Mother Nature is letting people have it. While Americans are struggling with post-hurricane and post-wildfire recoveries, global eyes should also remain on people in South Africa. The populous port city of Cape Town is often celebrated for its sustainability and environmentalism work, but in the midst of a years-long drought, officials brace themselves and their people for the possibility of running out of water.

“Nature isn’t particularly willing to compromise,” Mike Muller, former director of South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs, told the New York Times. “There will be severe droughts. And if you haven’t prepared for it, you’ll get hammered.”

With satellite images reflecting a largely depleted reservoir on which many residents rely for water, Cape Town populations are in a panic. Water is so scarce that officials are implementing regulations and urging residents to curb their usage to about 13 gallons daily. As CNN reported, some residents’ adherence to the limits is a coin-toss. Other residents already reported water shut-offs in their homes. Stores are packed with people buying bottled water, and stockpiling what they can in preparation for the worst. Many others reported fears about how water scarcity will affect the elderly and physically vulnerable residents.

Based on current projections, the city could be forced to shut off its taps in April. While some news reports project the date as April 12, others expect the water shut-off to occur on April 16. Either way, the day is ominously named “Day Zero.”

Aquifer construction continues, and officials have formed contingency plans to keep schools and hospitals prioritized for water receipt. To chip in and help, you can check out “Water 4 Cape Town” campaign, and use the #Water4CapeTown hashtag to raise awareness!

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