Our Precious Water

Think for a while … how many times in one single day do you use precious water in some or other way?

We all know that the human body consists mainly (about 80 %) of water and therefore needs water to survive. Humans need to drink water, cook with water, wash with water, grow vegetables with water, feed and give water to animals, flush toilets, make tea or coffee or mix a drink, especially with ice … Often people are advised to drink more water:

Do you want to lose weight; do you have flu; do you need to get your kidneys going? Drink more water. The use of water in everyday life is almost uncountable. Just for one moment, imagine water disappearing from earth…Lately many warning voices have been, and are still, heard daily in the media about the state of water affairs in South Africa. Insufficient water, especially during periods of drought, infrastructure often not properly maintained and severe pollution of water on a great scale (by industries, farmers and every Tom, Dick and Harry) seem to be responsible for the current state of our water. Warning signs are, and have been for quite some time, visible (actually glaring) and the time has come for every single human being to start realising that everyone has a responsibility towards mankind in preserving water for human use, also in the future. We have become more or less used to load-shedding (electricity), but how will we cope with water-shedding? So, what are we to do?

How can everyone contribute to sustained accessibility to good, clean, water for all? You have probably heard it all, but now the time has come for everybody to start doing it: Use water sparingly and stop polluting the water we do have. When it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact. Fix leaking taps, flush toilets only when really necessary, put bricks in toilet cisterns to reduce the volume of water used per flush, shower instead of bathing (a full tub is really unnecessary), use grey water to water gardens and so on. There are many “vlei” areas throughout the town of Piet Retief. Everyone knows about the “spruit” and come the big summer rains, this becomes quite a river after each storm. At present the Mkhondo area, however, is actually experiencing very dry circumstances, nothing less than a drought. When, however, the summer rains come down, the “spruit” will once again change into a small river, taking its load of debris along to dams and rivers.

This will result in organic pollution (mostly) – human faeces, bacteria, oils, plastics, glass and more, spreading diseases and killing water life. Who will the next generation have to blame? In some places the pollution is so bad that it might even block the waterway and result in overflowing areas or even occasional flooding. Many storm water ways are also blocked, some because of damages to the drains by trucks and some as a result of pollution by humans or because of both. Water will have no choice but to flow into the streets which will cause a hazard to motorists and weaken the streets because of permanent damp.

Oil and soap from industries and car washes run off into the street and join the “pollution train” on its way to the rivers, dams and eventually the sea. Come on, Mkhondo residents! Let us have your ideas on how to solve this issue. (In the USA littering is a punishable offence. In New Jersey for example fines of up to $1,000.00, community services of up to 80 hours and even 60 days imprisonment may be enforced). Maybe we should take responsibility, not only for our own water use and polluting of nature, but also for the beha-viour of others in this regard. Won’t we all like to have many more seasons filled with “cool, clear water”. Baie dankie aan Rickerd en Juanita Schwab vir goeie foto’s.

Spruit or dumping site
Spruit or dumping site
storm water drain or rubbish bin
Storm water drain or rubbish bin
Who would want to use water from such a source
Who would want to use water from such a source
After heavy rain this might be part of the spruit
After heavy rain this might be part of the spruit
truck damage to storm water drain
Truck damage to storm water drain
Simply disgustingly dirty and appaling
Simply disgustingly dirty and appaling
Easy place to get rid of unwanted stuff
Easy place to get rid of unwanted stuff
Filled garbage bags dumped in the stream
Filled garbage bags dumped in the stream
Filthy ways filthy water
Filthy ways filthy water