Are “Day Zeroes” becoming a thing of the climate crisis?
by Maya Comely
What's Going On Here?
Experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI) have warned that extreme water stress could increase the number of “day zeroes”: the day in which a city’s water supplies quite literally run dry.
What Does This Mean?
The report released by the WRI this week ranked the world’s countries from least to most water-stressed, with 17 countries (that’s nearly 1.8 billion people, or one quarter of the world’s population) facing extremely high water stress.
In those ranked as extremely water stressed (check out the WRI’s map based tool), it was found that up to 80% of available surface and groundwater was being used in an average year. Using 13 indicators for the rankings, the authors concluded that we have yet another global crisis on our hands. Sick of the word crisis yet? The report also notes that we have the solutions to fight it, we just need to implement them before we suck our ‘blue planet’ dry - so not all doom and gloom!
Why Should We Care?
The simple answer - water is life, and without it we’re pretty much pooped. But there’s so much more to say on this. The world is becoming increasingly water stressed as populations continue to grow and other environmental challenges such as global warming and pollution continue to worsen. Plus, global water stress poses serious threats to human lives and livelihoods.
Last year, Cape Town in South Africa 🇿🇦 was in the midst of an extreme water crisis, with the term “Day Zero” being coined to mark the day in which taps across the city would run dry. It was chaotic. With people waiting hours at water distribution points and protests kicking off across the city.
Fortunately, Cape Town just about avoided their “DayZero” and they seem to be back on track - for now. Yet last month in India’s sixth-largest city, Chennai, reservoirs nearly ran dry and authorities were forced to rely on water transported by train! Not ideal.
While in Cape Town last year I was very impressed with the easy (and so obvious!) measures for saving water at home. I must say taking bucket showers and using the collected water as toilet flusher took some getting used to, but it makes total sense!
Ok maybe we’re not at that stage yet but make a start with the most obvious;
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