The danger of Cape Town running out of water is severe enough, but our disrespect for water is far wider.
According to a recent BBC News story:
• 1 in 4 of the world’s 500 biggest cities face water stress.
• 1 billion people have inadequate access to water.
• 2.7 billion people face shortages for at least 1 month a year.
• Fresh water demand will exceed global supply by 40% as early as 2030.
The 12 major cities most at risk were reported as Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Bangalore, Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta, Moscow, Istanbul, Mexico City, London, Tokyo and Miami. So no region escapes.
Nor is the Cape Town situation unique. Sao Paulo’s main reservoir dropped to less than 4% of capacity in 2015. Istanbul’s fell below 30% in 2014. Moreover:
• Bangalore loses over 50% of its drinking water through leakage.
• 40% of Beijing’s surface water is unfit even for agriculture or industry.
• 40% of Jakarta is below sea level because of illegal wells.
• London anticipates serious shortages by 2040.
There is certainly enough water. We just don’t use it wisely.