Not a Drop to Drink:
Our Looming Global Water Crisis
In 2018 Cape Town, South Africa, a city of over 4 million, ran out of water. The city government announced that on “Day Zero” residents would have no running water in their homes and businesses. People lined up at communal stations to collect a daily water ration. The crisis was only averted at the last minute, in part by the arrival of exceptional storms.
In the 20th century, massive dams, aqueducts, and centralized treatment plants dominated water planning. This infrastructure produced some of the most important developments in human history, notably a great reduction in water-related diseases and deaths. But negative consequences of this “hard” infrastructure have led us toward a new, “soft” approach. Mimicking the natural processes of the water cycle is a key component of this new “soft” direction.