World

Cape Town's water crisis

Updated 4:20 PM ET, Thu February 1, 2018
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Dead trees jut out from Theewaterskloof Dam, about 54 miles from the center of Cape Town on January 26. Low rainfall two rainy seasons, combined with other factors, means that the Western Cape Province is in the grips of the worst drought in a century. Dams in this area are 30% full. Rodger Bosch for CNN
Women talk before collecting drinking water from pipes fed by an underground spring, in St. James, outside central Cape Town. April 16 has been dubbed "Day Zero," when water taps are expected to run dry. Rodger Bosch for CNN
This has been a slow-motion crisis, made bad by the drought, a fast-growing population and a rapidly changing climate. Rodger Bosch for CNN
Even with the predicament they find themselves in, residents haven't dropped their water use significantly, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said. Here, the scene in St. James. Rodger Bosch for CNN
The city has lowered the water pressure in its mains to help stretch the water supply. Residents are now being asked to curb the amount of municipal water they use each day to just 50 liters (a little over 13 gallons). Rodger Bosch for CNN
A bridge spans a portion of Theewaterskloof Dam. The city is now working to upgrade its water systems -- rushing to build desalination, aquifer and water-recycling projects -- and help stretch the current supply, Rodger Bosch for CNN
Workers set up a desalination unit on Strandfontein Beach. Rodger Bosch for CNN
Residents are recycling bath water to help flush toilets. They're being told to limit showers to 90 seconds. And hand sanitizer, once somewhat of an afterthought, is now a big seller. Rodger Bosch for CNN
"It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care and are sending all of us headlong towards Day Zero," a statement from the mayor's office said. "We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water. We must force them." Rodger Bosch for CNN