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Cape Town’s drought is so bad that its 4 million residents will have no water by April

Cape Town, South Africa is headed towards humanitarian crisis as the city is set to run out of running water by mid-April.

Business Insider reported on the oncoming “Day Zero”:

“After three years of persistent drought, the government is warning that “Day Zero” — when it will be forced to turn off most faucets — will be April 16. That’s when reservoirs and water sources are forecast to hit 13.5% capacity, at which point the city is expected to move most residents to a strict water-rationing system.”

With a population of 4 million people, Cape Town officials are struggling to find solutions as massive drought dries up the city’s water reservoirs.

Business Insider looked at the situation:

“As Cape Town’s reservoirs of fresh water get dangerously close to dry, locals are beginning to store water in jugs and fill up at spring-fed taps set up by local breweries. Those who can afford it are boring mini backyard wells to collect private water stashes, and some hotels are investing in pricey desalination plants to make ocean water drinkable.”

One of the more worrying aspects of the drought and subsequent water shortage is that forecasting models that would previously prove accurate are basically useless with climate change throwing off any meteorological predictions. Forecasters can no longer predict whether rain will come or not.

South African publication Daily Maverick reported on the uselessness of the models:

“On Friday, the SA Weather service told us bluntly: We cannot predict whether or when rain will come. Previous forecasting models have proved useless in the era of climate change.”

As the threat of Day Zero looms for Cape Town, officials are urging citizens to save water at home. The Government has distributed materials to encourage water preservation.

This is a pretty apocalyptic situation for Cape Town, a modern, cosmopolitan city. But this isn’t a one-off, the World Wildlife Fund forecasts that by 2025, two-thirds of the planet will be dealing with similar water shortage issues to Cape Town.

Sometimes the effects of climate change aren’t tangible enough for us to understand or see. We don’t watch the polar ice caps melting in realtime, but this is a very real and terrifying example of how climate change effects our planet.

There’s still time for Cape Town to figure out their water issue before Day Zero, but this kind of situation may become more and more common in the coming years.