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The agony and the urgency of water

As one of the fastest urbanising countries in the world, Indian cities need to respond to symptoms of acute water crisis and fix water mismanagement

Arunabha Ghosh

In May 2014, Cape Town’s major dams and reservoirs were at 72 per cent capacity. By May 2017, after three years of drought, levels were down to 21 per cent. By October only five months of water was left in storage. The city declared an impending “Day Zero” when water taps would be turned off and residents would have to go to public water distribution points. The declaration triggered panic — but also action. A series of water efficiency measures ensured that Cape Town’s total water demand fell from 600 million litres per day (mld) in mid-2017 to 507 mld by ...