WLR inclusion

Just a quick link to a “creative nonfiction” piece in this quarter’s World Literature Review magazine.

Here is that link:

https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2019/summer/provenance-sandra-jensen

Our protagonist is ostensibly chatting to a gentleman at a party, but her mind is a million miles away: apparently knee-deep in white guilt and self-doubt over her parents’ roles in pre-94 South Africa.

Sheesh. I know, right?

I don’t want to give away the ending, but I do want to say that one of the photographs illustrating the piece is – in my humble opinion, at least – rather good.

Drought news

Apparently it rained a lot in Cape Town while we were away.
Well, ok. If you say so. We’ve been back for five days now and we haven’t seen any continuation of that alleged precipitation. And, looking at the forecast for the next five days, there’s only a small chance of a little bit of drizzle on Monday evening as far as I can see.

That said, some local websites are full of good news about our local big reservoir “doubling in capacity”.

For the record, this hasn’t happened. There may be a case for suggesting that the volume of water in Theewaterskloof has doubled from the worryingly low levels earlier in the year, but I have to tell you that the capacity has stayed exactly the same.

Semantics. I know. Sorry.
Pop me in Pendant’s Corner.

Meanwhile, another blog helpfully tells us how this whole sorry situation  came about (it didn’t rain):

And how the reservoir “fought back from the brink” (it rained):

It’s fascinating, incisive stuff. But I do appreciate that it’s all a bit technical, so don’t worry if you’re struggling to keep up.
That’s why we have experts for this sort of thing. And that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

Don’t get me wrong though. No matter how shitty the reporting, it is great that we’ve moved forward from what we saw when we went out there in February.

But drought isn’t a purely Capetonian thing. Take a look at Sheffield’s local reservoir, which also supplies Derby, Nottingham and Leicester:

It’s looking scarily similar to scenes we’ve seen here recently. In the distance, you can see one of the towers of the Derwent Dam, which should look like this:

There’s a lot more dam wall on show in that top image than there should be.

Sheffield isn’t quite at the point of water restrictions yet, although other places in the UK are about to be (and Northern Ireland was, but isn’t any more).

As for Cape Town, our Level 6b water restrictions are still in place. We’re out of the woods, but we still can’t afford to be complacent. And the city council are going to ensure we remember that by charging us a ridiculous amount for the water that we use.

But I can understand their caution in not cutting the restrictions just yet. When they do, water use is inevitably going to spike and it would be seen as a huge own goal to have to reinstate the restrictions once they had relaxed them.

Perhaps what they should do is to double the capacity of all our dams.
That would make a huge difference.

As long as it rained.

 

Dangerously accurate tweet about dishwashers

Spotted a while back, stored for blogging today, this tweet:

Lucy is entirely correct.

Obviously, I take the former role chez nous, which is important because masterful arrangement is key in the efficient use of water for dishwashing purposes. And we’re all about efficient use of water.

In scheduling this post, I’m relying on the fact that we’re on a boat some safe distance from decent wifi in the middle of the French countryside and thus Mrs 6000 will not see it. It’s not that she’d disagree with my part in the above relationship, but she may well take offence at the description of her tacited suggested position.

(Even though Lucy absolutely nailed it.)

[hides]

15 months later…

…and while I was away this weekend, this idea was floated (no pun intended) once more.

Cue several (or more) twitter messages, a couple of twitter DMs and even a Whatsapp.

The news story in question details an ambitious plan to capture an iceberg and then tow it to Cape Town before mining it and selling it to the city to enhance the pitiful local water supply.

But only 10% of “their” “idea” is original.
The other 90%, hidden beneath the surface, blatantly rips me off.

In fact, the only two differences between this consortium’s recently announced proposed methodology and mine from 15 months ago, is that they plan to leave their iceberg out at sea and pump water to tankers to bring it ashore (I’m going to flatten the Franschhoek Valley and use gravity) and that they (stupidly) haven’t considered offsetting the cost of this challenging project by selling the final product in small bottles to craft brewers and achingly trendy Woodstock residents.

Still, those omissions are to their detriment and are surely not enough to convince any reasonable court of law that this consortium hasn’t ripped off my amazing idea, and thus I’m looking forward to being flush (only when it’s brown though) with cash real soon now.

Water bill

I’ve been quieter about the Cape Town water crisis recently as the threat of Day Zero has all but evaporated (currently put back as far as 9th July). But we’re not out of the woods yet, and nor will we be for at least a couple of years, so saving water is still a hugely important thing to be doing.

Our municipal bill arrived today and I’m really impressed with the efforts our family has made.

That equates to 34.5 litres per person per day, well inside the 50l pppd limit within which we are supposed to be sticking. (Just as well, looking at how expensive those last 2.2kl were.)

And that’s not even including the beagle, which has a Category 4 water utilisation rating: notoriously hydroconsumptive.

This most recent meter reading has helped me understand two things: firstly, there’s the realisation that it can be done. You can live a “Western” lifestyle on less than 50 litres of water each day. Sure, it’s not as straightforward as life without water restrictions, and in fact some of it is actually a bit of a pain, but it can be done. Secondly, it’s made me realise just how blasé we were about using water previously. And fair enough, to be honest, because there was actually plenty of it to go around.

I suspect that I’m not alone in these epiphanies, and whether or not Cape Town runs out of water in a couple of months time, the habits of thousands – possibly even millions – of residents will have been forever changed.

And that’s got to be good news.

 

UPDATE: There have been some questions. I’m happy to answer them.

No, we were not away on holiday. We didn’t even go away for a weekend. We were here every day.

Yes, a beagle. I know.

I checked back to an old bill for the same period in 2012: pre-water restrictions. I was amazed to find that this bill represents a 94% reduction in the amount of water we used, compared to then.
i.e. We used as much water in just 40 hours in February 2012 as we did in the whole 29 day period this year. Equal parts of incredible and terrifying.

Yes, I’ve double checked. Yes, it’s amazing.

We’re not really doing anything too draconian, just being very aware every time a tap gets turned on. It’s clearly working.

And no, we’re not SEWing. In fact, since the kids are banned from using drinking water from their school, we’ve been giving them more to take from home.