A nightmarish situation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 March 2018 11:37

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

The water situation in Cape Town in South Africa has been amply described in TIME and in articles in the Internet. Cape Town is not a city in a  3rd world country as we might imagine it to be. It is a  fairly sophisticated city with parks and art museums and such. But in the current water shortage it is experiencing it might be a place in a nightmare country.

Water allocation is  at 13  gallons per person per day. This amount of water is said to allow just a 90-second shower, such that many simply do not shower every day so  the water allocated for bathing may be used in other ways. Besides bathing we know that there are a lot of other ways that we need water in the home – for cooking, for washing dishes, kitchen utensils, and clothes. We need water to flush toilets.  Thinking of our city going through such a situation raises my anxiety level several notches.

The reservoir for  Cape Town is going empty because of the lack of rain for many months. The latest projection for Day Zero , when the pipes delivering water to the city will be closed, is July this year. Unless it rains for several days and the empty reservoir is filled up as required.

One item I read said that “The World Bank classifies water scarcity as when people in a determined location receive less than 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water per person a year.”  I do not know if the ZC  Water District follows this standard. The same article said that “ In 2014, each of the more than 20 million inhabitants of Beijing had only 14 cubic meters.”

Reading about the water situation in Cape Town is not recommended for those who want to avoid being stressed. On the other hand it might be good to read how Capetonians are coping so we can imagine how we too might be go through the same experience if we do not now modify how we use water.

Some people might think that digging deep wells for the home’s water supply can be an early active step to insure  that we have water in our homes. However, this is what happened in Jakarta and the deflated underground aquifers caused sea water to seep into the aquifers and the water is no longer “sweet.”

What can we do now that we still have water? First we understand and accept the reality of climate change. There will be a time  when rainfall patterns will no longer be the same and we can have long periods without rain. And therefore no water to fill up our water reservoir. Consequently, water rationing which will lead to new ways of doing things

While we have water let us use it wisely.