Water, water, everywhere

As I write this, at 19:30 on a Sunday evening, it feels like the clouds have opened. It has been pouring in my neck of the woods (Cape St Francis) for a good few hours now, and it seems like it is not going to let up.

My 15,000 litres of Jojo water storage is full to overflowing, and there is water pouring out of each of my three tanks. My little pool – built many years ago and long before this area became drought-stricken – is overflowing. 

Yet tomorrow (today, Monday), I will be stunned if our combined dam water storage has even broken 13%. We have been fighting in the 12% zone of combined dam capacity for months now. Yet, every time we have any sort of rain, we read what has become a cliché – ‘no rainfall of consequence has fallen in the catchment area.’ 

As we approach the dry summer months, there is no doubt that we are in grave danger of running out of water. If you analyse the available data, we will run out of water. It will probably happen when we have our visitors here. When they leave, early to mid-January, we will most likely have no water in our taps. 

In Cape Town, their Day Zero strategy worked because everyone understood the gravity and worked together on a domestic level. Every household climbed in. My mom, in her 80’s, had buckets everywhere and would carry so many buckets of water that it seems like her back is permanently stooped from the process. 

We don’t seem to have the same level of urgency here, and it could be because we have had so much rain right here in St Francis. As you drive around this morning, you will see massive puddles everywhere (and huge potholes, another story). Still, we need to understand that the rain falling here has nothing to do with the catchment area rainfall. Our village sticks out into the ocean and has different precipitation triggers.

The point being, because we have so much rainfall here, it would be a brilliant idea to try and catch your rain. Store it, purify it, use it when you can. When the water runs out, I seriously doubt anyone will arrive in our village with water tanks as there will be other more water-stressed areas. So look after your own future and grab the rainfall. It is free water from the heavens.    

Further reading:


Weather Guru! 

How Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga’s looming Day Zero water disaster could have been prevented – By Prof Richard Cowling.