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What does Cape Town’s water crisis mean?

After three years of droughts, less winter rainfall, and hotter temperatures (due to climate change), Cape Town, the beautiful port city of South Africa, is quickly running out of water. With emergency conservation plans in place for its four million residents, people are restricted to 13 gallons of water daily—enough for a 90-second shower, one toilet flush, one bottle of drinking water and weekly laundry. This crisis has also forced Cape Town to erect water treatment and desalination plants, but how safe is Cape Town’s remaining water?

The new desalination plants, which remove salt from Cape Town’s surrounding oceans to provide potable water, are under observation. Studies last year found that the water samples from Cape Town’s Granger Bay, the water going into the desalination plants, contained high levels of microbial pollution, as well as traces of pharmaceutical drugs and household chemicals. Moving forward, Cape Town will need to address the safety of their water, as residents will likely need to rely on desalination plants in the future.

The WWF (World Wide Fund), a conservation organization, has issued an alert to Capetonians about their tap water quality as well. As water in the city’s dams is running down, residents may find the overall quality of their tap water decreasing. The cause? Particles in the dams that concentrate and settle at the bottom are flowing into the city’s water system.

This water-stressed city depicts a cautionary tale of conservation, leading us to question how we will move into the future. With the growing scarcity of drinking water and the introduction of alternative water sources a countertop water filter, like Coway Aquamega, can help make sure your water is safe now and in the days to come.