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From Cape Town To Connecticut, Conserving Water For The Future

For months, Cape Town, South Africa was on the brink of disaster. After severe droughts, the city warned that “Day Zero” was coming--the day the city would run out of water entirely. Now, the date for Day Zero, originally predicted to be in April or May 2018, has been pushed indefinitely to 2019.

This hour, we find out how that city managed to avoid total depletion of its water resources--for now.

We also take a look at our water here at home.  Connecticut experienced historic droughts in recent years--what causes these conditions, and how should the state plan for dry years?

And did you know Connecticut has a state Water Plan? Yet lawmakers failed to approve the plan last session. We find out more.


  • Lynsey Chutel - Journalist for Quartz based in Johannesburg, South Africa (@lynseychutel)
  • John (Jack) W Betkoski III - Chairman of the Connecticut Water Planning Council and Vice Chairman of Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA)
  • Betsy Gara - Executive Director of the Connecticut Water Works Association
  • John Mullaney - Hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, with the New England Water Science Center Connecticut Office


Quartz: How Cape Town delayed its water-shortage disaster—at least until 2019 (Lynsey Chutel, May 2018) - “For months, the clock on Cape Town’s water dashboard counted down ominously to Day Zero—the day the drought-stricken city would eventually run out of water. And then in February, it was pushed all the way to July. The latest count doesn’t even have a date, only that Day Zero may still happen in 2019.”

CNN: Day Zero deferred, but Cape Town's water crisis is far from over (May 2018) - “Cape Town has pushed their countdown clock to 2019, but avoiding Day Zero is still dependent on the rain -- something entirely out of anyone's control.”

Hartford Business Journal: Water-utility bids raise concerns about control of CT's water resources (May 2018) - “Perhaps more importantly, Malloy told his Groton audience, the plan establishes water as a "public trust,'' one the state has a responsibility to protect.That wording in the water plan, however, has drawn ire from, among others, the Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA), a statewide lobby of 45 public and private water purveyors serving about 500,000 household and commercial customers, or some 2.5 million individuals.”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.
Carmen Baskauf was a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil from 2017-2021. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

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