Jan 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Drought-stricken Cape Town
could run out of water as soon as April, but South Africa is not
alone in its struggle as ever more world cities battle acute water
scarcity already affects more than 40 percent of the world's
population and is expected to rise due to global warming, with one in
four people projected to face chronic or recurring shortages by 2050,
according to the United Nations.
hosting more than half the world's people, cities are at the
forefront of the problem, as population growth increases pressure on
reserves, which are already stretched by too little rain and too much
are some of the crisis cities:
reservoir supplying Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and a
metropolitan region of 20 million people, nearly dried up in 2015, as
the country faced its worst drought in 80 years, depriving many
residents of water for 12 hours a day.
city was criticised by U.N. experts for losing 31 percent of its
treated water to leaks and theft, compared to an average of 16
percent in the United States.
in the Peruvian capital is almost non-existent, with average annual
precipitation of 7 millimetres.
is expected to become scarcer still as global warming thaws Andean
glaciers, reducing flows as the ice disappears.
city has been working to improve watersheds in the Andes mountains,
while residents in hillside shantytowns overlooking the city have
been using nets to condense thick fog from the Pacific Ocean into
the capital city of Jordan, has no nearby source of water and
regularly experiences drought, while its lower-lying parts are
inundated when it rains heavily.
city recycles the vast majority of its waste water and uses it for
irrigation but a refugee influx from neighbouring Syria has put
additional pressure on reserves countrywide.
government is moving ahead with new pipelines for groundwater and
projects to desalinate water from the Red Sea.
the heavy downpours that come each rainy season, Mexico City, a
mega-city of 21.3 million people, depends on depleting aquifers and
has long struggled with providing enough water to its inhabitants.
on what was once a lake, it is also prone to flooding.
over-pumped local supplies so much that land is sinking, the city is
working to redesign its water system, which sources a third of its
supplies from nearby river basins and valleys.
Australian city suffered the so-called 'Millennium drought' between
1997 and 2009. It was one of the worst dry spells on record,
affecting other major cities such as Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.
has since slashed per capita water use by half and installed
desalination and recycling plants.
planned to support about 1 million people, the Afghan capital is now
home to more than 4.6 million, according to U.S. government
unseasonably dry winters, along with the sprawling population, have
strained supplies. Those who can afford to, have dug unregulated
wells to tap a falling water table.
United Nations, Reuters, Thomson Reuters Foundation.