Could you please pray a bit harder?

Last week’s plea from the City of Cape Town to religious leaders to pray for rain already appears to be paying damp dividends. A quick check on my Weatherbomb widget suggests that we’re in for some precipitation tomorrow, just a few (or a couple) of days after religious gatherings across the region:

Just look at that purple mound over Tues. Wetness! Moisture! But – couldn’t we do a bit better? Because a cross check with Windguru indicates that Cape Town should expect a grand total of [big drum roll]…

1.4mm of rain tomorrow!

[sad trombone]

Of course, there will be local variations. Newlands will get more than 1.4mm, Durbanville probably won’t get any rain whatsoever. But overall, it’s simply not good enough, religious leaders. Please pray harder.

But then, beagle-eyed readers will be already pointing to next week’s forecast: a week away to next Sunday into Monday – look at the veritable mountain of violet. JUST LOOK AT IT!
It’s early days, but it’s still rain! However, looking at Windguru, it seems that we can expect a monstrous 4.2mm of precipitation on that occasion.

Every little helps, I know. But… but really?

I hope I’m not alone in my simultaneous gratitude and chastisement of our local religious leaders. Right now, I’m happy that we’re going to have a cooler, damper day tomorrow. And I’m delighted that there are seven hours of next week which look even more moist.

But can we organise more volume and greater frequency, please? Up the ante a little? Because 5.6mm over 7 days isn’t going make a jot of difference in reality. Please – no floods or anything (I don’t have an ark), just a few days (not forty) of decent, wetting rain so that the plants don’t all die off completely and so that we can still have a bath come April?

Get it together, guys. Honestly.

How to snitch

And by snitching, I mean ratting, singing like a canary, squeaking, finking, tipping off. I mean:

to secretly tell someone in authority that someone else has done something bad, often in order to cause trouble.

The “bad thing” in this case being breaking the water restrictions, the “authority” being the City of Cape Town, and the “trouble” being a phat phine for being naughty.

I’m not saying you must. I’m not saying you mustn’t. I’m merely saying that a lot of people have posed the question of how they would (hypothetically) go about it, and I’m sharing my knowledge. Think of me as a facilitator.

The City has made it quite easy for you to be an Informer (ya’ no say daddy me Snow me I go blame, a licky boom boom down.)

When reporting people who ignore water restrictions you must provide as much evidence as possible related to the incident.
Photographs and precise details are vital.

If there is scant evidence, the city will still warn an alleged wrongdoer that they have received a tip off. However, the city can only fine if it has evidence.

Here’s how to report noncompliance with water restrictions:

Call 0860 103 089 (choose option two: water related faults)

Use the city’s Service Requests Tool

Send an email to [email protected]

SMS 31373 (max of 160 characters)

Knock yourself out. Or don’t.
No-one likes a grass (especially if it’s dried out and brown).

3b (or not 3b?)

It looks like the City of Cape Town, aghast that their current water restrictions and increased pricing seems to have had no effect on consumption (although presumably less concerned by the R33 million in extra revenue they’ve made from it), are going to move to Level 3b water restrictions.

Basically, this is just a more draconian version of the current Level 3 restrictions, including:

Watering/irrigation (with municipal drinking water) of flower beds, lawns, vegetables and other plants, sports fields, parks and other open spaces is allowed only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property and only if using a bucket or watering can. No use of hosepipes or any sprinkler systems allowed.
Currently, you can water whenever you want, but only with a bucket or watering can.

No watering/irrigation is allowed within 48 hours of rainfall that provides adequate saturation. Facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or well-points are not exempt.
That’s up from the current 24 hours.

No washing of vehicles or boats using municipal drinking water is allowed. Vehicles and boats must be washed with non-potable water or washed at a commercial carwash.
Currently, you may wash your vehicle at home with a bucket.

In addition, the City is promising stricter policing of the restrictions, including investigating the top 20,000 water users in the metro, “the majority of whom reside in formal areas of the metro”.

The question is, why haven’t the City been doing more already? More communication, more education, more enforcement?

But then they make this vow:

We are also requesting our religious leaders to pray for rain.

Well, that’ll make it all ok then. Quite astonishing.

Why haven’t our religious leaders been praying for rain already? And if they have, where’s the evidence? Who’s withholding the damn rain anyway, and why? What sort of God would do that, killing all the plants, creating conditions favourable for the spread of wildfires, making our food more expensive and our daily lives more miserable?

When it doesn’t rain again, because praying is a complete waste of time, the new restrictions seems likely to come in to force on 1st February 2017.

Level 3 Water Restrictions For Cape Town

Yep. “Just” 11 months after putting the Level 2 water restrictions in place, and with a disappointingly dry winter behind us, the City’s Mayco has approved the implementation of Level 3 restrictions from 1st November 2016. That’s because you and I haven’t saved enough water this year.
Victim-blaming hat on:

Cape Town residents as a whole did not achieve the consistent 10% reduction in water use that was mandated from 1 January 2016. If we continue to use water as we did on Level 2 restrictions over the coming summer months, the dams are at risk of falling to 15% by the end of the summer period. Following on, if we experience poor rainfall next rainy season, we could find our dams at approximately 50% this time next year.

The dam levels have slipped slightly again this week – their second successive weekly fall, and although it’s not by much, it’s still not by much the wrong way. Unless something dramatic happens, our “high” at the end of winter will have been a worrying 62.5%.

Chez 6000, we’ve already been washing with a bucket on the shower floor to collect the “spare” grey water, which then goes on the garden each morning. But apparently it’s simply not been enough.
“SO MANY BUCKETS THOUGH!!!!” he wailed.

In basic terms, what these means is that the more water you use, the more you will pay – at higher tariffs too, but if you can reduce your usage by 20%, you should pay no more than you are already paying (but for less water, obviously).
Oh – and there are some other really important additional new rules too:

 – Watering/irrigation (with drinking water from municipal supply) of gardens, lawns, flower beds and other plants, vegetable gardens, sports fields, parks and other open spaces is allowed only if using a bucket or watering container. No use of hosepipes or automatic sprinkler systems is allowed.

– Cars and boats may only be washed with water from buckets.

– Manual topping up of swimming pools is allowed only if pools are fitted with a pool cover. No automatic top-up systems are allowed.

– No portable play pools are permitted to be used.

What remains to be seen is whether any of this will be policed or whether the city will simply rely on those higher bills to deter excessive water usage. Since that approach evidently didn’t work on the Level 2 restrictions, I wonder if they will actually be doing something about people not obeying the rules this summer?

More than half

Good news from Cape Town’s previously much maligned dams this week as the latest figures, released a few moments ago (we can like to bring you the good news first), show that we now have 53.7% fillage:

Fullscreen capture 2016-08-01 024803 PM.bmp

That means that we’re some 10% better off than a fortnight ago, not least because of the deluge that hit us last Tuesday.

Woo hoo! *turns on all the taps*

We’re still well short of the (at least) 75% we’d like to see as a minimum by the end of winter, though.

Ah. *turns all taps off again*

However, at this rate, given another 4 weeks of reasonable winter weather, we might just make it. And there’s another hefty bunch of moisture coming through tomorrow evening already, with Windguru predicting almost an inch of quickfire precipitation over Cape Town in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Add to that the inexorable season creep that seems to have befallen the Western Cape in the last decade, and we’ve probably got another few weeks after that as well.

Be reminded that the ever-so-well-enforced Level 2 water restrictions still remain in force though.