Looks like the California Department of Water Resources is hoping to learn from how Cape Town, South Africa is coping with their water shortage problem in the event that California also runs into the same problem, reports Breitbart.
The Western Cape region of South Africa was unprepared to handle three consecutive years of severe drought. Major dam levels have fallen from a 41.6 percent last year to 26.6 percent at year-end, according to VinPro. Despite the intensifying drought last year, almost 4 million tourists visited the South African Cape for its beaches, surfing, and wine.
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa. Founded by the Dutch East India Company on the shores of Table Bay, metropolitan Cape Town’s current estimated population is 3.74 million.
But Cape Town public health officials are calling for a “Day Zero” by mid-April. Dam water levels at that point will have fallen to 13.5 percent — a level so low that no water can be pumped through the city’s extensive water distribution system.
Mayor Patricia de Lille has implemented a water rationing regime late last year that required residents to cut the use of water to about 13 gallons a day, but the population still did not comply with that and the problem increased.
The state of California is not in the exact same position but has been on the verge of a dangerous water shortage before. California public health officials estimate that regardless of the years of trying to reduce water use, state residents still consume an average of 88 gallons a day.
California once had the best infrastructure of any state in the nation. But Breitbart News reported that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimated in 2013 that California had a $65 billion public infrastructure deficit for adequate investments in dams, waterways, airports, roads, bridges, seaports, and tunnels.
In a grim warning that should have been heeded before last year’s near-collapse of the 770-foot high Oroville Dam, ASCE’s “Infrastructure Report Card” awarded a national low “D” grade for levees / flood control as California’s most neglected sector.
But instead of doing the right thing, California’s Democrat-controlled legislature over the past decade has prioritized preparing for climate change and perpetual droughts by plugging $25 billion of infrastructure dollars into high-speed rail, water efficiency, renewable energy subsidies, and clean energy rebates.
Breitbart reports that the private sector has opened a $1 billion desalinization plant in Carlsbad, and another $1 billion plant is under construction at Huntington Beach.
Local water districts will pay about $2,257 per acre-foot for this energy-intensive water, about three times that $800 cost per acre-foot cost of the water from the San Joaquin Delta.