The second largest city in South Africa faces its worst drought in a century, and the water supply is expected to dry on April 21.
They call it "Day Zero". In this city of 4 million, people will have to line up on the streets in only 200 water stations. The police and the army will apply a 6.6-gallon limit per person and will take measures to control the crowds. Some experts believe that evacuations will be necessary.
If the city runs out of water, it will be the first major city in a developed country to do so.
But a number of details of the crisis plan remain unclear. How could a person carry 26 gallons of water for a family of four? How would the elderly and the disabled cope? What about the fact that officials expect there will not be enough water to clean the city's toilets?
"Much of the logistics is unknown, and that is worrisome and is causing a lot of alarm, we just never get any response, which tells us there is no plan," said resident Brigetti Lim Banda, who started a page of Facebook about the water crisis. "We are at the point where it is impossible to avoid Day Zero."
Last week, the city government of Cape Town moved Zero Day one week to April 22, blaming citizens for using too much water. This week, he advanced ominously again, for a day.
After three years of drought, cities in eastern and southern Africa have faced problems, and some have already had to import water. None, however, is as big as Cape Town.
The problem is reduced to the strong population growth and the impossibility of planning alternative water sources to increase the reservoirs behind six dams, some of which rapidly diminish to arid extensions of sand. Dams have dropped to 15.2% usable water capacity, compared to 77% in September 2015.