So I took a drive to the Theewaterskloof Dam last week to check it out for myself.
I’m aware of the daily dam level reports and I understand the mayor is personally visiting water wasters now.
The Theewaterskloof Dam is at around 20% full, but I needed to understand what that means in real terms.
Since I still see garden sprinklers being used, cars being washed and people generally not caring about their water use, I wanted to see for myself just how bad it really is.
Well, it’s beyond bad, people! In fact, calling it a “crisis” or a “disaster” is putting it mildly.
The Theewatersklooof Dam supplies 60% of our drinking water, and we use a lot of it.
In fact, the Cape Metro consumes around 35 000 litres of water per second. That’s an average-sized swimming pool. Every second!
There are talks of an epic drought that’s going to hit us all this summer and that could mean us queueing up in front of council tankers to collect our daily rations of water.
It strikes me that many people don’t really believe this, perhaps because they can’t understand what all these percentages mean.
It’s also not a reality, because we open our taps and the water mos flows, so where is this supposed crisis that everybody is talking about?
I needed something a bit more tangible than percentages and scare tactics that doesn’t appear to be doing anything.
We are told to use less than 87 litres of water per person per day, but I reckon most people don’t really bother to measure.
By going to Cape Town’s lifeline dam, I was hoping to bring you evidence and hopefully a sobering report of what I saw.
The manager of the local boating club drove me to the middle of the dam.
In any other winter, we would have needed diving gear to stand at the bottom. But this time, it looked like a desert.
He explained to me that there’s supposed to be 13 metres of water over our heads.
At another point, we walked to the buoy where he would usually anchor his little boat.
Normally we would have to swim 100 metres to get there. Instead, we were standing on dry land and the shoreline was 130 metres in the other direction.
What little water there is in the dam is already exposing pieces of land that are usually under water.
Birds are standing knee-deep in the dam water, where they would normally be swimming.
It was like standing on the set of Mad Max.
Now I understand what they mean when they say the Theewaterskloof Dam is only 20% full.
It means if we don’t reduce our water usage as a matter of urgency, water tanker queues are going to be our reality in the very near future.
And unfortunately, we are all going to suffer the consequences of those who are being wasteful.
And I now believe that those consequences are real; not just words meant to scare us.
I have seen it for myself and if you still don’t believe it, I would encourage you to drive out to the dam to look for yourself.
It’s time to stop flushing your toilet every time, washing your hair every day, throwing your clothes into the wash after having worn it just once and washing your precious car every week.
Because they say future wars are not going to be fought over oil or gold, but rather over water. We can work towards not getting there!