I’m sorry to have to do this. I already did it on Twitter, but clearly very few people saw that, so now I’m doing it here as well.
Gauteng travellers are being encouraged to swop their baggage allowance for water.
During a one-day activation at OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports, travellers can participate by having their luggage weighed at the Siemens AirDrop stand, located in the check-in hall opposite the self-service check-in counters (directly next to ACSA Info Desk at OR Tambo). Any travellers whose luggage is five (or more) kilos under the weight limit will be able to ‘exchange’ their unused kilograms for litres of water that will be delivered to Cape Town on their behalf.
Sounds great, because:
This social challenge is the perfect example of how South Africans can do something helpful for their fellow citizens’. So if you are travelling to the Mother City, show them some love and donate some water to help alleviate the pressure.
And let’s make this very clear right now: anything that alerts visitors to our current plight here, anything that raises awareness, anything that jogs their memory is a good thing.
I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and other than the raising awareness thing, this really isn’t going to help.
Around 2.2 million people fly from Joburg to Cape Town each year. It’s the 10th busiest route in the world. So it’s a good place to go if you want to find big numbers of people for
a stunt an activation like this. But even if every single one of those annual travellers brought down 5 litres of lovely, fresh Gautengy water with them, it would only amount to…
11 million litres.
And while that sounds like a lot, there are a couple of other things to take into consideration before you get excited.
Right now, Capetonians are using 630 million litres of water each day. That’s 26.25 million litres an hour.
And now remember that this is “a one-day activation”, meaning that this offer will only apply to a maximum of just about 6000 people who will be flying that route that day. If every single one of them coming down that day donates 5 litres of water, that comes to 30000 litres.
That’s enough to keep us going for 4 seconds.
So yes, as a tool for raising awareness around the drought (and of Siemens, obviously), it’s great.
It’s this kind of ingenuity that has made us the global leader in intelligent water management.
But as a way of intelligently managing water, this simply doesn’t work.