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“Save Water. Save the World” by Moestaqeem Esau

As the heavens open up on the still-drought stricken Western Cape, there is no better time to remind people to still save water. Don’t let your guard down just because the floodgates are open. That is when the enemy prospers.

Days-long rains remind me of my childhood. Twas a cold night a long time ago… No wait, wrong time.

At crèche we would stand at the door, rain pouring down, shouting, “Rain rain, go away. Come again another day”. Our rhyming skills were rudimentary at best and creativity as weak as water. I wish I could go back in time, go up to that little 6-year old me, stroke his pale face, look him in the eye and then punch him. Just once. Square in the gut. Serves him right for not appreciating rain.

Another classic tune went “It’s raining its pouring, the old man is snoring”. Cue a few decades later and I’m wondering, what’s the matter with this man and how on earth is he sleeping through this storm? Somebody wake him and tell him to help us get some buckets to catch the water. I would later sing this part from the Supertramp classic, “It’s Raining Again” and marvel at how I am now a super tramp. Thanks for the inspiration, ST!

Something else my ignorant self remembers from childhood is when it rained, we said it was because God gave Jesus a hiding and now he’s crying. Haha, so ignorant and irreverent. The 90s was a different time when father could beat son without interference from the law and labels like “corporal punishment”. We did not know any better. Sorry God.

Anyway, here’s a cheeky bit on saving water from my friend, Moestaqeem:

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The common saying “desperate times calls for desperate measures” has echoed throughout the ages. However, water, a precious resource and commodity has sustained life long before we could talk, write, flirt and blog.

People tend to often overlook the importance of water, thus encouraging the pollution and wasting thereof. Not too long from now, I dreamt of our planet, scarce of water and this is how it went… “Sun kissed skin so hot it’ll melt your Popsicle” [k Perry. California Girls]. Though seasonal rainfall occurred water remarkably evaporates before its hits the sizzling surface of the earth. Yes, twas that bad. There were  water burglars, water zombies and an establishment of a new elite force the H2O.B.I a branch of the FBI.

Locally, South Africa incorporated the death penalty to decrease the theft on water and water related murders. The scarcity of water motivated me to suggest possibilities in which we can save water during those desperate times. Hope you find this resourceful.

1)      The shower

People generally enjoy singing in the shower, like myself. It starts with one song and you end up singing five songs. Songs have length. Five songs could keep you for over 15 minutes in the shower!!! A shower running for 15 minutes? That’s a lot of WASTED water! Only one song should be sung. It should have a length of max 3 minutes. You should be done showering by the end of the song. Practice the same song in the shower everyday, this will prepare you for when you do audition for idols. No shower radios are allowed. Talk shows, comedy minutes, news, gossip on the radio will keep you longer in the shower. When your water budget becomes really tight, you should call a plumber and ask him to switch off the warm water. Shower in cold water. A cold shower will scare and scar you from showering the next day thus making showering no longer pleasurable. Before you know it you will shower once a month and eventually replace showering with wet wipes.

2)      Plants

Plants are lovely creatures that embellish our homes. BUT. They need water too. The plants you have should be replaced with succulents, plants that require water every once a month or once every three months. Be very careful how you go about replacing those plants. You would not want to hurt them nor make them feel homeless. Tell them that you are moving to the Middle East and that it’s risky for them to be there. Be sincere. When your water budget is strained it’s time for you to replace the succulents as well. Use your own discretion. I’ve had sleepless nights. Try playing rock music all the time. Don’t let sunlight into your home. Tell them you are now a vampire. Succulents are naïve. Thereafter you are able to welcome artificial plants into your home. They don’t need water.

3)      Laundry

You will not want to ever use a washing machine. They are water loving machines that uses tons of water you need. The best way to wash your clothes will be in rivers and ponds. Greatly recommended rivers to do your washing in are: the Liesbeek, Kuilsriver and the Eersterivier. If you have a large amount of clothing that needs washing consider the Bree River and the Orange river. When you do wash your clothing in ponds make sure to use MAQ washing powder. This will not offend the ducks.

TIP! Stubborn stains can be removed by simple beating with a rock. Do not use angular rocks for they will tear your clothing.

4)      Animals

Animals are common in households. They use a significant percentage of water that you need. That is why we have to let go of them. Animals survive perfectly in the wild. They are capable of fending for themselves. Good bye FeeFee. No fish tanks. Leave the fish in the ocean. There is a way to still have animals in your home. i.e.  paste fish in your fish tank or get fake fish. There are also cat and dog teddy bears. If this doesn’t satisfy you, buy a Tamagotchi or alternatively download a virtual pet onto your mobile phone. in this way you can still have your animals without feeding them water. Parents should teach their kids at a tender age that animals are mythical creatures.

Other ways to save water:

Don’t brush your teeth with water. Use miswaak

Swallow medication without water.

More suggestions:

Cry less.

Drink water because you’re dehydrated, not for fun.

Wash your car and windows when its rains.

No swimming pools are allowed.

Come on guys, stand up and do a rain dance!

 

M.E thanks you for reading.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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Rewind: Ladismith Drought (2015)

I came across this while looking through old emails. This was the first story I wrote with my then mentor. We travelled to Ladismith in the Western Cape to cover the devastating drought, and water shortage there.

Because the Western Cape is going through this current drought, despite occasional rain, I thought the parallels were interesting. Only a few lines were used from my original story, that is copied below in its entirety.

 

The lifeblood of a Karoo town is at stake as administrative bungling could cost Ladismith its water supply. The small town in the Kannaland municipality is used to droughts and dry spells as the concentric circles of the near-dry dams show a dwindling water supply.

However, in-fighting and political manoeuvring could cost the locals their most precious commodity.

Leon Blignault, the technical manager for the municipality, said the town was not out of danger yet. “At this stage we only have 22 days of water left. We have to keep moving the water pump to adjust to the water level”.

In the dam, a sizable pond is visible, however when Blignault points out the markers for how high the water level is allowed to be, the situation becomes clear.  White stones mark a ring around the top of the dam, with the actual water far down below.

Municipal manager Morne Hoogbaard said at present, the town has experienced a water problem for years.

Hoogbaard, the longest serving municipal manager said the time is right for change, as there is “managerial and political stability”.

A new dam is currently under review, and is expected to be completed by December 2016.

“Water Affairs will fund the biggest portion of the R100-million cost, which will subsidise the percentage of poor people, who get free water. We are submitting in March for the final plan,” he said.

“We have equipped two boreholes that will take care of 30% of our needs. We plan on equipping ten boreholes, that will provide 70% of our water,” he said. The cost of the two boreholes is R2-million, but R10-million is needed for all ten, plus an additional R5-million for further exploration in Zoar. He said the situation in Zoar is “equally serious”.

“It is similar in size to households in Ladismith. It is a coloured community with very little industry,  he said.”

He said meetings take place every week as part of a drought management team, with disaster management, water affairs and the municipality.

“It’s not a problem. That’s something that can be solved”

These were the scathing words of principal of Dankoord VGK Primary, Isaac Hartman.

“The pipe starts up there,” he points to the nearby mountain, “so why does it not reach us down here?” he said.

Hartman alleges that the farmers have siphoned off water before it reaches the community below.

“The problem is that the farmers use the water for their households, not just for farming. Those two tanks can’t run dry in one day. They need to investigate it,” he said.

The health of the learners is a major concern. “We have 144 kids. If that many kids use the bathroom with water, you can imagine”

In the sprawling community of Zoar, 10 kilometres fromLadismith, the situation is dire.

“Mense se magies is in hulle moer,” (People’s stomachs are messed up) said resident Cindy Fortuin. Many in the community have complained of diarrhea.

“The dam is like slime. We don’t have money to buy water,” she said.

Ella Ambros, a mother of three, said she has to buy water for her children, aged 2, 5 and 14.

“We have to cook all our water, and sometimes we have to buy. They don’t tell us what the problem is. There is no notice. We had no water at Christmas. You can’t even wash your white laundry. The old people are also getting sick,” she said.

Councillor Hyren Ruiters from the ICOSA party, who has lived in Zoar all his life, said the solutions are coming, but they’re too slow.

“This is an old system. The pipes are too old. There is some work being done on the main line, but its not enough, and borehole water is expensive. There is also the problem of water theft,” he said, referring to tampering of water meters.

“In December, families come home from Cape Town, then water use increases. Another problem is the bucket system. It uses twice the number of water. Over summer, there is a greater demand for water, but our system is never fixed”.

“The provincial government is not as supportive. They’re just there to make promises, and nothing happens on all levels. All support comes from national. ICOSA and the ANC work well together here.”

He warned of the impending danger of further shortages. “The farmers were affected, and that means our people on farms will be layed off too,” he said.

“Oom” Len Hauptfleisch, with his shock of blonde hair, stands in his dilapidated house that he is trying to fix after it was ravaged by a fire. The dribble of water that he could muster was not enough when the fire broke out in is home.

“I got two buckets and threw it on the bed. That little I got from the bathroom didn’t help”

He jokes that sometimes the water goes from drip system to “no system”.

“Sometimes there isn’t even a drop,” he said. Newly painted walls surround the mess of the fire in his living room, where his daughter sits, as he tries to rebuild his life.

“I can’t count how many times I got water from the neighbours on the main water line. Not for drinking though” he said.

“People are very unhappy here. Administration is the problem. I don’t think the reservoir was ever full,” he said.

Back in Ladismith, local farmer, and chairperson of the Klein SwartbergRivier Water Forum, Hennie Kotze said beyond the actual water crisis, there has been a dire lack of communication between key players.

The forum was established in 2012 to deal with the recurring water crisis.

“The farmers have to share the source with the municipality. With all due respect, we get very little co-operation from the municipality. They want the water, but don’t want to discuss it with us”

He conceded to the conditions of the water act, but emphasised that it should be “only for human consumption”.

He was disgruntled about the lack of cohesion in the forum, which, in theory, includes businesses and representatives of the municipality.

“Provincial does nothing. Last week provincial and Water Affairs were here. We heard nothing. We weren’t involved or recognised.”

“If they’re not willing to talk to us, we’ll take it (the water) back,” he said.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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