As Day Zero looms and the South African city gets set to run out of water, experts say lessons learned during Melbourne’s brush with a similar fate may help avert a global crisis
In December 2017, Seona Candy drove through the vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley near Cape Town towards the banks of the Sonderend river. In the late 1970s, the waterway was dammed to create the biggest reservoir in South Africa’s Western Cape. Behind the thick walls of the Theewaterskloof dam lay the capacity to hold 480 million cubic metres of water, nearly half of Cape Town’s water supply.
“When I got there, it was mostly dust,” Candy says.
Residents will have to queue at standpipes for daily rations unless they drastically reduce consumption
Cape Town residents may lose piped water to their homes within two months if they do not act to counter the effects of the worst drought to hit South Africa’s second city in almost a century.
Local authorities have warned four million people that if they do not reduce consumption by “day zero” – 12 April – they will have to queue at 200 standpipes for daily rations of 25 litres (6.6 US gallons).
Uri Ariel works with rabbis to bring worshippers to Western Wall as country struggles with long-running water shortage
With technology coming up short, Israel’s agriculture minister sought an unconventional solution on Thursday to end the country’s water shortage: rallying a few thousand worshippers at Jerusalem’s Western Wall to pray for rain.
Related: Food ruined by drought could feed more than 80m a day, says World Bank