Implementing a 4.5 billion-rand plan to reuse water, which will supply an additional 220 million liters a day.
* Building a 15 billion-rand desalination plant that will yield an average of 450 million liters of water a day.
* Tapping aquifers from the city’s landmark Table Mountain, which could yield 50 million liters to 100 million liters a day. That project, which would be implemented in several phases, is still being costed.

“The city will probably squeak through this season, but it may not in coming years,” Winter said. “It has been on the cards that water would run out by 2019. This drought has been a wake-up call for the city.”

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🚱 The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water - like Cape Town
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 03:00:36 AM »
Vega, Phoenix and LA didn't make the list. :o

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water - like Cape Town

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water - like Cape Town

 

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A quarter of the world's major cities face a situation of water stress

Cape Town faces the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to run out of drinking water.

However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about - water scarcity.

Despite covering about 70% of the Earth's surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world's 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of "water stress"

According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.

1. São Paulo

Brazil's financial capital and one of the 10 most populated cities in the world went through a similar ordeal to Cape Town in 2015, when the main reservoir fell below 4% capacity.

At the height of the crisis, the city of over 21.7 million inhabitants had less than 20 days of water supply and police had to escort water trucks to stop looting.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption At the height of the drought, Sao Paulo's reservoirs became a desolate landscape

It is thought a drought that affected south-eastern Brazil between 2014 and 2017 was to blame, but a UN mission to São Paulo was critical of the state authorities "lack of proper planning and investments".

The water crisis was deemed "finished" in 2016, but in January 2017 the main reserves were 15% below expected for the period - putting the city's future water supply once again in doubt.

2. Bangalore

Local officials in the southern Indian city have been bamboozled by the growth of new property developments following Bangalore's rise as a technological hub and are struggling to manage the city's water and sewage systems.

To make matters worse, the city's antiquated plumbing needs an urgent upheaval; a report by the national government found that the city loses over half of its drinking water to waste.

Like China, India struggles with water pollution and Bangalore is no different: an in-depth inventory of the city's lakes found that 85% had water that could only be used for irrigation and industrial cooling.

Not a single lake had suitable water for drinking or bathing.

Will Cape Town be the first city to run out of water?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Pollution in Bangalore's lakes is rife

3. Beijing

The World Bank classifies water scarcity as when people in a determined location receive less than 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water per person.

In 2014, each of the more than 20 million inhabitants of Beijing had only 145 cubic metres.

China is home to almost 20% of the world's population but has only 7% of the world's fresh water.

A Columbia University study estimates that the country's reserves declined 13% between 2000 and 2009.

And there's also a pollution problem. Official figures from 2015 showed that 40% of Beijing's surface water was polluted to the point of not being useful even for agriculture or industrial use.

The Chinese authorities have tried to address the problem by creating massive water diversion projects. They have also introduced educational programmes, as well as price hikes for heavy business users.

4. Cairo

Once crucial to the establishment of one of the world's greatest civilisations, the River Nile is struggling in modern times.

It is the source of 97% of Egypt's water but also the destination of increasing amounts of untreated agricultural, and residential waste.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Nile provides 97% of Egypt's water supply

World Health Organization figures show that Egypt ranks high among lower middle-income countries in terms of the number of deaths related to water pollution.

The UN estimates critical shortages in the country by 2025.

5. Jakarta

Like many coastal cities, the Indonesian capital faces the threat of rising sea levels.

But in Jakarta the problem has been made worse by direct human action. Because less than half of the city's 10 million residents have access to piped water, illegal digging of wells is rife. This practice is draining the underground aquifers, almost literally deflating them.

As a consequence, about 40% of Jakarta now lies below sea level, according to World Bank estimates.

To make things worse, aquifers are not being replenished despite heavy rain because the prevalence of concrete and asphalt means that open fields cannot absorb rainfall.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Illegal well-drilling is making the Indonesian capital more vulnerable to flooding

6. Moscow

One-quarter of the world's fresh water reserves are in Russia, but the country is plagued by pollution problems caused by the industrial legacy of the Soviet era.

That is specifically worrying for Moscow, where the water supply is 70% dependent on surface water.

Official regulatory bodies admit that 35% to 60% of total drinking water reserves in Russia do not meet sanitary standards

7. Istanbul

According to official Turkish government figures, the country is technically in a situation of a water stress, since the per capita supply fell below 1,700 cubic metres in 2016.

Local experts have warned that the situation could worsen to water scarcity by 2030.

Image copyright AFP Image caption A 10-month long drought dried up this lake near Istanbul

In recent years, heavily populated areas like Istanbul (14 million inhabitants) have begun to experience shortages in the drier months.

The city's reservoir levels declined to less than 30 percent of capacity at the beginning of 2014.

8. Mexico City

Water shortages are nothing new for many of the 21 million inhabitants of the Mexican capital.

One in five get just a few hours from their taps a week and another 20% have running water for just part of the day.

The city imports as much as 40% of its water from distant sources but has no large-scale operation for recycling wastewater. Water losses because of problems in the pipe network are also estimated at 40%.

9. London

Of all the cities in the world, London is not the first that springs to mind when one thinks of water shortages.

The reality is very different. With an average annual rainfall of about 600mm (less than the Paris average and only about half that of New York), London draws 80% of its water from rivers (the Thames and Lee).

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption London has a water waste rate of 25%

According to the Greater London Authority, the city is pushing close to capacity and is likely to have supply problems by 2025 and "serious shortages" by 2040.

It looks likely that hosepipe bans could become more common in the future.

10. Tokyo

The Japanese capital enjoys precipitation levels similar to that of Seattle on the US west coast, which has a reputation for rain. Rainfall, however, is concentrated during just four months of the year.

That water needs to be collected, as a drier-than-expected rainy season could lead to a drought. At least 750 private and public buildings in Tokyo have rainwater collection and utilisation systems.

Home to more than 30 million people, Tokyo has a water system that depends 70% on surface water (rivers, lakes, and melted snow).

Recent investment in the pipeline infrastructure aims also to reduce waste by leakage to only 3% in the near future.

11. Miami

The US state of Florida is among the five US states most hit by rain every year. However, there is a crisis brewing in its most famous city, Miami.

An early 20th Century project to drain nearby swamps had an unforeseen result; water from the Atlantic Ocean contaminated the Biscayne Aquifer, the city's main source of fresh water.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Contamination by seawater threatens Miami's water supplies

Although the problem was detected in the 1930s, seawater still leaks in, especially because the American city has experienced faster rates of sea level rise, with water breaching underground defence barriers installed in recent decades.

Neighbouring cities are already struggling. Hallandale Beach, which is just a few miles north of Miami, had to close six of its eight wells due to saltwater intrusion.

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🚱 As water shortages grow, ‘Day Zero’ becomes everyday in India
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 12:12:13 PM »
Looks like Cape Town dodged the bullet for this year.  India not doing so good.

RE

http://www.eco-business.com/news/as-water-shortages-grow-day-zero-becomes-everyday-in-india/

As water shortages grow, ‘Day Zero’ becomes everyday in India
An expanding population, growing demand for water from agriculture and industry, and poor management of water supplies have sent India’s groundwater to ever lower levels.


Nearly 163 million people among India's population of 1.3 billion lack access to clean water close to their home, according to a 2018 WaterAid report. Image: Balaram Mahalder,CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday 27 April 2018

Parched Cape Town, in South Africa, has managed to push back its “Day Zero” - an estimate of when taps in the city could run dry - to 2019 after successful water-saving efforts.

But in India, “Day Zero” has come and gone for residents in many parts of the country, where taps failed long ago and people have turned instead to digging wells or buying water.
Water
Thirsty South Asia's river rifts threaten "water wars"
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An expanding population, growing demand for water from agriculture and industry, and poor management of water supplies have sent India’s groundwater to ever lower levels.

That reality, combined with rising temperatures, threatens worsening scarcity, experts say.

Nearly 163 million people among India’s population of 1.3 billion - or more than one in 10 - lack access to clean water close to their home, according to a 2018 WaterAid report.

That is the most of any country in the world, according to the UK-based charity, which aims to provide clean water and better hygeiene to people without them.

Disputes with neighbours over the sharing of water from rivers that cross national boundaries also means tensions are rising as water shortages grow, said Michael Kugelman, a deputy director and South Asia expert at the Wilson Center, a policy think tank in Washington D.C.

“Countries that get along the least are forced to share and cooperate over water resources, and many major rivers originate in, or pass through, politically contested and tense areas,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“So you have population growth, intensifying climate-change impacts, poor water management and geopolitical tensions. It’s a perfect storm for greater water insecurity,” he said.

India is entangled in water disputes with its eastern and western neighbours - Bangladesh and Pakistan - which accuse it of monopolising water flows moving downstream toward them.

To the north and northeast, however, India fears a loss of water to upstream China, which plans a series of dams over the Tsangpo river, called the Brahmaputra as it flows into eastern India.

    So you have population growth, intensifying climate-change impacts, poor water management and geopolitical tensions. It’s a perfect storm for greater water insecurity.

    Michael Kugelman, deputy director and South Asia expert, Wilson Center

Water losses

While India’s trans-boundary rivers are governed by treaties on how water should be shared, disputes are increasing as water shortages stoke tensions.

Apart from in Bhutan and Nepal, South Asia’s per capita water availability is already below the world average. The region could face widespread water scarcity - less than 1,000 cubic metres available per person - by 2025, Kugelman said.
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Almost 600 million people in India are at high risk of being unable to continue relying on surface water - including in the country’s northwest and south, where much of the country’s staple wheat and rice are grown, according to the World Resources Institute.

Water supply in India may fall 50 percent below demand by 2030, the Asian Development Bank has forecast.

“Large parts of India have already been living with ‘Day Zero’ for a while now,” said Mridula Ramesh, author of an upcoming book on climate change.

“Much of it is because of bad management. Most cities lose between a third and a fifth of their water from pilferage or leakage through antiquated pipes, and we don’t treat and reuse wastewater enough,” she said.

Bengaluru, Karachi and Kabul are among the 10 cities in the world that are “on the verge of an imminent water crisis”, according to a report last month by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a research and advocacy group based in New Delhi.

Bengaluru, once known as the “city of lakes”, now relies heavily on groundwater, which is not being naturally replenished and cannot sustain the growing population, said Sushmita Sengupta at CSE.

“‘Day Zeros’ are inevitable unless cities push for judicious use of water - including rainwater harvesting and reuse of waste water, as well as more efficient irrigation, and regulation of tubewells,” she said.
Migration?

India is one of the largest consumers of groundwater in the world, with worsening shortages attributed in part to subsidies that help farmers run electric irrigation pumps cheaply for longer than needed, and to a lack of limits on extracting water or digging wells.

Some states are taking steps to manage water better. Karnataka and Maharashtra require industries to use treated urban wastewater, with Gujarat and other states also planning similar measures.

But regulating water use is a politically sensitive issue - one few policymakers are keen to address, Kugelman said. That’s the case even as thousands of farmers migratw out of parched rural areas or commit suicide as their crops wilt, he said. .

Water scarcity is expected to force 50 to 70 million people in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and China from their homes by 2050, according to research by the Strategic Foresight Group in Mumbai.

“With greater migration to the cities, there will be increased social disruptions and greater stress on water resources in urban areas,” Kugelman predicted.

“These will, in turn, increase tensions between states and countries over water. Even treaties can’t help then.”
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