A French island territory off the northwestern coast of Madagascar with a population of more than 300,000 is a risk of running out of drinking water in the coming weeks as an unprecedented freshwater shortage has hit the region, CNN reports.
With an area of 144 square miles and 310,000 people, Mayotte is in the midst of its worst drought in nearly 30 years, but the island is also being impacted by a long-term lack of investment in infrastructure that would have provided rainwater collection and seawater desalination.
The situation is so dire most residents of the island only have access to freshwater for an 18-hour period every two or three days based on a schedule produced by the local government. The two larges reservoirs on the island are both below 7% capacity. The French government has shipped in 600,000 liters of bottled water since September, and they’ve ordered all water bills suspended.