Survival, success, significance

Join Kalahari Harry on his adventurous travels as he shares tales on everything related to conservation, sustainable development and green solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Out of the bush veld and into the concrete jungle for me this month. While the bush veld has its own challenges with the water scarcity, the city thinks it has water, but believes the water to be dirty and undrinkable. As we turn on the tap and the water just magically keeps on coming, makes us oblivious to the fact that we are facing a major water shortage – and as Murphy would have it, as I was about to rant and rave about the drought, the heavens open up and we receive rain in buckets!

Nevertheless, does this blessing from above somehow give us free licence to keep wasting water at will? Somewhere on my dark unapologetic side, I wished that the drought would continue.  Terrible as it may sound, I believe that we have not yet matured as a race to the point where we adapt before the pawpaw hits the fan.

Had it not been for our own farm and all the visits I did, which shows the devastating impact that it had. There is an Afrikaans saying: “As jy nie wil hoor nie dan moet jy voel – which means that if people don’t want to heed warnings they should feel the consequences of their actions.

Driving on the highway to yet another “we want to save water but we don’t want to spend money” client, I saw this water cooler delivery truck. Buckle up as I go down this rant!

The below picture is good indication of how water is becoming a commodity and no longer just a basic human right. So an 18.9L water dispenser jug goes roughly for about R50, plus delivery. One large corporation in Sandton has 50 of these towers being refilled every two days. Let’s see if my math still works. So in a month these guys use:

20 working days, divided by every two days =10 service days,  multiply that by 50 jugs = 500 jugs a month,  multiplied by R50 a jug = R25 000 for water to sustain 500 staff per month.

Multiply the jug capacity by the amount of jugs and you get 9450 litres a month at a cost of R2, 60 a litre! Shaking my head in absolute disbelief.

There is a way to better the use of water and save money.  I recently took such a company and showed them by installing under counter taps with a basic filtration system, with even better water quality and taste, at a mere 16 cents a litre… meaning that our dear friends are making a 1600% profit… that’s worse than E-toll any day of the month folks. Taking their monthly water bill from R25 000 down to R1 500 – yes you read correctly. No delivery van on the road causing carbon emissions, and no plastic bottles. Yet we somehow still keep worst practice. This technology is readily available and will literally save millions of Rand’s and more importantly, the environment.

It’s time we started saving water and bringing down the carbon footprint of water. Next times drought might not be so kind.