COLUMN: You can’t drink a green lawn

2017-01-24 06:01

As we’re about to head into the hottest month of the year, the latest figures revealed by the City of Cape Town’s department of water and sanitation yesterday show that dams supplying the Cape with water are only about 40% full.

Various reports that the Cape only has sufficient water for the next 100 days have surfaced over the past week. City officials have tried their best to refute these reports – saying we in fact have enough water to last until just before winter – but when you do the math there is in fact not many more than 100 days left before the start of winter.

At the same time, residents have been lashing out at the City over “too harsh” water restrictions (which are about to become even stricter), penalties for using too much, and even accusing the City and big industries of not doing their own part.

And while both the City and residents may have a good leg to stand on, it is now time to drop the “why should I bother if...” and “it doesn’t apply to me” attitudes and focus on the crisis at hand.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. The question you should be asking is: “What am I (not your neighbour, the City and industry) doing to save water?”

Change starts in your own backyard. If everyone can save one drop, then soon we’ll have buckets. Imagine what we can achieve when we stop waiting for everyone else to start doing something and focus on how we can contribute ourselves.

Those ignoring the restrictions because they can “afford whatever penalty the City can throw at them” or have been sneaky to get around the restrictions by switching their sprinklers on in the middle of the night – you’re not doing yourself a favour.

After all, you can’t drink a green lawn when the taps have run dry.

I for one have taken the difficult decision (on top of all our other water saving measures) to not fill up my swimming pool until after we’ve had sufficient rain – a decision I may come to regret in February, but one I’m willing to live with if it means clean drinking water every day.

What have you done?

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