Cape Town is About to Run Out of Water - Where's Next? - Billi UK


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Cape Town is About to Run Out of Water – Where’s Next?

Cities Most Likely to Run Out of Drinking Water

With the shocking news breaking that Cape Town is about to be the first city in the world to run out of drinking water, where’s next? We don’t often think about modern cities running out of water. However, Cape Town, South Africa, is about to.

After a three year drought, water scarcity has become a very real problem in Cape Town. Words like “critical” and “severe” are being used when speaking about the drought. It’s hard to avoid the conversation about water. That’s because Day Zero is coming – the date on which the municipal taps get switched off. Cape Town’s four million inhabitants will have to begin lining up for their daily twenty-five-litre rations.

Twenty-five litres per person is not enough to keep a household clean and safe in the long term. Jo Barnes, an epidemiologist and lecturer at Stellenbosch University said. “Most people bring up the scenario of dying of thirst,”. “It’s not going to happen. What’s going to happen is that the population is going to get very ill, a lot of them.”

So, where in the world could be next? Here are the top 5 suggested cities that are most likely to run out of water.

Sao Paulo

In 2015, the main reservoir in Sao Paulo suffered a similar situation to the one Cape Town now faces. The reservoir fell below 4% capacity, and police had to escort water trucks to prevent looting. When the 2015 crisis was at it’s worst, the city only had around 20 days of water left for a city of over 21.7 million inhabitants.

It is thought that a drought caused the problem, but there was also a suggestion from the UN of a lack of proper planning and investments. Though the crisis “finished” in 2016, water supplies for January 2017 were 15% the expected amount for the period. Once again, the future of the city’s drinking water supply is unknown.


China is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. However, this hasn’t stopped them from suffering a water shortage. Water scarcity as determined by the World Bank is when people in a certain location have less than 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water per person a year. In 2014, each of the more than 20 million inhabitants of Beijing had only 145 cubic metres.

Though China is home to 20% of the world’s population, it only 7% of the world’s fresh water. Unfortunately, China has a pollution problem. Nearly half of Bejing’s water is so polluted it cannot even be used for agriculture.


You may not think of London when you think of water shortages. In the UK’s capital, the city has a lot of rainfall. Most of London’s water is drawn from the Thames and the Lea. But it’s not the water supplies that are causing the problems, it’s the number of people there. London is close to pushing capacity, and will likely have supply problems by 2025. “Serious shortages” will occur by 2040 if overpopulation doesn’t cease.

Water is something many take for granted, but here at Billi, we understand how precious it is. That’s why we encourage people to install our systems. They use less water than traditional water systems as there’s no risk of over-boiling or running the tap until the water is cool. Our systems also use less carbon, and less energy than traditional water systems too. This means we’re environmentally one of the most conscious choices you can make. For more information on how to switch to a Billi system, contact our sales team.