Unless something miraculous happens, the city of Cape Town, an iconic international tourism destination and South Africa’s second economic hub, will run out of drinking water in about 10 weeks time. The situation is dire. Cape Town’s more than 4 million residents have been told to cut their daily limits from 87 liters (23 gallons) to 50 liters per person (13.2 gallons.) That’s the equivalent of a six-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead in a city where they already line up with containers at outdoor springs, leave toilets unflushed — and where the province’s top local politician calls unwashed hair a status symbol.Should the water stop, Cape Town — ironically first settled permanently by the Dutch in 1652 because it was considered climatically ideal for a supply station to underpin the Southeast Asian trade of their fleet — will become the world’s first major city in which the taps literally run dry. There is no precedent to draw upon, but it is clear that this would have an eno...

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