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.

Still not raining

Look, we’ve covered this before.

We noted the city’s request for prayers here:

Why haven’t our religious leaders been praying for rain already? And if they have, where’s the evidence? Who’s withholding the damn rain anyway, and why?

And we added a touch of sarcasm here:

Tamboerskloof vicar Rev. Denise Woodhouse stated that she had been instructed by her senior clergy to hold off any specific reference to rain in her Sunday prayers “until April or May”.
When it was pointed out to her that this was rather convenient timing, given that that’s when the seasonal rains usually begin anyway, she replied, “Yes, isn’t God amazing?” and hurried off to help with pouring the tea at the Women’s Auxiliary meeting.

But the weird thing is that with just n days of water left, people are still genuinely suggesting that prayer is the answer to the current water crisis:

Exactly what do these people think is responsible for this crisis? The underlying cause of the lack of water is simply a lack of rain.

Given that we are advised to “put our faith in God as He is the only one who can save us from the catastrophe” (as He did just after that day of prayer about 30 years ago), I’m left wondering why He hasn’t done something about this already.

Is He really sitting up there in heaven, omnipotent, but waiting for us all to worship a bit harder before He sends any precipitation to Cape Town? Are the recent floods in Gauteng a sign that they prayed harder or better than we did, or is He just trolling?

Behold what I am capable of, just up the N1! Enough rain to fill their dams (and sweep innocent schoolchildren to their deaths), but no: you’re not having any until you get yourselves to church and beg for it. And, if you’ve already been to church and begged for it, then go again and beg a bit harder.

And then, when it does eventually rain, you will praise me for granting you watery salvation, conveniently overlooking all the times I ignored your repeated and increasingly desperate prayers over the past few months.

But that’s exactly what Ilze Müller and her kind will do: drowning (pun intended) in religious confirmation bias, defending the indefensible, brainwashed and blinkered.

Still, if I can get an afternoon off work on the strength of pretending to participate in their ludicrous charade, I’m obviously all for it.

Water Crisis Solved

In order to understand the thinking behind my idea what has just single-handedly solved the local water crisis, you need to be aware of a couple of points.

Point 1: There is a water crisis in Cape Town. I may have repeatedly mentioned the drought and the ongoing – and constantly more stringent – water restrictions somewhere on the blog previously.
The dams are down to 37%. We need water.

Point 2: There’s an absolutely massive chunk of ice about to fall off Antarctica.

Beagle-eyed readers might already see where I’m going with this, but you’re too late. I’ve emailed everyone who matters in this (fairly obvious with hindsight) plan of mine. Stakeholders and roleplayers are on board. Some of them quite literally.
I’m talking about the Smit Amandla Marine Salvage (and now Iceberg Towing) guys; I’m talking about the Mayor of the Cape Town, Patricia “Peppermint Patty” de Lille (I also gave Empress Helen a buzz, just to keep her in the loop); and I’m talking about several local artisanal gin manufacturers, who – together with their tonic making colleagues – would surely not want to miss out on this opportunity to have pristine Antarctic ice freshly-delivered right to their metaphorical doorstep, courtesy of global warming and the newly-formed 6000 miles… Ice Company (Pty) Ltd.

I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and I reckon that the distance from the Larsen C Ice Shelf (for it is that what is breaking) to Cape Town is a distance of about 6000…. [audience hold breath expectantly] …kilometres [audience sighs with disappointment].

That’s not so far, and the amount of ice that’s going to break off, while difficult to accurately estimate, is certainly substantial enough to warrant the effort of towing it to Cape Town. The depth of the broken ice shelf is almost a kilometre, and it’s going to be between 120-150km long and about 75km wide.

A further rudimentary calculation suggests that it therefore has a volume of 8,400,000,000 cubic metres. That’s 8.4 billion megalitres. Moist.
We can’t (and mustn’t) get carried away though. Remember that ice is an expanded version of water. A version of water that’s 9.05% expanded.

So we’re actually going to get 76.02 billion megalitres. Still, at 800Ml usage per day, that’s still enough to keep us going for 9½ million days, or just over 26,000 years.

Yeah. Some of it might melt on the way, I know. Whatevs.
So let’s round it off to a nice 25,000 years of clean, fresh, pure water.

Still got to be worth it.

There are a couple of logistical challenges to overcome, I admit. It’s quite close to Argentina and they might want it, but then again, so are the Falkland Islands and they want them too, but they’re not having them. Or my ice shelf. Hard luck.

Then there’s the issue of where to store it. Ideally, what we need is a nice long, deep, three-sided valley that we can build a big wall across the end of. Franschhoek will do. Franschhoek, with its outrageous faux French accents and that ridiculous double H nonsense in the middle.

True, we’ll lose one of the scenic gems of the Cape, some of the best restaurants in the world and some truly amazing wine farms…

…but on the plus side, we’ll have water for the next 250 centuries.
A worthwhile sacrifice, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Au revoir.

This particular idea is mine, but the genre is not new. As this article informs us:

Long-distance iceberg towing is one of those ideas that will not die but never really springs to life either. It exists in a kind of technological purgatory, dressed up in whatever technology is fashionable during an epoch and resold to a happily gullible media.

Pretty much what I just did in the 450 words above, then. And pretty much what Hult and Ostrander did in 96 pages back in 1973. True, their idea has never caught on in the 44 intervening years, but then they never had the power of social media available to make their case.
And once you get some middle-aged white people in Constantia – desperately concerned at the state of their lawns – on your side, once you get Facebook groups and online petitions going, once you bombard Cape Talk and Carte Blanche, those bastions of public opinion, with your fantastic plan to provide water for the Cape for the next nine and a half million days, (and once you’ve silenced the whinging residents of Franschhoek) I think we’ll come up with a plan to get the Larsen C Ice Shelf to the Western Cape fairly quickly.

Never forget, dear readers: You heard it here first.