We are now in the 11th hour. Having spent much of my winter in the Mother City I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that those dull, miserable days everyone talks about were few and far between. How naive I was. Cape Town is going through one of the most serious water crises in its recorded history. With the holiday season already upon us, Cape Town will see an intense increase of visitors to their beautiful city, using up their precious water. Sadly we have no control over this or the weather…But what we can do is mobilize the media, figure out ways of conserving water and create a dialogue to help spread the word and figure out a way forward.
Rainfall patterns are changing and the Western Cape will naturally revert to a desert similar to the Namib and the Karoo ( Dr Anthony Turton). Through the research I have done it seems that the ANC Government were given data two decades ago stating that four water management areas would be in deficit by 2025. Instead of using the skilled technicians at their disposal to figure out a solution they were too busy firing said technicians to make space for our (in)famous South African nepotism. We can blame the government until we are blue in the face but that is certainly not going to solve the water crises. So what will?
In recent news it seems that desalination plants are becoming a viable option to help Cape Town. We are still unaware of when these plans will become actions and where in the world our government is getting the billions of rands needed. The estimated cost of a specific desalination solution is R8.5bn. Another solution is the Reclaim Camissa movement. The Camissa spring water flows through a series of underground tunnels from Table Mountain into the sea. The Reclaim Camissa advocacy group is urging the city to use this water. This water may be too expensive to disinfect but it is the most cost-effective and simple way to use water for alternative purposes. Another realistic option is ‘Water reclamation‘ AKA extracting water from shit. A wastewater reuse plant is an attainable option which is capable of producing ten million litres of ‘high quality drinking water per day’. This will cost an estimated R120 million to build the plant. We are not short of ideas, we are short of money.
So there are realistic options to saving Cape Town but with every pro there seems to be drastic amount of cons. Let the government deal with that bullshit and lets try take control of the situation in any small way we can. Here are 10 things you can do to help in some way:
- Shower for no more than 1 minute. Try to do so outside of peak water usage times i.e before 6am or after 9pm.
- Keep 5-10 litres of water for drinking use only ( this is averaging a four person household).
- Toilets have an average flush volume of 6 litres. Thus remember: If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down
- Do NOT fill up your pool. You may think this is obvious but I know many people who are doing so. To quote Broad City ‘ Rich people never get caught‘.
- Obviously do not have baths. It was only recently that the Hotels in Cape Town removed the bath plug. This should have been done months and months ago! Shoulda, woulda, coulda
- Use less toilet paper or take one for the team and use one-ply toilet paper. Your genitals may suffer a bit, but the country will forever be in your favour.
- It takes a while for the shower to warm up, use a bucket to collect the excess water and use it for cooking or watering your garden.
- Turn off the shower when you are lathering up
- Clean your dishes by hand instead of the dishwasher.
- Simplify your garden. Pull out the plants that have run their course and are just sucking up valuable water from the ones that are still producing.
- Don’t drink water… Drink wine!
This is a serious issue that has nothing to do with race, religion, culture or sexual identity. These are the moments we realise we are mere humans and Mother Nature will do whatever she wants and needs. No matter where you are from we are all in this together. Please share this post or any posts surrounding this issue far and wide and lets become responsible citizens of this magical city! Water is far too important to be left in the hands of politicians who will use this as a political platform. Lets work together and save each other.