Planet Earth, with its majestic diversity and incredible power to surprise us, has been showing for years that we could face a global crisis for access to water.
According to the United Nations, 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without. Also, at least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated.
Without further action to protect valuable water resources, these data and recent cases of drought in major cities may threaten water crises around the globe in the future.
Cape Town: Will it be the first of many?
Cape Town, a cosmopolitan city of 3.7 million people on the west coast of South Africa, is about to run out of water.
Weeks ago, local authorities were predicting that “Day Zero” in Cape Town was going to arrive in late April, and that people will have to start procuring water from one of the 200 collection points throughout the city.
Now, afterthree postponements, the city calculates that it will reach that crisis point on July 9.
At that point, the remaining water will go to hospitals and certain settlements that depend on communal faucets. Most people in the city will run out of tap water for drinking, bathing or other uses.
In this way, Cape Town could be just the first of many other cities that could have no access to clean water.
However, the fact that the residents of the area have taken the necessary precautions to conserve the water could represent good news for Cape Town.
The winter season begins on June 21, and according to AccuWeather Meteorologist James Andrews, some precipitation could be expected at this time.
"The climate of Cape Town has parallels to that of Northern California’s Bay Area. Both are Mediterranean climates, marked by dry summers and relatively rainy winters," said Andrews.
Still, the problem appears to be more related to the demand of water in the area rather than the lack of significant precipitation in the Cape Town area.
"According to AccuWeather data, 2017 had 82 percent of normal rainfall (13.82 inches to be exact). This is, if accurate, a relatively small shortfall for a dry climate such as the Cape region. It could be that this is not representative of overall regional rainfall. Also, it could be that demand is more of a factor than the shortfall resulting from dearth of rainfall," Andrews added.
Although drought is but one of the many challenges facing the planet, it is necessary to highlight it within this context of major challenges because it will surely cause humanity to face great transformations and struggles for survival.