SA Water Crisis: 60 litres a day for PE and the rest of the Bay

2018-01-29 07:35 - Anje Rautenbach
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While Cape Town is facing Day Zero, the situation in Nelson Mandela Bay is looking equally dire - despite heavy rain and flash floods during last week. 

The situation may now see a second city in South African facing Day Zero. 

Mayor Athol Trollip, announced on Sunday, the 28th of January 2018, that certain strategies have to be put into place to prevent the Bay’s taps from running dry.

According to the Kouga Municipality, water shedding is already in place for the towns of Hankey and Patensie, as these towns have used up their water quotas for the period ending June 2018, 

Trollip says, “We need all hands on deck. We are facing a massive challenge, which can only be overcome if we are ALL part of the solution.”

SEE: Nelson Mandela Bay dam levels hit an all-time low of 26.94%

What’s the strategy you might ask?

The strategy, and the success of Nelson Mandela Bay not reaching the much dreaded and feared Day, Zero, depends on everyone in the Bay using no more than 60 litres of water per day.

60 litres. Let that sink in.

Or don’t let it sink in, because it will take too much water for anything to sink.

60 litres per day is one toilet flush more than Cape Town’s 50 litres per day.

The lack of rain and downward spiral of the Metro’s dam levels have been a much-talked about issue in Nelson Mandela Bay since 2016. And while we are now advised to use 60 litres a day to avoid Day Zero, we’ve heard – during the last year - countless complaints pointing fingers towards the government. During the last year, we’ve heard of people showing zero respect by thinking (or basically saying) that their ability to pay a high water bill exempts them from saving water. We’ve heard of people arguing that ‘because they just spent a weekend in Johannesburg, they are allowed to make up for the three day absence by using more water’.

SEE: SA on water crisis watch

Point all the fingers you want to the government, but the truth of the matter is - at the end of the day –the government can’t order rain.

And while half – no, that’s wishful thinking – while one tenth of the Bay is doing their bit to the save water and finding new ways to minimise water consumption, the other 90% of residents still prefer to throw a blind eye and live on some sort of magical Unicorn Island where water is never-ending.

In the streets, in coffee shops and between friends there is a lot of talk about how bad and ‘ag shame’ the situation is in Cape Town. But with 60 litres a day to prevent the Eastern Cape’s pawpaw to hit the fan, Bay locals might want to say ‘ag shame’ to themselves well and start using those buckets and stop flushing the toilet every single time. Urine is yellow-ish, we all know that by now, get room spray if it bothers you.

Something should’ve been done a few years ago. Yes, it really sucks that it took months for the water leak you reported to get fixed. Yes, it is 2018 now and the thought of desalination could have started a long time ago. Yes, a better infrastructure should’ve been put in place. Yes, stricter water consumption should’ve been monitored more closely.

Coulda woulda shoulda.

For the love of the world’s most precious resource, shut up.

It doesn’t matter now. Moaning about what could have been done adds absolutely zero value to the situation today. Talking about what you can do now for tomorrow, yes, that adds value.

SEE: Cape water crisis: How tourists can ‘Save like a local’ 

Can we stop being so entitled and just save water? Can we stop bargaining on the rest of city’s residents to save water and think it is okay to not save water? Can we stop listening to conspiracy-this and conspiracy-that? Can we stop stirring up unnecessary and uninformed conversations and stop causing k@k? Because that’s the kind of shit you have to flush down the toilet and there goes another 9 litres. 

We are not all scientists; most of us don’t have a clue what we are talking about and how it all fits into the bigger picture so how about we all just stick to the one thing we are all capable of doing, saving water. Okay? Okay.

According to our Bill of Rights, all human beings have a right to a healthy environment and the right to life depends on the availability of water. But when the taps run dry and our dams stay empty water will no longer be a basic human right; it will be a privilege, a bonus, a matter of life and death.

May the rest of South Africa, and especially those in other water disaster areas such as Port Elizabeth, surrounding areas and Kouga, take note of all the exceptional water-saving techniques and initiatives done by individuals in Cape Town and elsewhere. These individuals do not complain with a coulda-would-shoulda attitude, these individuals take action, these individuals are rock stars!

Major Trollip also went on to say, “The Metro will also push down consumption by reducing the velocity and pressure of water moving through pipes. Additionally there will be an accelerated infrastructure maintenance and replacement operation over the next few years, starting immediately.

WATCH: Cape Town tourists given humorous low-down on how to save water

Faulty water meters will be repaired and new meters will be installed at households where water supply has been free flow. Water restrictive devices will be installed at those households or businesses identified as consuming excessive amounts of water.

Desalination is part of our long term thinking, as the technology is very expensive and will require multi-year budgeting. For now, the aforementioned measures will almost certainly be sufficient in the short term.

We are also reviewing the call centre operations and reception. However, please continue to report all water leaks to 0800 20 50 50. Please report any excessive municipal/potable water usage to the Metro Police on 041 585 1555, option 2.”

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