It was like a doomsday prophecy had been dealt upon Cape Town and its people by the Rain Gods themselves. Suddenly, households across the city were gripped by the fear of this looming D-Day or “Day Z” as I like to call it, scrambling in preparation for an apparent moment when the taps would run dry.
And, as in any crisis, people were prompted into action.
Scores of people braved snaking queues at the Newlands Spring, stores could barely keep up with the demand for bottled water and wet wipes and hand sanitizer became a necessity item on grocery lists. My own mother became a “Water Warrior” – I jokingly dubbed her as a self-appointed member of the “water police” – as she started monitoring and guarding our greywater usage as if she was being paid by the Hawks.
But as we drew nearer to Day Zero, its commencement was not to be. The date kept being pushed back until politicians recently claimed that we would not feel its wrath this year of 2018, if – and only if – we continue our water-saving tactics. And it is indeed these bolstered efforts which saw our water consumption drop to nearly half of the over a billion litres we’d been using daily.
Each person’s contribution, however small, should not be taken lightly but rather valued and reflected upon.
In our own office, like I’m sure many across Cape Town, everyone’s become water-friendlier. My desk is adorned with a succulent which rarely needs any watering and there’s hand and surface sanitizer. Datafin Co-director Bev Sollinger, frequently stocks up our server room with a few litres of bottled water from a neighbouring spring. She believes that the water crisis “is an example of how collective consciousness can bring about change or in this case sustainability.”
“This is not something one family out of three must do, every single person out there needs to make their contribution to saving water in order to elongate the time we have with our taps running,” she added.
These often inconvenient and unpleasant adjustments to the way we operate with water have by no means been fun, but it has proven one significant thing. Where there is a collective effort – just as in any team of Developers or Designers – you yield results.