The 11 Cities Most Likely To Run Out Of Drinking Water

As of Sunday afternoon, the dreaded "day zero" - the day residents of the city of Cape Town, South Africa, will need to begin queuing for drinking water after supplies sink below the threshold of sustainability - was estimated to be Nov. 11, 2018.

The shortage is the result of South Africa's worst drought in 100 years...


And with city government efforts to secure alternative water supplies progressing slowly, Cape Town (pop. 440,000) is on track to become the first major world city to run out of water.


Hiring security forces to guard water supplies and forcing residents to ration their use must be unimaginably frustrating for the city's government. But during a press conference late last month, Patricia de Lille, Cape Town's mayor, expressed another secondary annoyance that, in some ways, is even more profoundly disturbing.


A disaster that was until recently only imaginable by writers of dystopian science fiction is playing out in front of our eyes: And what's worse: Nobody seems to care.

"We have reached the point of no return," Patricia de Lille, Cape Town’s mayor, warned this month. With anger in her voice she added: "It is quite unbelievable that a majority of people do not seem to care."

But they should - if only because they're city might be next:


As the BBC notes, over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world's 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of "water stress".

Here's a list of 11 other major cities where the taps may soon run dry, courtesy of the BBC.

Sao Paulo

Brazil's financial capital and one of the 10 most populated cities in the world went through a similar ordeal to Cape Town in 2015, when the main reservoir fell below 4% capacity.

At the height of the crisis, the city of over 21.7 million inhabitants had less than 20 days of water supply and police had to escort water trucks to stop looting.

It is thought a drought that affected south-eastern Brazil between 2014 and 2017 was to blame, but a UN mission to São Paulo was critical of the state authorities "lack of proper planning and investments".

The water crisis was deemed "finished" in 2016, but in January 2017 the main reserves were 15% below expected for the period - putting the city's future water supply once again in doubt.


Local officials in the southern Indian city have been bamboozled by the growth of new property developments following Bangalore's rise as a technological hub and are struggling to manage the city's water and sewage systems.

To make matters worse, the city's antiquated plumbing needs an urgent upheaval; a report by the national government found that the city loses over half of its drinking water to waste.

Like China, India struggles with water pollution and Bangalore is no different: an in-depth inventory of the city's lakes found that 85% had water that could only be used for irrigation and industrial cooling.

Not a single lake had suitable water for drinking or bathing.


The World Bank classifies water scarcity as when people in a determined location receive less than 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water per person.

In 2014, each of the more than 20 million inhabitants of Beijing had only 145 cubic metres.

China is home to almost 20% of the world's population but has only 7% of the world's fresh water.

A Columbia University study estimates that the country's reserves declined 13% between 2000 and 2009.

And there's also a pollution problem. Official figures from 2015 showed that 40% of Beijing's surface water was polluted to the point of not being useful even for agriculture or industrial use.

The Chinese authorities have tried to address the problem by creating massive water diversion projects. They have also introduced educational programmes, as well as price hikes for heavy business users.


Once crucial to the establishment of one of the world's greatest civilisations, the River Nile is struggling in modern times.

It is the source of 97% of Egypt's water but also the destination of increasing amounts of untreated agricultural, and residential waste.

World Health Organization figures show that Egypt ranks high among lower middle-income countries in terms of the number of deaths related to water pollution.

The UN estimates critical shortages in the country by 2025.


Like many coastal cities, the Indonesian capital faces the threat of rising sea levels.

But in Jakarta the problem has been made worse by direct human action. Because less than half of the city's 10 million residents have access to piped water, illegal digging of wells is rife. This practice is draining the underground aquifers, almost literally deflating them.

As a consequence, about 40% of Jakarta now lies below sea level, according to World Bank estimates.

To make things worse, aquifers are not being replenished despite heavy rain because the prevalence of concrete and asphalt means that open fields cannot absorb rainfall.


One-quarter of the world's fresh water reserves are in Russia, but the country is plagued by pollution problems caused by the industrial legacy of the Soviet era.

That is specifically worrying for Moscow, where the water supply is 70% dependent on surface water.

Official regulatory bodies admit that 35% to 60% of total drinking water reserves in Russia do not meet sanitary standards.


According to official Turkish government figures, the country is technically in a situation of a water stress, since the per capita supply fell below 1,700 cubic metres in 2016.

Local experts have warned that the situation could worsen to water scarcity by 2030.

In recent years, heavily populated areas like Istanbul (14 million inhabitants) have begun to experience shortages in the drier months.

The city's reservoir levels declined to less than 30 percent of capacity at the beginning of 2014.

Mexico City

Water shortages are nothing new for many of the 21 million inhabitants of the Mexican capital.

One in five get just a few hours from their taps a week and another 20% have running water for just part of the day.

The city imports as much as 40% of its water from distant sources but has no large-scale operation for recycling wastewater. Water losses because of problems in the pipe network are also estimated at 40%.


Of all the cities in the world, London is not the first that springs to mind when one thinks of water shortages.

The reality is very different. With an average annual rainfall of about 600mm (less than the Paris average and only about half that of New York), London draws 80% of its water from rivers (the Thames and Lea).

According to the Greater London Authority, the city is pushing close to capacity and is likely to have supply problems by 2025 and "serious shortages" by 2040.

It looks likely that hosepipe bans could become more common in the future.


The Japanese capital enjoys precipitation levels similar to that of Seattle on the US west coast, which has a reputation for rain. Rainfall, however, is concentrated during just four months of the year.

That water needs to be collected, as a drier-than-expected rainy season could lead to a drought. At least 750 private and public buildings in Tokyo have rainwater collection and utilisation systems.

Home to more than 30 million people, Tokyo has a water system that depends 70% on surface water (rivers, lakes, and melted snow).

Recent investment in the pipeline infrastructure aims also to reduce waste by leakage to only 3% in the near future.


The US state of Florida is among the five US states most hit by rain every year. However, there is a crisis brewing in its most famous city, Miami.

An early 20th Century project to drain nearby swamps had an unforeseen result; water from the Atlantic Ocean contaminated the Biscayne Aquifer, the city's main source of fresh water.

Although the problem was detected in the 1930s, seawater still leaks in, especially because the American city has experienced faster rates of sea level rise, with water breaching underground defence barriers installed in recent decades.

Neighbouring cities are already struggling. Hallandale Beach, which is just a few miles north of Miami, had to close six of its eight wells due to saltwater intrusion.

* * *

Once Day Zero arrives, Cape Town residents will be forced to assemble at daily collection points to acquire their daily ration of 25 liters of water. And as they gaze out over the beautiful blue waters of the South Atlantic, some of them will probably wonder: How did we ever let things get this bad?



Slack Jack Unreconstructe… Mon, 02/12/2018 - 04:45 Permalink

Like extro24 said on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 04:21

Hey, Day Zero is 11 May 2018. And the city has a population of 4.4 million, not 440 000.

Why don't you fix the damn article?


Record-Setting Hurricanes; Record temperatures; Record-Setting Wildfires; ya think it might be global warming?


So, why is the global rise in temperatures so worrisome?

For one thing, as temperatures rise good farmland will become desert (e.g., dust-bowl conditions will probably return to the American Midwest).

Another major problem is sea-level rise.

Have a look at

or a copy of that page at

The U.S. Geological Survey people claim that;

The Greenland ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 6.55 meters (21.5 feet),
the West Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 8.06 meters (26.4 feet),
the East Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 64.8 meters (212.6 feet),
and all other ice melting will raise sea-level 0.91 meters (3 feet).

For a grand total of about 80 meters (263 feet).

So, what does an 80 meter (263 feet) rise in sea-level mean. Have a look at the following map of the world after an 80 meter rise. It means that over one billion people will have to be resettled to higher ground and that much of the most productive agricultural land will be under water. Fortunately, at current rates, the Greenland ice sheet will take over a thousand years to melt and the Antarctica ice sheet, much longer. However, the greater the temperature rise the faster the ice sheets will melt, bringing the problem much closer. Remember, the huge ice sheet that recently covered much of North America, almost completely melted in only 15,000 years (today, only the Greenland ice sheet, and some other small patches of it, remain). Since then (15,000 years ago), sea-levels have risen about 125 meters (410 feet), only 80 meters to go.

The ice sheets have been continuously melting for thousands of years. What is left of them today, is still melting, and will continue to melt. Human caused global warning will cause this remnant to melt significantly faster. This is a big, big, problem.

For HUGE detailed maps of the "World after the Melt" go to:

Global temperatures are increasing. And by quite a lot each year.

2016 is the hottest year on record for global temperatures.

This is 0.0380 degrees centigrade hotter than the previous record year which was 2015.

0.0380 is a large increase in just one year.

2015 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.1601 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2014.

0.1601 is an absolutely huge increase in just one year (at this rate temperatures would increase by 16 degrees in a century).

2014 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.0402 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2010.

The conspiracy to hide global warming data.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is given tax money to make global temperature records available to the public. However, certain people at NOAA continually sabotage this aspect of NOAA's mandate. For example, these people have (deliberately) sabotaged the web-page that delivers the temperature records.

Look for yourself:

Go to the page: scroll down to the The Global Anomalies and Index Data section and click the download button and see what happens. Well, you get the message:

"Not Found. The requested URL /monitoring-references/faq/anomalies-download was not found on this server."

I guess that the 2017 data must be truly horrible if they have to hide it away.

In reply to by Unreconstructe…

Slack Jack Slack Jack Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:10 Permalink

Isn't there a Category 4 hurricane/cyclone wandering the Pacific Ocean as we speak?

"Tonga has declared a state of emergency as it prepares to be battered by a category 4-strength Tropical Cyclone Gita."

"Tropical Cyclone Gita is expected to head west for several days, hitting Tonga overnight and strengthening to a category 5 storm."

In reply to by Slack Jack

giovanni_f Nemontel Mon, 02/12/2018 - 06:47 Permalink

Munich, Germany: 3 redunant sources and a pipe and sewer system that was built 150 years ago when Bavaria was still a Monarchy, still works after the population has multiplied more than 20-fold


Sao Paulo: Fucked up beyond all repair.

Bangalore: Probably fucked up beyond all repair.

Beijing: They will eventually work it out.

Cairo: Fucked up beyond all repair.

Jakarta: They might eventually work it out.

Moscow: They will eventually work it out.

Istanbul: Fucked up as  long as ruled by goat fuckers, i.e. beyond all repair

Mexico City: Fucking up is government policy.

London: Fucked up in the context of the western decline

Tokyo: Fucked up but people are used to pay for household detox appliances. Will be fine once the Shogun takes matters in his hands

Miami: See  Mexico City


In reply to by Nemontel

Mustafa Kemal giovanni_f Mon, 02/12/2018 - 09:23 Permalink

Istanbul, I find this a little hard to believe. Out east near Artvin they are building huge, and I mean really HYUuuge  hydroelectric damns. The town of Yusufeli, a kayaking resort area, is expecting to be 800 feet under water within a couple of years.  Anyway, if you knew any Turks, you would surely know they arent goat fuckers. 

In reply to by giovanni_f

GeezerGeek giovanni_f Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

Politicians in Miami-Dade and Broward (just north of Miami-Dade) counties both have been talking about salt water intrusion for decades. And what have these true blue pols been doing? Inviting in more Dem-voters, encouraging development of once-rural areas, and sucking ever more water out of the ground. And, of course, lining the pockets of their developer-contributors. Somehow the environmental concerns often at the forefront of Progressive thought got totally neglected. The only saving factor is that they've expanded westward right up to the Everglades and can't go much farther without push-back by all the fauna.

As an indication of the growth, in late 1973 or early 1974 a transport plane, a Super-G Constellation, crash-landed at the intersection of Commercial Blvd. and University Drive, in the middle of Broward County. No one on the ground was hurt and nothing of significance was damaged except the plane. Now that same intersection is six+ lanes wide in both north-south and east-west directions, filled with traffic and shopping venues. Thinking about it - I saw the plane the next day - reminds me of that old commercial/PSA with the Indian tearing up while considering the "progress" he was seeing.


In reply to by giovanni_f

ATM Anon2017 Mon, 02/12/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

And the USA. I have a very successful friend who came here from S.A. He calls his homeland a shithole because of what it has become.

He is also the lightest African-American I have ever met, but he doesn't vote like one, or talk like one. Sort of a younger version of Gary Player.

In reply to by Anon2017

kellys_eye Nemontel Mon, 02/12/2018 - 13:41 Permalink

Slack Jack is actually 'on point' - albeit deluded on his reasoning..... Global Warming is but ONE of the tools being used to subjugate people into the NWO.

Control of ENERGY (via the pathetic AGW argument and resultant green energy methods) and...

Control of WATER (by limiting/refusing water storage schemes to cater for increasing population)...

Next will be...

Control of AIR (by exaggeration of particulate pollution, particularly the use of the PM2.5 and statistical manipulation to claim 100,000's deaths as a result).

The control of money is, of course, already sorted......

There should be no water shortages and no energy shortages if simple policies adapted to the inevitable increases in population were taken correctly into account.

These shortages are MANUFACTURED and we will all pay heavily for them.



In reply to by Nemontel

Dickweed Wang Slack Jack Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:54 Permalink

Hey slacker, here's a news flash for you. The Earth's climate is constantly changing and man's impact on it is negligible at best. Ever wonder why the vaunted IPCC "studies" on climate change SPECIFICALLY left out any impact on the Earth's climate other than those related to man's activities???  Follow the money and you'll get your answer.  Money is the key word there . . .

In reply to by Slack Jack Slack Jack Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:06 Permalink

Global Warming?  Dude.  That's so 1960's.

It's global climate change and it's been happening since the earth was formed.

Are modern humans making it worse?  Hell yes.  Modern humans are the dirtiest species to inhabit the planet.

What can we do about it?  Not much.  Climate change has become a political third rail.  Nature will take its course like it has always done.

My best guess is that there will be a mass extinction of the human population.  Other plants and animals will suffer a similar fate.

Welcome to my planet: The Roach Motel

Reset #9

In reply to by Slack Jack

Tarzan DownWithYogaPants Mon, 02/12/2018 - 06:38 Permalink

exactly, it's about monetizing everything. 

Growing up, water was always free.  There were drinking fountains everywhere and no such thing as buying bottled water.  That was before we were all convinced non bottled water was deadly and rare.

The sea levels are rising, but water is rare?  Is technology going backward?

People will believe anything these days. Go get your family life straws, and leave the fear porn for the unprepared sheepel.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants