I’m not going to go into the whole “there’s a drought” thing, because I have done that already. Several times. If you’re down here in this corner of SA, you’ll know that we’re already on Level 3b Water Restrictions. But with winter now just around the corner and still no sign of any meaningful rain (those prayers are really helping us out, hey?), the City looks likely to move to Level 4 restrictions real soon now.
Level 4 means no using potable water outside at all. For anything. At all. Ever.
And any water you do use (indoors) will cost more too.
But this got me thinking. Level 1, 2, 3a and 3b restrictions have had only a very limited effect on the dam levels, so what if Level 4 fails too? Just how high can we go?
I went down to the basement of the monolithic Municipal Building in Cape Town CBD and did some rudimentary research.
Here is some of what I discovered…
Level 5 water restrictions allow for water shedding. That is, times of the day – perhaps 2 or 3 hour periods – when the water supply to different areas of the city will be cut. You know the drill, because we’ve done this before with electricity.
Level 6 water restrictions mean that there will be very limited times when water is readily available to residential customers. If you want water, you will likely have to go to a local standpipe or bowser to get it.
And from there… well… it gets really severe. Here are a few examples:
Level 7 means you won’t be allowed to use your borehole anymore.
Level 9 allows for teams of city workers using giant vacuum cleaners to suck the morning dew from parks and lawns.
If we get as far as Level 11, it will be mandatory to surrender the contents of your swimming pool to the Sheriff of the Court. Including any toys therein. And your Kreepy Krauly.
When we get to Level 12, each household will have to donate 5 litres of their weekly allowance to mayor Patricia de Lille so that she can keep the fountain in her back garden going.
Part of the Level 14 restrictions require anyone participating in a local Parkrun to wear a plastic overall so that their perspiration can be collected in a big barrel at the finish line, from which fresh water will then be extracted.
The Level 17 restrictions involve at least one member of each residential household being press-ganged into joining a massive convoy from Cape Town to Johannesburg and stealing the Hartebeespoort Dam (in many, many small amounts).
Level 19 will make it illegal to cry without collecting your tears in a tupperware container (the container used for this purpose must be pre-registered with the city using Form L19-6b, available from the Water & Sanitation Department offices) for recycling.
Level 23 means that the City can legally harvest and press Fynbos from the local Table Mountain National Park and collect the juices, from which water will be extracted. The pulp will then be donated to the hippie communities in Noordhoek and Kommetjie where it is routinely used instead of soap. And deodorant. And paint. And food.
At Level 26, residents will only be allowed to drink grey water.
At Level 27, residents will only be allowed to drink black water.
At Level 28, residents will only be allowed to inhale fog.
At Level 29, residents will only be allowed to drink sand.
Level 30 makes it illegal to live in Cape Town.
Of course, all this unpleasantness could easily be avoided in Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille would only take on board (or even acknowledge) my brilliant plan to solve the water crisis for the next 25,000 years. Just like the UAE have.