These Cities Are About to Run Out of Clean Drinking Water

Many of us take running water for granted, oblivious to the amounts we use each day. It isn’t until the power goes out and we run out of clean drinking water that we realize just how dependent we are on the stuff. However, recent events prove a water scarcity could become a reality for many U.S. cities.

It’s happened before. Hundreds of wells ran dry in East Porterville, near Bakersfield, California, in 2014. Trucks bussed bottled water to residents forcing them to go without running water until late 2016, when a neighboring town extended its water supply system.

Water-stressed cities are everywhere. As you’ll learn below, Cape Town, South Africa is on borrowed time when it comes to clean drinking water. But so are many cities. Here are just a few of the most populated cities at risk of water shortages in the near future.

1. Cape Town, South Africa

table mountain overlooking cape town, south africa

Cape Town could run out of water in a matter of months. | Saul Loeb/AFP/GettyImages

The “Mother City” is predicted to be the first major city to completely run out of clean water. All of Cape Town, South Africa’s homes and businesses will be cut off to running water with no room to flush toilets, shower, or wash dishes. Full just four years ago, six of its main water reservoirs now sit below 26% capacity. Authorities are preparing Cape Town residents for Day Zero come April or May 2018. So residents are currently under a water ration, limited to using just 13 gallons per person, per day.

While no U.S city faces a water shortage of this magnitude this soon, countless metropolises are at risk. And the timeline for when that may happen is too close for comfort. Taps are set to run dry all over the world, thanks to population booms, pollution disasters, and climate change. Here are 15 more bustling cities (many in the U.S.) at risk of water shortages. Is your city on the list?

Next: This city has faced wildfires and mudslides recently, too.

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