Water Use in the U.S. vs. Cape Town

If you take a five-minute shower and flush your toilet once, you’ve already used more than the daily allotment of water for Cape Town, South Africa, residents!

Cape Town approaches “Day Zero,” - the day that the city is expected to run out of water. Adrought triggered by El Niño-two years ago hit agricultural production throughout South Africa. Cape Town was hit particularly hard, and the lack of reconstructive rains following the incident has made the shortage even worse. In order to push the date far strict regulations have been implemented to extend the life of the available water supply. Residents were limited to 23 gallons per person per day, and later to 13 gallons, pushing “Day Zero” back from June 4 to July 9. The amazing efforts in water restrictions finally resulted in pushing the date back a full year, to 2019.

This is a great example of where good practices and benevolence can profit the greater good.

When it comes to water consumption, here are 2 simple rules:

  • Don't buy bottled water! Bottled water is the single most polluting plastic found in the oceans. Drink tap water, and filter it. A simple and affordable carbon filter like TAPP will save you hundreds of dollars on bottled water while avoiding hundreds of plastic bottles per year. TAPP uses biodegradable refills which can be disposed of with organic waste.
  • Don't use too much tap water! In order to put the current crisis in perspective for Americans, the George Washington University created the following graphic to compare the average amounts of household water use in the U.S. to the current daily restrictions for Capetonians. (Read their full post here).
Water Use in the U.S. vs. Cape Town
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