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.
This has been a slow-motion crisis, made bad by the drought, a fast-growing population and a rapidly changing climate.
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.
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).
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,
Workers set up a desalination unit on Strandfontein Beach.
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.
"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."