The people of Cape Town, South Africa are currently preparing for what many are now calling “Day Zero,” which the government warns could be the biggest tragedy to ever happen in a major city since World War II or the attacks on the World Trade Centers. But the threat that Cape Town currently faces has nothing to do with terrorism or violence of any kind; rather, it has to do with the city’s water supply, which is dangerously close to running dry.
Water levels are decreasing at a rapid rate, and if this trend continues, then the city of Cape Town is prepared to declare Day Zero in less than three months. If this happens, then the taps inside of homes and businesses will be shut off, forcing millions of the city’s residents to wait in long lines for water rations. Looting and widespread chaos are inevitable, and city officials are already bracing for the impact that the situation will have on public health and social order.
“When Day Zero comes, they’ll have to call in the army,” said a man named Phaldie Ranqueste while he worked tirelessly to fill his S.U.V. with containers of water that he got from a natural spring. The fact that this is happening to Cape Town may come as a surprise to some, considering the fact that the city is known for its environmentally-friendly policies. The region of South Africa is growing dryer and dryer with each passing year, so careful water management is a must for Cape Town. Unfortunately, it seems as though these environmental policies weren’t enough.
While hospitals, schools and other important institutions will still have access to water even if Day Zero is declared, political leaders understand how dire of a situation this is and are currently doing everything they possibly can to look for solutions. The development of desalination plants is being rushed, and city officials have ordered an increase in groundwater production.
But as the water supply continues to diminish and demand steadily rises, so too will the amount that residents will pay. In February, for instance, the people of Cape Town will face harsher fines if they go over their new daily water limit, which will go down from 87 liters per day to just 50 liters, or 13.2 gallons.
While all of this is happening outside of the continental United States, the chances that a similar situation could one day occur in one of America’s large cities are very real. As such, it’s important to know how to properly prepare for a shortage in the water supply, and ensure that you won’t be left without this vital resource in the middle of a survival scenario.
As Survivalist101.com puts it, “water storage is very possibly the most critical element in any survival scenario. Don’t count on being able to go to your sink and pour a glass of water. You will need water for hydration, cooking, and sanitation, so plan accordingly,” adding that you should “allow a gallon of drinking water per person per day.” (Related: Do you have a safe source of water for a SHTF scenario? Here are the top five water purification mistakes.)
Regarding water storage and sanitation, the Survivalist 101 writes, “In the event of an emergency, water filled soda bottles, juice jugs or whatever else you can find that will keep water for a long period of time will work great for sanitary needs.” (Related: Here’s how to disinfect water in a survival situation.)
Following this simple advice could mean the difference between life and death should you ever find yourself in a scenario like the one Cape Town will likely find itself in sometime within the next few months. We wish the people of South Africa all the best during this difficult time.