On April 12, Cape Town, South Africa is on track to become the first major city in the world to run out of water—officials are calling it Day Zero. Cape Town has faced three consecutive years of extreme drought and is now less than three months from its taps and toilets running dry.
In order to slow water consumption, the city has instituted self-imposed caps on household water usage to 13 gallons per person, per day. These limits translate to shorter showers, recycled bathwater, fewer toilet flushes, infrequent usage of dishwashers and washing machines, and no garden watering or car washes. But the self-regulation isn’t really working—Day Zero recently had to be pushed up two weeks from late April because of the city’s daily water usage.