"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday 30 September 2017

Safety first

As you all know we live on a smallholding outside Swellendam, and our water is supplied by Overberg Water (OW) in Heidelberg to one distribution point near our valley on the N2. Between us and OW in Heidelberg are kilometers of main water pipe, which, without fail, during December / January of each year, is damaged by farmers ploughing their land.

When we moved to our smallholding at the end of June 2012 there were about 16-odd permanent residents and 5-odd weekenders.  Since then that figure has grown to 37 permanent residents and 11-odd weekenders.  Additionally, our valley water supply from that one distribution point on the N2 is further distributed, via (unsecured / unlocked) 5 000lt tanks placed strategically around the valley, and, as newcomers purchase their smallholding, and request a water connection, the main valley supply pipe is again severed in order to connect their individual water meter.

All these breaks in the line - whether accidental or intentional - invariably result in foreign matter / contamination entering our water supply.

Both these situations have concerned RMan and I.

We have made alternative arrangements so that we, personally, are more water secure - through our 5 000lt potable water tank, and our 8 X 5 000lt rain water tanks.

But, the tank vulnerability and "foreign matter" still concerned us.  Finally, last week I asked RMan if we could get a combined early Christmas present, and take steps to mitigate that potential problem.
Travel Berkey
We saved up all our pennies and have finally purchased a Travel Berkey. The Berkey water purification elements are so small that they can even filter food colouring out of water and thus "an exponential increase is realised in the efficiency at removing pathogenic bacteria and other waterborne contaminants. Super Sterasyl Ceramic Filters remove pathogenic bacteria, cysts, organic chemicals, chlorine and reduce sediment, turbidity and particulate. Black Berkey Filters do this AND remove lead, MTBEs and other heavy metals." Both filters have similar life span and require similar cleaning.

The farmers round us spray glycophosphates on their land, which obviously, as is the nature of a spray, lands on our roof. Our rainwater will thus probably be contaminated too. But "Black Berkey® Purification Elements will reduce Glyphosate in your water by greater than 75%, exceeding the laboratories reporting limits."

Yes, it is quite an expensive purchase, but the filters will last for 6 000 gallons or 22 600ltrs or - not being spring chickens anymore - they will probably the rest of our lives 😉

And then one of our kids can inherit the system. 😁

Personally, I'm very relieved, because this system will not only provide clean drinking water for us now, but will also allow us to filter our rain water, and even our muddy dam water, if necessary at any time in the future.  Providing the dam is still holding water though...


After I had concluded our purchase, I wrote to the local supplier, Riaan, (http://www.water-purifier.co.za/and asked him is he would be prepared to sponsor a Berkey to a member of a Facebook Group to which I belong.   He very generously has said that he will.  So, for all of you who have a Facebook presence, please, if you live in the Western Cape, join both the Western Cape group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/watersheddingsa/ and the main watchdog group


In order to make yourselves eligible to enter and win this brilliant giveaway.

Those Facebook groups are doing sterling work at assisting everyone to survive the current drought - through sharing important notices from the authorities, and through allowing everyone to pose questions / get answers / share hints and tips from the general public, as well as giveaways such as this.  Please - there are various other groups in other provinces - join your area's group here:

Free State:          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1104758469627319/
Gauteng:             https://www.facebook.com/groups/1409690155743938/
Kwazulu Natal:     https://www.facebook.com/groups/512238275796563/
Mmpumalanga:    https://www.facebook.com/groups/128995167833468/

The Facebook page Admins will be advertising the giveaway shortly.

Finally, if you think it won't happen to you, on Thursday this week the following notice was issued by the Western Cape authorities / government:

The situation is dire.

South Africa - the whole country - is predicted to be hit hard - very hard - by the effects of climate change / global warming.  As with the assistance that farmers are getting from other farmers for feeding their drought affected animals, through helping each other on these groups we will all weather the situation far better by joining our mutual resources / information.

Postscript: I paid in full for my Berkey.  However, I did tell the local distributor, Riaan, that I would mention his company by way of thanking him for his generosity in accepting the giveaway request from a total stranger - me - and for his generosity to the winner of his giveaway.  Please - visit his website and check out the range of Berkey's.  Perhaps one will suit your pocket 😏


  1. We have the 8 litre berkey. As I said before to you, we are from the water table here. Until we get the filters in we are using this, but as it will last for 11 years I think we will continue to filter through the berkey for drinking and cooking, washing teeth. You can never be too careful.

    Thanks to Kymber for alerting me to this bit of kit. It has given us the breathing space to find the right filter and kit to us without having to buy bottled water and the guilt over all of the plastic. :)

    Good for you, for getting a discount for others it shows how much you love the product like we do.

    1. Sol - Yup, kymber recommended the Berkey to me too. However, it has a hefty price tag here, so we had to wit until we purchased it. I thhink what swung the deal for RMan is that it is a well known brand, with a track record, and thus their spare filters are sure to be available for years to come.

      Me - I'm happy to know that finally our potable water is now as clean as it can be :D

  2. Dani - congrats on the Berkey - ours have never let us down! go here and show RMan how he can build a bigger tower with two 5 gallon food-grade buckets and be able to do more water at a time using four filters:


    and THAT is an awesome giveaway!!!! i am sorry about the water situation is SA...it sounds very dire, indeed!

    sending love! your friend,

    1. kymber - Thank you - for introducing me to the Berkey in the first place ;)

      I have shown RMan the link...

  3. I would love a Berkey one day, very jealous. Judging by your water supply situation it sounds like a wise investment.

    1. Kirsty - I've been wanting one for years - very thanksful we now have one ;)

  4. After our recent Hurricane and watching how quickly things for so many went from bad to worse, even though we have well water at the farm, we thought it best to get a filter of some sort. Our goal next year is to get a new roof and gutters and then we're going to work on a rainwater catchment system of some sort. Small at first, bigger on down the road. But I'd love to be able to use rain water if necessary. A few years back we had such a horrible drought, that some wells in the area were drying up. So we're definitely thinking of water filtration.

    I'll have to search Kymber's blog too. Thank you for this info. Will have to check it out.

    Sending rain vibes your way!!! We've certainly had more than enough.

    1. 1st Man - Water security via rain water storage, if allowed in your state, is vital as far as I'm concerned. Find it really strange that in some states it's illegal...! Allowing people to assist themselves by capturing and storing what comes from the heavens - how on earth can that be regulated?

      Thanks 1st Man - will let you know when your vibes work ;)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.