South Africa Approaches Day Zero

Citizens of Cape Town, South Africa must limit how much water they use.

How much water do you use each day? Think about everything you do that involves water. Do you have a number in mind? Can you believe the average American uses from eighty to one hundred gallons of water a day? Well, the residents of Cape Town, South Africa use much less than that.

Cape Town is running out of water, and “Day Zero” is the day that they are completely out. Right now, it seems that Day Zero will arrive this June. So, Cape Town is limiting how much water people can use. People are only given less than seven gallons a day. They will have to use those few gallons for all their water needs. Special places like hospitals and schools will be allowed to use more water than that.

It has been very hot and dry in South Africa for the past few years. This has caused them some problems. Without water, it is hard to grow food. South Africans need this food to eat, but they also need it to sell to make money. Now, they have to buy food from other countries.

South Africa saw this coming and tried to stop it. They worked hard to use their water responsibly. They installed better pipes to keep water from leaking. They asked their citizens to recycle water. They did so much work, they even won an award! Sadly, water is still in short supply. Businesses and local officials are still working hard to solve the problem.

Emergencies like Day Zero have people spreading the word about conservation. Every year near the end of March, the World Wide Fund for Nature hosts Earth Hour. During Earth Hour, people around the world turn off their lights to save energy. This is shows respect to the environment. This year’s Earth Hour is Saturday, March 24th, from 8:30-9:30. Earth Hour won’t stop Day Zero, but it is a way to show support for planet Earth.

What do you think? What can you do to conserve water and honor the environment?

Photo Credit: Kristin Palitza/dpa/Alamy Stock Photo