De Lille to host inter-faith prayer for rain on Table Mountain

That’s the headline from iol this morning, and the article underneath it goes on to say that:

The City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille will host an inter-faith gathering of various religious leaders to pray for rain on Thursday at 2pm.

Who’ll be there? Well, various religious leaders including:

representatives from various churches, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Western Cape Christian Ministers’ Association, the Western Cape Traditional Leaders and Cultural Council, the Khoisan Griqua Royal House, the Bahaí Community of South Africa, the Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Centre, and the Hindu and Jewish communities.

Inter-faith indeed. All the major food groups listed there. No atheists, which is a bit awkward in our supposedly secular society, but I guess it might have been awkwarder still (I know) were we represented…

De Lille says:

“The residents and businesses of Cape Town have made great efforts to save water but we have to do more and we especially need the rains to come.”

Right. A few issues here. And I’m not going to spend too long on going through these. I’m too irritated to elaborate on stuff. It’ll involve swearing. Even this condensed version may involve swearing. Seriously, I’m literally just about to write it, and it really feels like it will involve some swearing right now.

1. Prayers don’t work. Evidence for this includes the repeated praying for no more terrorist attacks in Europe.

2. Also that whole Angus Buchan thing on Freedom Day.

3. And the annual SA Police Service prayer day for no more crime.

4. If prayers do actually work, then why didn’t you pray for rain earlier?

5. Oh wait. You did. And it didn’t work.

6. Look, I do realise that just because you’re spending your time doing this, it’s not that more practical solutions aren’t being organised: dams being dredged, other water sources being investigated and the like. But…

7. My rates – including my (understandably) inflated water tariff – are paying for you to attend this crap. And that’s annoying, because no matter what you were doing instead of sitting on the bloody mountain with your friends chatting to their various sky fairies this afternoon, it would offer me and the rest of the city’s ratepayers a far better return for our hard earned money.

8. If, when it rains tomorrow, as it is forecast to do (and as it has been forecast to do all week), and you or your god-bothering mates then claim that your Table Mountain meeting has yielded positive, tangible results, I may just go flipping postal. In a very reserved, British way, obviously.

Very restrained on the language there, well done me.

Look, I know you’re not going to read this, Patricia.
I know you’re not going to read it because you never read my towing an iceberg from Antarctica and dumping it in Franschhoek solution to the current water crisis; a solution which I have implored you to respond to on several occasions; a solution which I made up merely for comedic value, and which – although mathematically sound – is laughably far-fetched, but which would still be a better way of addressing the drought than you wasting everyone’s time and money on shouting at the clouds this afternoon.

What a disgrace.

An Important Message

I’ve blogged, commented and remarked about the Cape Town drought for quite a while now. That because I like to blog, comment and remark on things and the Cape Town drought has been going on for quite a while now.

Problem is: it’s still going on.

With that in mind, and with squeaky bum time well and truly upon us, I’m reproducing this Media Release from the City of Cape Town in full. If you’re a local, give it a read and take a moment to contemplate the contents. This is serious.

Drought crisis warning: Use water only for drinking, washing and cooking

15 May 2017

Dam levels are now at 21,2% (storage levels), which is 0,8% down from a week ago. With the last 10% of a dam’s water mostly not being useable, dam levels are effectively at 11,2%. The latest consumption has jumped up again to 718 million litres, which is 118 million litres over the consumption target of 600 million litres. This communication serves as a critical warning to all water users in Cape Town to cut all non-essential use of water immediately. This is not a drill.

The City of Cape Town warns all residents and businesses in Cape Town to cut non-essential municipal water use immediately. The City’s Mayoral Committee is expected to recommend to Council the implementation of Level 4 water restrictions tomorrow, 16 May 2017. This would entail a ban on all use of municipal water for outside and non-essential purposes.

‘We are essentially saying that you are only allowed to use a bit of water for drinking, cooking and washing. We are reaching a critical point in this drought crisis. Although we continue to work non-stop to force consumption down, overall use remains catastrophically high. This is not a request. We have seen huge saving-efforts, but the unseasonably hot autumn is exacerbating the situation and we must all do more.

‘Rain or shine, we are now at a point where all consumers must use below 100 litres per day. Stop flushing toilets when not necessary, shower for less than two minutes a day or use a wet cloth for a ‘wipe-down’, collect all would-be wasted water and use it to fill up toilet cisterns, among others,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Councillor Xanthea Limberg.

Dredging operations have started at the Voëlvlei Dam to prepare for low-level extraction of water. The City is engaging with the lead authority, the National Department of Water and Sanitation, as a matter of urgency to request dredging operations at Theewaterskloof Dam too.

The City continues with its pressure reduction programmes across the metro which forcibly reduces supply at a given time. Other emergency interventions are under way, and if required, the City will start to implement a lifeline supply of water across the metro.

‘In a severe drought such as what we are dealing with, the only real immediate intervention is to cut usage. Over this coming week, we must bring consumption down with 100 million litres of water per day. The City also warns businesses to start implementing contingency and alternative water measures in their own operations,’ said Councillor Limberg.

Use water only for drinking, washing and cooking:

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary. Don’t use it as a dustbin. ‘If it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down’
  • Take a short 2-minute shower. A standard (non –water-saving) showerhead can use as much as 16 litres per minute
  • Collect your shower, bath and basin water and re-use it to flush your toilet, and for the garden and cleaning. *Greywater use has some health and hygiene risks you must avoid. Keep hands and surface areas sanitised/disinfected.
  • Defrost foods in the fridge or naturally rather than placing it under running water
  • Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen, for brushing teeth, shaving, drinking etc.
  • Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.
  • Switch to an efficient showerhead which uses no more than 10 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.
  • Upgrade to a multi-flush toilet and/or put a water displacement item in the cistern which can halve your water use per flush.
  • Fit taps with aerators or restrictors to reduce flow to no more than 6 litres per minute, as per the City’s by-law.

How to check for leaks on your property:

1.    Close all taps on the property and don’t flush the toilets
2.    Check and record your meter reading
3.    Wait 15 minutes and record the meter reading
4.    If there is a difference in your meter reading, you have a leak
5.    Call a plumber if it is not a DIY job

One leaking toilet wastes between about 2 600 and 13 000 litres per month, depending on the flow rate of the leak. A leaking tap wastes between about 400 and 2 600 litres per month.

Residents can contact the City via email to water@capetown.gov.za for queries or to report contraventions of the water restrictions (evidence should be provided to assist the City’s enforcement efforts) or they can send an SMS to 31373.

For further information, residents should please visit the water restrictions page on the City’s website: www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater
End

Published by:
City of Cape Town, Media Office

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and:
End

Published by:
6000.co.za

Cape Town Water Restrictions to be extended?

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.

Relax. The water is fine.

Hypochondriacs and Munchausen’s Syndrome sufferers across Cape Town were yesterday distressed to learn that the drinking water in the city remains of excellent quality and was therefore not to blame for their imaginary symptoms.

“It’s going to be so difficult to find something else to whine about. The tie in between the water running out and that mild tummy ache I had for about 20 minutes last Wednesday was just so obvious,” said occasional mild tummy ache sufferer Genevieve Snowflake of Constantia.

Her views were echoed by other local overly-dramatic attention seekers:
“I did two poos yesterday, whereas I usually only do one poo each day. The second one was pretty small, but still, it’s out of character for me and I was convinced that it was all down to the Ebola in the tap water,” delicate gastrofairy Abraham Muller of Sea Point told us.
“Now I find that it was probably nothing, and I’ll probably have to go back to work again tomorrow.”

City Spokesperson Priya Unready stated: “Rightfully, much has been made of the Cape Town water crisis, but just because we only have 3½ months of water left, doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly going to stop treating the stuff coming through your taps. Aside from our legal responsibility to makes sure that the drinking water in the city is safe, why would we want to make everyone sick? That doesn’t come close to making any sense, and frankly, you’d have to be extremely stupid to believe it.”

But extremely stupid people remained unconvinced:

“It’s a plot by the Zionist leaders to kill us all via imaginary enteritis!” said weak-coloned Parklands resident Alarmed Dyomfana.
“Tony Ehrenreich told me that they all have shares in the bottled water companies and that’s how they’re going to take over the world.”

The City released this media statement:

With declining dam levels, water quality enquiries from members of the public are naturally increasing. We would like to assure residents that the water remains safe to drink. Water quality is closely monitored via a large number of water samples analysed according to the stringent South African National Standards (SANS 241:2015) requirements.

which also contained the subtext:

Oh. My. Actual. God.
I really cannot believe we have to write this down for you. Honestly, how absolutely, utterly f****** brainless do you have to be to think that we’d just randomly switch off all the water treatment works and leave you drinking what would be essentially muddy rainwater and baboon piss which had been stored for a few weeks in a big sandpit near Grabouw?
Jesus. I’ve got a Diploma in Public Relations from CPUT. I deserve so much better than having to write this crap. Morons.

Ian Ailing, the chairman of the Western Cape Hypochondriac Association was too unwell to meet with us in person, but briefly spoke to us from his sickbed:
“The City should have told us this before. We’re always on the lookout for things to blame our make-believe maladies on. Now they’ve made us all look even more silly. But look, if it wasn’t the water, then it must have been the vol-au-vents at Cynthia’s garden party on Saturday. I’m sorry. I have to go now. Literally.”

Dam scary

Please do click through to Wessel Wessels’ album of photographs taken at the Theewaterskloof Dam (the largest of the six main dams that supply water to Cape Town). It makes for sobering viewing:

Theewaterskloof is currently just 25% full.
Not this bit of it, obviously.
This bit isn’t full at all.