Everyone is concerned about water - or the lack thereof. Many places in South Africa (and throughout the world) are experiencing semi-to-fully drought-like conditions. Due to corruption, which leads to "lack" of funds for infrastructure - even the most basic infrastructure which is enshrined in our Constitution - namely, water - is not provided to too many homes in this country.
This results, in some cases, in the residents having to walk long distances in order to collect water in whatever containers they have, and carry those heavy water filled containers home again. A cleansing, rejuvenating refreshing and soothing bath or shower - those are probably a luxury those residents have probably never known.
Can you imagine going without a bath or shower? I can't.
Near us is a village called Suurbraak. It is a small village with a long history which dates back to the time of the London Missionary Society and which has a population of roughly 2 500 inhabitants.
Suurbraak is situated in a valley on the windward (seaward) side of the Langeberg Mountains, meaning their rainfall is higher than that which falls on the leeward side (Barrydale) of the mountain. They get roughly 450 - 500mm of rain a year - falling throughout the year. Actually, they get more than we do - we often sit on our front veranda and watch much needed rain falling in Suurbraak and pray that it will come our way. Which it often doesn't.
|As you can see, since I started keeping a rainfall|
record we are averaging over 600mm of rain / year.
And, it is, mostly, spread throughout the year.
Some (very few) of the residents properties back onto the Suurbraak River from which they can obtain lei water (a pumped water allowance for a stipulated number of hours of river water / week) which is used to water their crops / livestock. Those residents are sitting in the pound seats as those properties are situated in the lowest part of the village and they also get municipal water provided to them - for household consumption.
Municipal water is also provided to roughly half way up the little valley slope.
But, those who live in the upper reaches of the valley have no municipal water. I presume they have to fetch their own water from a central distribution point.
They have an ongoing battle with the authorities regarding the provision of water to their homes. Apparently, it would require the provision and installation of a fairly substantial pump in order to get water up to the upper reaches of the village. Which costs money, naturally.
Back to fraud and corruption... (sigh)
That is where my light bulb moment comes in to play.
|Two of our 8 X 5 000lt tanks which catch,|
and store, rainwater from our roof area
Standing in the bathroom, hearing rainwater plinking into the rainwater tanks which are situated outside the window, the thought just seemed to come naturally.
If, instead of bemoaning the cost of installing a pump, why on earth don't the 'powers that be' provide those residents with 5 000lt rain water tanks, a downpipe and a section of guttering? Everyone has a structure, no matter how basic, which has a roof which collects water when it rains. This water falls pathetically from the roof, onto the ground, runs down the streets, and lands in the river.
What a bloody waste of precious water!!!
Every single mm of rain which falls equals 1 lt of water per square mtr of roof surface. That means a roof area exposed, like Suurbraak, to 600ml rain / year - even a small one of say 48mtrs2 (6 X 8mtr) would collect 28 800 ltrs of rain water a year.
Providing every household with a rain water tank will ensure that at least 5 000 ltrs / household will be captured and can be used (after boiling) for household use. Thus alleviating the necessity of mainly wives / mothers / children having to schlep heavy water filled containers, and giving those individual households some modicum of self-reliance.
That would also give those households a sense of achievement, pride and responsibility (keeping their gutters clean, ensuring they are in good working order).
It would give them some degree of water freedom.
At the moment, the tanks are selling (retail) for ZAR1.00 / lt, so a 5 000lt tank costs +/- ZAR5 000. If the 'powers that be' had to place a (national) order for 1 000 000 tanks the cost would surely come down - even if only by 25% or ZAR3 750.00 / tank - if not more...?
Plus that kind of order would create jobs. Win-win in my book.
Surely that would be cheaper than setting up a pumping station for 250 - 400 homes in Suurbraak?
And, for those really rural areas where municipal water will definitely never be a reality, that would be a Godsend!
Why don't people think laterally, instead of letting obstacles get in their way...?