Cape Town: When the Worst Case Comes To Pass


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Declining water storage levels in Western Cape’s largest six dams. Courtesy Climate Systems Analysis Group

The news that Cape Town had just enough water to last until April sent shock waves throughout the world last month. It is one thing to talk about the world running out of water and another to actually read news that a city would officially run out of water on a particular date. Continue reading

Filtering some thoughts on water

As an editor of a water magazine, I am frequently asked “Should we filter tap water? What kind of filter is the best? Should we go for reverse osmosis (RO) water?” Or I hear someone saying “I always buy bottled water when I travel. It’s better to be safe than sorry”. Then there are those who won’t be bothered to drink anything other than tap water.

In most Asian countries drinking water straight from the tap is not a good idea. Water borne diseases like typhoid and gastroenteritis have not disappeared. While municipal authorities do treat water in cities, quality control is not effective. Besides, there is always scope for re-contamination in pipelines. Most pipelines are old and might be adding lead, asbestos, copper, or PVC breakdown products to the water, all of which are toxic. The pipes may also be decayed or leaky, allowing bacteria to proliferate or ground contaminants (pesticides, arsenic, and other petrochemicals) to seep into the pipes. Cysts of protozoa (giardia) can persist even in chlorinated water. Continue reading