Worrying about water


I posted this image on the right quite a while back, and it feels more appropriate now than ever before. I’m so incredibly concerned about the water issues in Joburg and what worries me most is everyone’s apparent indifference to it.

In environmental circles a few years ago, there were warnings of drought and predictions of water restrictions. No one outside of those circles really listened. Share a predictive date that’s 5 or 10 years away and it’s apparently so removed from anyone’s reality that it’s not taken seriously. There are theories out there that say the human brain isn’t able to take threats seriously until they are imminent – but now that we have the very real threat of a lack of water, the average Joe still doesn’t appear to be taking it seriously.

Yes, there have been a few news articles in the paper, and the odd interview on radio. There’s the odd water-related hashtag floating about and most people are aware of the 6am-6pm restrictions. What’s missing for me however are the conversations around it, the mobility of the masses around it, or support from media and business. Very few appear to be talking about this issue with any sense of urgency.

Don’t we care? Don’t we understand? Is it not newsworthy enough? Or am I just not tuned into the right channels?

Admittedly, I actively insulate myself from everyday news channels, but the pertinent issues always rise out of the noise for me to find out about. In fact, I’ve found it a very effective way of filtering out the bullshit. So, the fact that I don’t hear much about our water crisis without actively going to look for the info, worries me greatly. It feels like the water issue and social encouragement to behave responsibly with our water supply is not finding a way to be heard, shared and acted upon.

Am I alone in feeling this way? Please let me know – I’d love to be proven wrong on this issue. I’d love to hear that everyone else is as concerned as I am.

About water

It’s National Water Week this week so of course I feel that it’s my duty to help you learn more about water… I’m starting off with this infographic about the global water footprint. It’s a little old – the data is from 2010 – but it’s doubtful that too much has changed. The bottom line is that worldwide there is very little freshwater available for us to use – and we’re very demanding and wasteful with water. Take a read and pause for thought on just how much water you use on a daily basis.

Global Water FootprintInfographic via waterfootprint.org


Virtual water – discover how much water you eat

“What if I told you that you EAT 3.496 litres of water every day?”  That’s the best opening line I’ve heard in a while… and that’s just how a great little website about Virtual Water begins.

The site, which is cleanly and simply designed (and brilliantly coded), goes on to explain where all our non-obvious water usage comes from and just how much water is used in the food we eat – particularly in beef. It concludes with a few solutions to reduce our impact and options to share with the world – which I suggest you should definitely do!

If you do nothing else today, you simply must go and check out this website! http://www.angelamorelli.com/water/#

Time to think about water


It was National Water week in SA this past week, with International Water Day coming up on the 22, making March the month to focus on your water usage.

Living in the cities we tend to take access to clean water for granted. We have running water in our houses and we can simply turn on the tap and it’s there in apparent abundance. But we need to remind ourselves that we are actually part of the mere 20% of Africans who have the luxury of piped water directly into our houses.
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Stop that drip!


My other half and I have been watching the *dismal* Rugby tri-nations the past few Saturdays at our local Cafe Nescafé – the games are on so early in the morning that it suits a long leisurely breakfast and coffee while watching the games (we don’t have satellite tv – so if we want to watch events like this we have to go somewhere – and the pub isn’t my first choice at 9 in the morning!)

Anyway, I used their ladies room while I was there, and when I tried to turn on the taps to wash my hand I initially though they were switched off or sealed. I know a number of places do that with the hot water tap, but surely the cold worked? So I turned it as hard as I could and voila, it opened. Once I had to close it though I realised why it has been so tightly closed – it was dripping! I could not close it as tight as whoever had managed to do it before, so left it dripping and went to chat to the manager to ask if he could please get someone to have a look at it and to change the washer so that not only could his lady customers actually use the basin, but he’d be saving himself money and water.

The first thing he did was start rambling on about the water pressure in Sunninghill (which I know is a disaster), but when I pointed out that it had nothing to do with water pressure – that he just needed a handyman to replace the washer, he got a bit sort of disinterested and even a little iffy. I politely thanked him for his time and walked away feeling a little sad that he clearly didn’t care much. My feeling is that I don’t expect it will be fixed anytime soon.

When we visit there next, you just know I’m going to go check on that tap!

Hope you don’t have any dripping taps in your home or office – if so, please make a plan to get them seen to as soon as possible. Water is a very precious resource, especially in SA.

Do you drink bottled water?

I certainly don’t unless I’m in a place where I have no access to any taps and the bottled water is my last option. And I probably would only resort to bottled water if I was in a country that I knew had a dodgy water supply. I just don’t see the point of buying water when I can get the same quality for free and, of course, I like to avoid creating more plastic waste.

The lovely people from The Story of Stuff, have released a new animation about “The Story of Bottled Water“. Take a watch – it’s great – and if you do drink bottled water, this hopefully will give you pause for thought and encourage you to make the switch back to the tap.