Home Opinion and Features Daytime and night-time, the taps whisper: ‘Not today!’

Daytime and night-time, the taps whisper: ‘Not today!’


THE FUNHOUSE MIRROR COLUMN: For the parched Sol Plaatje, the clock’s cruel hands mark the hours of suffering: from noon until 5pm, and again from 8pm until 5am. Daytime and night-time, the taps whisper: “Not today!”

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By Monty Quill

IN THE heart of Sol Plaatje, where the sun blazes with unyielding fury, a city gasps for relief. Its parched streets echo with the whispers of cracked lips, pleading for mercy from the heavens. But the heavens remain silent, their tears withheld.

The Newton Reservoir, once a lifeline, now stands as a hollow vessel – a testament to dwindling hope. Its reservoirs, like ancient amphorae, cradle mere echoes of water. The 102-megalitre basin, once brimming, now wears the shroud of emptiness. The 91-megalitre sibling, too, bows to the weight of scarcity. The 45- and 23-megalitre vessels, once proud sentinels, now stoop low, their bellies hollow.

And so, the water cuts extend their cruel embrace. From noon until 5pm, the city’s taps run dry, leaving households gasping. The sun, relentless, scorches the earth, and the desperate soil crumbles beneath its fiery touch. Then, as twilight descends, the taps fall silent again – from 8pm until 5am – leaving the night to its thirst.

The weary municipal manager stands at the precipice of despair. His voice, hoarse from countless pleas, echoes through the corridors of bureaucracy. “The leakages,” he laments, “the leakages in the main supply pipelines.” They gnaw at the city’s veins, draining life drop by precious drop. The production shortfall, a cruel arithmetic, leaves the reservoirs gasping.

And what of the gardens? The once-vibrant blooms now droop, their petals brittle. The roses, once crimson, now wear the pallor of longing. The community, urged to conserve, tiptoes around its own thirst. The children, their laughter muted, clutch empty cups. The elders, their eyes sunken, remember a time when water flowed freely.

Residents, weary and sun-kissed, dial the call centre’s number. Their voices tremble as they recount their plight. “Outside the stipulated times,” they whisper, “we thirst.” The toll-free line hums with desperation, a lifeline stretched taut. “Your patience,” the municipal manager reassures, “your understanding”. But how long can understanding sustain a city’s thirst?

And so, Sol Plaatje sweats amid its heatwave. Its streets, once washed by rainwater, now bear the footprints of longing. The sun, unyielding, scorches the earth, and the shadows stretch long across cracked pavements. The reservoirs, their walls etched with silent pleas, await the elusive rain.

Water security, a distant mirage, flickers on the horizon. The city’s heartbeats synchronise with the rhythm of empty taps. Perhaps, in the quiet of night, the stars weep for Sol Plaatje. Perhaps, in their cosmic dance, they whisper secrets of ancient, forgotten rivers.

But for now, the city waits. It waits for the heavens to relent, for the Newton Reservoir to swell once more. It waits for the promise of cool, clear water – a balm for cracked throats, a solace for weary souls.

And in this waiting, Sol Plaatje’s lament echoes through time, carried by the wind, etched into the sun-baked earth. A requiem for water, a plea for mercy, rising from the heart of a city that thirsts.

ALSO READ: Sol Plaatje extends water interruptions

File picture: GC from Pixabay
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