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Kids in Langa Township, Cape Town.
Anouk Pilon/Flickr
Water & Sanitation

The People of Cape Town May Have Just Saved Their City From a Huge Crisis

Cape Town, South Africa, may not become the first city in the world to run out of water and reach the dreaded “Day Zero” moment that had been feared for months, according to the Independent.

Because of effective water rationing and the approaching rainy season, the government believes that the water crisis can be averted, the BBC reports.

“The city now projects that, if there was to be no rainfall, Day Zero would arrive on 27 August 2018,” said Ian Neilson, the executive deputy mayor.

Take Action: Call on World Leaders to Prioritize Sanitation and Hygiene

“As this date falls deep within the normal rainfall period, it is no longer appropriate to project the date without any consideration of rainfall,” he said. “Thus, provided we continue our current water savings efforts, Day Zero can be avoided completely this year.”

Earlier in the year, Cape Town’s dams had fallen below 30% capacity, and city officials believed it was only a matter of time before they reached a critically low level and taps throughout the city would be shut off.

Dams are currently at 23.5% capacity, and 13.5% is the Day Zero threshold, the Independent reports.

If Day Zero had arrived, individual residents would have had to line up at 200 community taps scattered throughout the city to receive a 25-liter daily water limit, which is around 6.5 gallons.

But calls to drastically reduce water consumption have been effective, the BBC reports, and the city’s daily water consumption fell to 523 million liters, half of what it was four years ago.

Read More: Photos of Cape Town in Crisis As the City’s Water Runs Out

If the rainy season fails to deliver enough water, Day Zero may still arrive, but it seems likely that the scenario will be pushed into 2018 or beyond, the Independent reports.

Residents are still required to ration their water because Cape Town’s crisis is still acute and it reflects growing water uncertainty around the world.

Roughly 2 billion people don't have reliable sources of clean drinking water and one child every minute dies from preventable waterborne diarrheal disease.

By 2050, demand for fresh water is expected to grow by more than 40% and around a quarter of the world’s population will live in places where water resources are endangered, according to the United Nations.

Read More: Cape Town Isn’t South Africa's Only City With Water Problems

For those living in poverty in Cape Town, the deprivations of Day Zero — little water for drinking, showering, cooking, and cleaning — arrived long ago.

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