Last night we had a preview of what it will be like on a “DRY” run – if you will pardon the pun.
At about 18h00 we, like many others, found that there was not one drop of water coming out any of the taps. There was general panic in our little complex. We hadn’t been expecting this. We hadn’t been warned. There was no email, Whatsapp message or any communication from the people in authority. In fact we were on our own.
NO WATER. AMEN
Most assumed that despite the reassurances that Cape Town had water until 4th June, the reality of being without water had come to being reality. Our worst fears had been realized. What now? Most of us, those with foresight that is, and I think most caring people have done this, had stored a certain quantity of water in case of emergencies.
Our problem, was therefore, not the fact that the taps had run dry, but how long were we going to be in this situation? Most people would have about 50 litres on hand, enough for one person for one day if you take the reckoning of the Municipality as being accurate.
No joke. Want to make a meal? Use some of your fifty litres. The dishes? What do do about them. Do you use your 50 litres for this, or do you stack the plates, having wiped them as best you could with some roller towel? Want to make a cup of tea? Fill the kettle with up to two litres of water? No way. That is far too much to waste. Use just the minimum.
Personal hygiene. Has anybody in your family got a runny tummy? Heaven forbid. That could use up your whole water supply for the day on one or two flushes, because your grey water will not last for longer than that either.
Bedtime! Probably the best solution when you have no water. But then how to brush your teeth? Use more of your precious water, especially to clean your brush afterwards. And you need at least to have a good wash seeing that a shower is impossible. More water gone, although if you are resourceful, and most of us are by now, you take that water and pour it into a basin to wash your undies at least. But you are feeling a little chilly. Your feet are cold. No, you can’t just soak them in lovely warm soapy water. Oh no. Out come the socks, which in the next twenty four hours you are going to have to wash again, in that non-existent water.
I think the most annoying thing in this whole situation was that we had no forewarning. We hadn’t been able to prepare ourselves for it. So typically being me, I was on the phone to the Municipality ready to do battle with their perceived lack of caring for their ratepayers. Well, luckily something told me to be more polite, more caring, more considerate of others. Fighting talk was not going to help either me or them.
Quietly I described out plight, enquiring even more quietly whether this was now Day Zero, or whether there was some other reason.The young lady called Monique who answered my call asked all those questions about who, where, municipal account number etc. She then went off for a moment before returning to tell me that (a) it was not Day Zero arriving months ahead of schedule, but (b) although inconvenient at the moment and she was sorry she could not give me better news, but that the switch to the Sunnydale area where we live was faulty and that the technicians had been working all day trying to repair it. They had apparently been so busy with the repair that they had not had time to deliver the bad news to the people who needed to spread it to us. Hence, dear Monique was very sympathetic and most apologetic.
When I told her that all this must be making her life difficult as she was now bearing the brunt of calls from irate customers, I could hear the smile in her voice as she agreed with me. Then I said thank you for being so efficient and I am sure the smile must have got bigger and we closed off with me telling her that I hoped it would be sorted out soon and that she was to enjoy her evening.
To bed, to sleep and this morning, those technicians must have waved their fairy wand over everything because this morning the taps were once again delivering our life giving water.
And to paraphrase the situation, it has certainly given us water for thought!.