It seems residents of the city are about to avert the worst water crisis in its history.

Since 2015, Cape Town, one of Africa’s leading tourists’ destinations has been battling with significant decrease in available water from its reserves. This historic drought has forced the municipal authority to restrict each person to using no more than 50 liters or 13.2 gallons a day.

Residents of Cape Town in South Africa have been forced to radically change their relationship with water in order to avert the infamous Day Zero – when all municipal taps in the city would be shut down.

A combination of public shaming and police enforcement among other measures, seem to have postponed what could have become a complete shut-down of all public water works by another year.

To make sure everyone stays on board, police officers patrol the streets watching for people watering their gardens with a hose or washing cars, or construction workers using city water to mix cement — all of which are offenses which could result in fines.

Cars go unwashed, toilets unflushed and gardens uncultivated.

The city’s website publishes a map showing a street by street and house by house measure of water usage.

A dark green dot means your household is well within the restrictions; light green means you’re getting closer to the limit. The city has also installed water-management devices on people’s homes to cut off those who go above the monthly limit.

These extraordinary efforts seem to have paid off. The city has reduced water consumption by more than half since 2015.

A recent report from World Resources Institute (WRI), an independent non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C indicate an impending water crisis in countries reliant on dams like Morocco, India and Iraq.

These countries and other cities around the world should draw useful lessons from the Cape Town experience.



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