Tiny urban traces

Jul 25 2012 07:48
Adriaan Bester

WHILE parts of Cape Town's famous fan walk this weekend turned into currents of handsome mountain rivers, the skies above connived to paint a ceiling familiar to our visitors from Manchester.

A far cry from the bright pictures we print boldly on postcards to promise pure and pleasant playtime, as we remain devoted to satisfy the needs of visiting teams, up to and including a few local supporters to cheer them along.

In the same week, a warm berg wind in Simonstown swept reality back into our doorstep as a massive veld fire erupted between two weekends of deluge, a reminder of how quickly the elements of nature can turn the tables.

And how few sunrays it takes to change the face of our soil.

The size of the watermark I intend leaving while visiting this planet (in this round) is now gauged in the shower-time I allocate myself. Flummoxed by the insatiable thirst we have universally for this source, I quizzed my own impact on dropping water levels.

Taking a longer-term view on things then, as I do, I returned from the slippery fan walk to count every costly minute in the shower, mindful of the recharge my body needs.

With aching muscles flexing after a cycle back from the office, or the desire to de-fume my body from soaked quasi corporate-turn-commuter outfits, a daily step into the soothing spray is a bonus I cherish with rich prospects.

To notch down a bar on my built-in guilt meter, I now shower using 1.6 less litres of water per minute that escapes through the cracks of civilisation as it trickles into the sewerage network.

Attending Sanlam's launch of their renewed partnership with WWF SA to find ways of saving water, I was introduced to a clever little valve that inserts into the shower head to minimise the flow of water, while not impacting the pressure.

A big promise from a little screw to a guy that hardly knew a showerhead can be detached.

Applying calmness, dressed in designer gumboots and sandy goggles from a summer gone by, I steadily stepped closer to the object of water dispensation.

Ready to face the spout of water I imagined to be released, I was bothered only by a little voice that asked if I should not have closed the main valve that connects me to the river in the mountain above.

My personal protective equipment (PPE) seemed non-compliant with applicable safety, heath and environmental (SHE) standards. And yet, I proceeded in the hope that my selfless bravery will be rewarded in future happy faces, and fuller dams.

Not a single drop spilled as I slipped the valve into the easily detachable showerhead with sweaty office hands.

I remain in awe of plumbing technology that has advanced beyond my mediocre expectations, paving my bold step into the adult world of DIY.

Fast forward to this weekend as I counted the drops I've been saving in conversation with a home designer friend.

She tells me of a property in Cape Town where a mystery leak has resulted in the loss of 130 000 kiloliters of water in one month.

While I can't do the exact maths, I could work out that this is equal to a jolly long shower that will rinse a few weary cycle commuters of my ilk.

And while she remains resolute to track and tape down that nasty leak, my perfectly timed showers spring to mind the need for a wider sentience of the (not so) tiny splashes we make in our daily use.

 - Fin24

When he’s not saving the planet one drop at a time, Adriaan slides down Twitter as @aiBester where, amongst other things, he co-ponders about the @futurecapetown.

cape town



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