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By: Meenusa Pathmakanthan

The city of Cape Town has 148 days left before it faces the threat of no water. In
148 days, disaster will arise. Everyone in the city has been restricted to only 100L of
water per day. What is 100L of water?

With 100L of water, you can take a 5 minute shower, wash your face twice and
wash the toilet about 5 times. What did you not do? You didn’t brush your teeth, no
laundry, you didn’t drink any water, didn’t make tea, pasta or even water your plants.

Zero hour, that means a time of no water for the city of Cape Town is set on July
15 2018. The real threat of water scarcity is hitting millions of people worldwide. The
South African city’s 3.78 million citizens- rich and poor, young and old, men and women
– will be forced to line up with their cans at public outlets for their maximum 25 litres of
water per day.

But even as the world is letting out a collective sign for the city of Cape Town.
Let’s take a look at India. That is in, about 22 years there will be no available drinking
water. South Asia will face the brunt of the water crisis and India will be in the centre of
this water crisis.

Listen to today’s statistics: 163 million Indians have lack of access to safe
drinking water. 210 million have no access to improved sanitation. 21 percent of
communicable diseases are linked to unsafe water and 500 children under the age of
five die from diarrhoea each day in India.

Let’s go to China. The problem is that 80% of the water is in southern China. This
means eight northern provinces suffer from water scarcity. These 12 provinces account
for 38% of China’s agriculture, 46% of its industry, 50% of its power generation (coal
and nuclear use a lot of water), and 41% of its population. Former Premier Wen Jiabo
said that water shortages threatened “The very survival of the Chinese Nation.”

Every one of us here today must take water seriously by following some of these
rules. Rule #1: Every country should accept that there is a water crisis. Many of us as
well as, government officials have ignored this topic as a main issue – but that’s where
the issue lies. We assume just because we put the tap water and water pours out, we
will always have water.

There are many government who are intelligently making their citizens know how
dry their country really is. In Cape Town, there is an electronic billboard in the high-way,
indicating how much water the city had left. This technique was adopted by Australia. In
Melbourne, it experienced 29% level of water crisis, and Australia only did one thing.
They placed electronic billboards all over their highways. This gave each citizen a
responsibility to understand the urge of this matter. 1 out of 3 citizens, on their own,
installed a rain- water system in their houses. This leads to rule #2:

Every country should empower its citizens to save water. Taking a shower
consists of using a lot of water and so the residents of Melbourne were not ready to give
up their shower time to save water. So the government intelligently created small water
flow regulators that could be installed in any showerhead. 460, 000 shower heads
adopted this add on. And in 4 years, Melbourne was able to bring their water level to
50%. That’s impressive. Empowering businesses and residents to save money is
possible if the city makes it their top priority.

Rule #3: Saving water can come through surprising ways. Singapore is the 8 th
country that is facing scarcity of water because it has no natural water supply. 60% of its
water needs are imported. The island nation uses recycled water, desalinization, and
artificial reservoirs to meet the water demand. It hold back the ocean, offering flood
protection during storms. It stores fresh water from a massive catchment zone, helping
the city-state wean itself off water imports from Malaysia. It is a popular place to run,
bike, sail boats, and take wedding photos.

As a society we need to look at how water poor countries have been doing to
save water. And then all of us, who might be rich in water, should immediately follow
their steps. SO the next time there is a water bucket challenge or a water balloon fight,
take it as an opportunity to send a message. Use sand instead, it is equally as fun and

Thank you