I had a bath this morning

For perhaps the first time in at least 2 years I had a bath this morning.

Thanks to mype.co.za for the graphic, click pic for source

 We have had some good rains this past 10 days with more, lots more expected overnight and tomorrow.

I was with a couple of chaps from our water affairs dept. this morning and one of them said that he expects our average dam levels to exceed 50% by Friday and possibly 60% by this time next week. Official dam levels here.

50% is the magic number, it is at this level that the severe usage restrictions are enforced, restrictions include hose pipe bans and a form of water rationing. My household (6 people) is allowed 15 kilolitres a month (500 litres a day), we are regularly on or just under our limit, this is achieved by limited toilet flushing, only showering, no watering of the garden (except with previously used water), limited motor vehicle washing and definitely no topping up of the pool!

Penalties for exceeding the limit include financial penalties and a ‘flow limiter’ for serial offenders.

With a bit of luck the more severe restrictions could be lifted later this month and if we hit the 60% level  we could go back to living normally.

The unusual thing is that heavy rain at this time of the year is very unseasonal, we usually get most of our wet weather in our Spring, (Sept. – Nov.) My water affairs pal had a reason for this “The El Niño has gone” he said. He has been talking about this particular El Niño for a good 18 months, if it has gone, good riddance!

I thought that I’d add this chart to show how the citizens here have reacted during this current drought.

received with my water account

This evening’s forecasted rains have just arrived, I think I’ll celebrate with another bath 😉


28 thoughts on “I had a bath this morning”

  1. Hi Soutie, do you guys collect rain water at all? Having been to Australia a number of times, where water is so scarce, it amazes me that more African households do not collect rain water and have huge storage tanks. In Zimbabwe it is becoming increasingly essential because municipal water is so erratic. Here in CT we seem to have enough most years though inevitably warnings go out when levels fall below a certain percentage. Enjoy your bath.

  2. In our state, laws demand that all new homes built must have new water catching tanks. everybody pays a minimum of $6.50 per week for water and most are trying to convert to solar powered houses. takes time though.

    Personally I think the problems with water have nothing to do with a lack of it, I think there is plenty.
    I think the problem is that the entire world is still using centuries old water catchment methods that don’t work too well with the increases in population.

    We need to build new methods of catching waters, underground canals, etc.

  3. Howzit Sipu, I’ve got a tank in the back garden collecting runoff from perhaps a quarter of my roof and the down pipes from one side of the house run into the pool.

    Only snag is that we need rain for the systems to be effective, it’s poring down now as I type, I think that once the current runoff flows from the catchment areas to the dams we should hit 60% or be ‘dam’ close 😉

  4. Hello Donald

    My current water bill is R139.85 for 14 kl (that’s about US$21)

    Our problem is that the idiots in charge of our metro have watched the migration from the rural areas of SA to the city and done nothing to increase water storage capacity!

  5. I must admit I have never lived anywhere with inadequate water and have no intention of ever doing so. Can’t imagine anything worse.
    The thought of not being able to water my garden in the summer dry season is too ridiculous to contemplate! I run the hoses 24 hours a day, literally. No bill either, we have our own well and our own stream. I think I’d rather put up with the bloody rain than all that hideous brown parched vegetation.
    Each to his own, the world is grievously overpopulated, about time we stopped breeding.

  6. “I think the problem is that the entire world is still using centuries old water catchment methods that don’t work too well with the increases in population.”
    I agree so much with this. We need to find ways of restocking and ensuring that wells don’t run dry. Efficient rain water collection is a must.
    I rarely water the garden, except with the water butt collections. I have 4 and that usually sees me through.

  7. In Sydney alone, there is enough water flowing down the streets after a heavy rain to maintain all the farms needs of NSW for a year. Everybody knows it, nobody does anything about it, it’s the same in every city on the planet.

    All it would take is redesigned street guttering, (built-in pipes) and solar powered pumps to transport these rain waters inland

  8. Hi Christina

    Funny enough the countryside here doesn’t look parched, I imagine that the indigenous grasses, plants, shrubs and trees have learned to survive and prosper in these conditions.

    It will soon be time for the aloes to start flowering, I’ve had my eye on a couple of wonderful specimens that I intend posting here when they bloom.

  9. Pseu, far more worrying than surface water run off is the depletion or archaic artesian water. The great artesian basins of the world are all falling fast, mainly used for irrigation of crops. Quite a lot of the most fertile food production areas at the moment will be totally barren in the near future. You really can’t grow crops in areas with marginal water, ie less than about 16″ /annum, or at least not every year. Try the effect of halving the world’s supply of grains!
    A lot of the world’s population will starve willy nilly, simple as that.
    Not something the politicians wish to address.

  10. We were on ‘severe’ restrictions for several years – then we had rain, and the powers-that-be decided to release the water from the dams rather than lift the water restrictions… I leave it to the imagination what the public reaction was! The restrictions were lifted.

    There were water restrictions in Adelaide – no hoses, but, like Queensland, one could water plants with a bucket. It was pointed out that using buckets used more water than hoses. The theory was that most people simply wouldn’t bother. That worked in Queensland, but it didn’t work in Adelaide! There were so many cases of mainly elderly people ending up in casualty from slipping on wet stones that the restrictions were lifted for everyone over 60! I’m not sure, but I believe the overall consumption of water fell…

    All new homes here in Queensland have to have water tanks. But Donald has it about right – far too much simply goes down the drain and out to sea.

    A few years ago there was a move to recycle water – the uproar was horrendous. No one seemed to understand that most of Europe recycles its water.

    Enjoy your baths, Soutie!

  11. pseu, unfortunately not.
    When you use in twenty-thirty years what it has taken 250,000 years to accrete, you’re onto a bit of a loser! Rainfall has changed over geologic time, many of these aquifers were filled millions of years ago, the current rainfall is wildly insufficient to replace. On top of that it takes several thousand years to permeate that far down. One of the many things that mankind has used without thinking about the future. Very similar to the use of fossil fuels.

    Desalinated sea water cannot be used for agriculture, creates a hard pan and renders the soil useless in a few decades, as the Israelis have found out in their desert reclamation projects.

    The only variable we actually can control is the number of people using these dwindling resources.

  12. PB what an interesting website. Thanks, some very interesting articles about fracking there too.

  13. Hello Soutie: I have not had a bath in more than three years, at my advanced age getting in and out is too much of a challenge. Like CO we also have our own supply (well) and could always flop in the creek as a last resort.

    By the way it’s World Ocean Day today, a suitable day for bathing. It’s because the world is mostly Oceanat least that’s what the T-shirt says.

  14. Interesting article, Christina.

    Sounds a bit like our Murray-Darling river. It’s being drained dry by over irrigation… and the recent rains have not helped one bit, since at this moment no one seems to see the necessity of doing anything to ameliorate the situation.

    I’m sick to death of hearing farmers, who use open channel irrigation (!!) saying that no one can take their water away from them. It isn’t theirs – it belongs to Australia.As usual, the Government has given into Big Business and the plan for the sensible use of the river has been scrapped.

  15. Peter Barnett :

    “All environmental problems become harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.”
    David Attenborough

    You know that, I know that – and indeed every sensible person on the planet knows that!

    But, ‘one must respect religious sensibilities’ and support the ‘yooman right’ of every individual to reproduce him or herself many times over, and over and over…

    … And still Governments around the world pay huge sums to people to breed…

  16. Bo, exactly the same here, the farmers keep banging on about their ‘rights’
    What rights?
    The rights to pump a dry well? The right to watch their fields parch and turn into another dust bowl?
    The right to starve in due course.

    And still they encourage immigration, rights to life, n wives and any other tarradiddle of nonsense they can find except keeping it in your pants!
    I seriously think that this world will well deserve all it is going to get. No wonder no-one from outer space will talk to us, they must have put us in quarantine centuries ago!
    What a pack of morons.

  17. Morning / Afternoon / Evening all (hope I haven’t left anybody out! :))

    Agree completely about who ‘owns’ the water particularly the underground wells. I recall late last year when our dam levels were hovering around 30% I asked who our biggest water consumers are.

    I assumed it to be the SAB Miller Ibhayi Brewery (this link tells us that they produce 50,000 quarts [750ml] per hour!) and Coca-Cola who also have a bottling plant here.

    Don’t worry about Coke I was told, they’ve got a well with their own water. What! It’s our water and if water levels get really scarce I mooted the closing of theses two plants just for starters. It’s not as if these products aren’t manufactured elsewhere and can shipped here.

  18. Interesting comments all – funnily enough I was at a BBQ last week with a consultant working for Severn-Trent water and he was an ignorant Muppet who only saw water in terms of money and business. I was able with my simple common sense and knowledge from A-Level to run rings round his arguments for increasing the price the consumer should pay in order to get more water!

    Alarmingly, he said that all private water companies get a guaranteed 11% profit on all the water they sell no matter how they produce it. In other words, they can not bother with infrastructure and pipes or investment and still charge 11% for their pockets! Disgusting.

    He was whining that demand would exceed supply in the Midlands in 2013 so prices would have to go up. No concept of why or what to do about it. Money money money.

    There will be wars over water soon, I have no doubt.

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