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Cities Across The World Are Running Out Of Water

Taps running dry, dams hitting record lows and debilitating drought -- large parts of the world are simply running dry.

"Climate change expresses itself through water," the World Bank said, and it's not hard to see the effects.

Last year, 100 percent of New South Wales was declared drought-affected, and the impacts still continue to this day. Farms are parched, animals are dead and dying, and rivers have run dry.

A dam in Tenterfield, in NSW's northwest, dropped to 33 percent capacity in June this year as the need for a solution to boost the area's water supply becomes more desperate.

READ MORE: The Drought Isn't Over Just Because The Media Coverage Is

"It is a race against time to find, extract, pump, and transport more water to the dam," Tenterfield Council told the community.

The council has received $373,000 from the NSW State Government to help with water augmentation, but it's simply not enough.

Stanthorpe Drought
Cattle being fed near Stanthorpe, Queensland. Photo: Facebook/AIR T&G Helicopter Services.

It's estimated boosting the dam's water supply will cost roughly $3.2 million -- money the town simply doesn't have.

Level 4.5 water restrictions are currently in place for the town, with dozens of regulations including bans on vehicle washing, using fixed hoses and topping up pools.

READ MORE: Water Restrictions Start Today For The First Time In 10 Years

Across the border in Queensland, towns like Stanthorpe and Warwick, water supply is expected to run out as soon as December this year.

The dam in Stanthorpe in the state's southeast currently sits at a dire 26.7 percent of capacity, and is expected to be completely dry by December. While Warwick is expected to have water for another 18 months, the dams there are also desperately low.

Stanthorpe Drought
The type of conditions farmers face in southeast Queensland. Photo: Facebook/Aratula Market, Warwick Farmers Market & Stanthorpe Markets.

Extreme water restrictions are in place for both towns and other parts of the Southern Downs council area. All urban and rural residents are limited to using 120 litres of water a day. People are also prohibited from watering gardens, filling swimming pools, and hosing paths or driveways.

Water Running Out All Over The Globe

Over one billion people lack access to water worldwide, while 2.2 billion don't have safely drinking services. A massive three billion people do not have adequate access to hand-washing facilities.

Early in 2018, Cape Town in South Africa made headlines when it looked to become the first major city in the world to run out of water.

But Cape Town may have been just the tip of the iceberg.

India

Other cities and towns across the globe are getting incredibly close to running out of water.

In India's sixth-largest city, Chennai, they already have.

Chennai Water Crisis
Chennai has been hit with a debilitating drought. Photo: Reuters.

Water stopped pouring from taps in the city in late June, after water levels in the area's largest reservoir fell to just one one-hundredth of what they were at the same time last year.

If current conditions continue, the city could be completely without its own water supply by the end of their summer.

The drought that's devastated Chennai has seen locals take drastic measures to conserve water, including delaying non-essential surgeries and closing schools and hotels.

A growing number Chennai's 10 million people are now relying on tanks for their water supply. A 'water train' was also used last week to supply a growing number of people in Chennai with water.

Chennai Water Crisis
Residents waiting to fill containers with water from a tanker. Photo: Reuters.

Reuters reports technicians at Jolarpettai, located about 200 kilometres southwest of Chennai, loaded over 50,000 litres of what onto a train bound for the industrial centre on Thursday.

Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil's financial capital, went through a similar drought to Cape Town back in 2015 when its main water reservoir fell to a dangerously low four percent of capacity.

The city's 21.7 million people were forced to face the possibility of having just 20 days of water left at one of the worst points.

While the crisis was deemed officially over in 2016, the situation didn't much improve much the following year. In January 2017, water reserves were 15 percent below average for that period, and the time of water stress continued.

Chennai Water Crisis
Workers fill water into the train destined for Chennai. Photo: Reuters.
England

England's capital city London is also facing the possibility of running out of water. As London's average rainfall is relatively low at just 600 mm a year, about 80 percent of its water supply comes from the rivers Thames and Lea.

As more people move to live and work in London, the water supply is being stretched. The Greater London Authority has predicted water supply problems will arise within the next five years and serious shortages could start by 2040.

Parts of Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, China, the USA, Russia, Mexico and even Japan are also expected to struggle with water supply in the next few years.

Climate Change Is One Reason For Water Shortages

The World Bank attributes some water stress to climate change.

"Climate change expresses itself through water," a statement on the World Bank's website reads.

London
London could run out of water by 2040. Photo: Getty Images.

"Water-related climate risks cascade through food, energy, urban and environmental systems. If we are to achieve climate and development goals, water must be at the core of adaptation strategies."

With nine out of every 10 natural disasters being water-related, the World Bank said the resource needs to be managed so humans can both access and conserve it.

"This includes investments in water storage, water reuse and recycling and, where viable, desalinisation. These interventions must be accompanied by policies to promote water efficiency and improve water allocation."

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au