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Climate Change

Published on January 22nd, 2018 | by Steve Hanley

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Cape Town May Be First World City To Run Out Of Water Due To Climate Change

January 22nd, 2018 by  


Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million, is facing an existential challenge. It is about to run out of fresh water. Anthony Turton, a professor at the Center for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State in South Africa, tells the New York Times, “It’s not an impending crisis — we’re deep, deep, deep in crisis,” and climate change is the reason.

According to Quartz, unless city residents adopt widespread rationing to limit themselves to using no more than 87 liters of water a day — enough to take an 8 minute shower using a low flow shower head — the water supply will be exhausted by April 22. 87 liters leaves no water left over for cooking, washing, or flushing. The city will have to shut down the water supply by that date unless it rains before then. That would make Cape Town the first major city in the world to run out of water for its residents.climate change and water shortage

The drought affecting Cape Town has been dragging on for several years and there is no immediate end in sight. The city’s drinking water infrastructure is simply not built to cope with such dry conditions. Professors at the University of Cape Town tell Quartz the drought is “once in a millennium,” but it is being exacerbated by the effects of climate changes that are affecting the western shore of South Africa.

Those changing climate conditions appear to be part of a trend in the area, which promise fewer wet years and more dry years in coming years. That’s the opinion of Piotr Wolski, a hydrologist with the Climate Systems Analysis Group.

Scientists have been warning for years that changes in climate conditions could very well make some places wetter and others drier. That warning is beginning to play out now in Cape Town. Water is essential for any city to survive. Without it, residents will migrate to other locations in search of water. Those migrations will put pressure on other countries who are dealing with climate issues of their own.

As we have seen in the US recently, migrants will be a lot less welcome in the future than they have been in the past. It will be interesting to see what happens when Americans become inconvenienced by climate change and expect other countries to help them find relief. Payback is a bitch, which is something the xenophobic, sociopathic #FakePresident is simply incapable of understanding.


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may take him. His muse is Charles Kuralt -- "I see the road ahead is turning. I wonder what's around the bend?" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.



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