One of the world’s largest cities could run out of water by May 11, and residents already are restricted to 13 gallons of water per day.
The city – Cape Town, South Africa – also is suffering a shortage of bottled water.
“We can no longer ask people to stop wasting water,” the Cape Town mayor’s office announced. “We must force them.”
The 4 million residents of the second largest city in South Africa will run out of water on May 11, the mayor says.
The mayor’s office dubbed May 11 “Day Zero” in an effort to convince people of the urgency. On Zero Day, the city government will simply turn off the water, and leave it off until the water supply is replenished.
Day Zero has arrived early for some of Cape Town’s residents, CNN reported.
“We got no update about not having water at all,” resident Uyanda Precious Purple Mchunu complained. “I woke up at 5 a.m. to shower and (not a) drop came out. I am very upset about the situation.”
Mchunu and her neighbors cannot even store water for future emergencies.
Residents Rushing Supermarkets
“We can’t flush the toilet and (we’re) running out of water to drink,” Mchunu revealed. “Buying water is very expensive, I must say.”
Residents are lining up at springs and wells to stockpile water, CNN reported. Mobs of frightened residents are besieging supermarkets to find and stock up on bottled water.
“People were already rushing in and out of the shop to buy water,” resident Adele van der Spuy told CNN. “Some actually went in several times as we were only allowed to buy five boxes at a time.”
Cape Town’s lack of water was caused by a combination of drought and poor planning.
The government has a contingency plan for Zero Day. It will set up distribution points, likely run by the military, and hand out 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water to every resident.
Until then, Cape Town residents will be praying for rain to refill the city’s reservoirs.
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