Ever taken a 90-second shower or only flushed the toilet once in a day? These extreme conservation habits have been the norm for Capetonians since February of 2018 when the City of Cape Town enforced Level 6B restrictions on water. These restrictions allott only 50 liters of water (13.5 gal) per person per day–the average New Yorker uses over 250L daily 😱 Cape Town has been monitoring dam levels for decades, but with the effects of climate change, recent years have shown symptoms of drought. In January of 2018, Day Zero models were announced. According to Cape Town’s government, “The Day Zero calculation is based on conservative assumptions of consumption beyond the City’s control, including releases to agriculture, urban demand, evaporation and rainfall.” The Day Zero date changes as any of those variables do and residents keep a close eye on the countdown. When Day Zero comes, household taps would run dry and residents would have to queue for their allotment of 25L per day.
Because of these intense restrictions over the past few years, combined with the recent boon of rainfall, Cape Town is now starting to see a positive change in their water levels, though it is minimal. As of September 3rd, dam levels are finally out of the danger zone at 65.9% capacity. Though the level is only 0.9% above the danger zone, this is a radical improvement given the dire situation at the beginning of this year. Could you live with only 50L a day? Let us know how you track your water footprint in the comments below 💧