Without rain, South Africa's Cape Town may run out of water by April

Source(s)
Thomson Reuters

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN - South Africa's Cape Town, one of the world's iconic tourist destinations, could run out of water by April as the city's worst drought in a century risks forcing residents to join queues for emergency rations.

"Day Zero" - the date taps are due to run dry - has crept forward to April 22 as city authorities race to build desalination plants and drill underground boreholes.

Almost 2 million tourists flock to Cape Town every year to bathe on sandy white beaches, explore natural features like Table Mountain or to sip wine in dozens of nearby vineyards.

Travel and tourism accounted for an estimated 9 percent or 412 billion rand ($33 billion) of South Africa's economic output last year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

"At the current rate the city is likely to reach Day Zero on 22 April," said councilor Xanthea Limberg, Cape Town's mayoral committee member for water.

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