Home Opinion and Features How the ‘hood’ can help keep watch over water

How the ‘hood’ can help keep watch over water


Shooting from the lip

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Will we survive the water crisis?

Let’s go LOSO: Social and Local.

Simple principle: do things together (social) in your immediate geographic area (local), for maximum impact. And if every area did that, we’d eat the elephant (one bite at a time).

Our neighbourhood’s story began, in this column, on November 14, 2014: “My 14-year-old boy woke at 3am. He needed the loo. As he turned left, into the passage, he saw a figure on the floor, crawling towards his little sister’s room.

“Half-asleep, he wondered: ‘What’s dad doing up at 3am? And why’s he crawling?’

“And then he realised: ‘It’s not dad ”

That early-morning family terror prompted collective neighbourhood action.

In this column, on January 9, 2015, I was on patrol at 2am: “In my right hand an old pick handle I found in the shed. In my left an old miner’s lamp. Like so many suburbs, our homes are being hit on a nightly basis. I know my old stick won’t be a match for a gun. But we’re not prepared to cower.”

Together, we formed a neighbourhood watch (NHW), “The Minutemen”.

Highly organised patrols and a promise: Ready to assist each other in 60 seconds flat.

We endorsed the US’s Community Emergency Response Team (Cert) model – an NHW responsive to a wide range of threats. An effective force for good in every scenario.

Now: our taps may soon run dry. So: We each personally commit to only use 87 litres a day.

And as a micro-suburb, we’re approaching banks with our “Neighbourhood Water Conservation” model (NHW-C).

We need a loan – to install rain and grey water tanks at every home. And for neighbourhood water projects.

We’re identifying our latent resources, exploring possibilities for sharing. A communal borehole, feeding our homes by pipe, “lei water” canals or even a little tanker trailer?

To augment our rain and grey water, strictly for toilets only. Reducing every person’s water use to around 60 litres a day?

In ancient Pompeii, they had “neighbourhood water reservoirs”. Yes?

We’re investigating the Special Ratings Area (SRA) model, to unite our contributions.

With the right debt repayment model, we can invest thousands in home and neighbourhood water projects, for a few R100 a month each.

Same as a new cellphone.

We don’t yet have the answers, but we’re thinking innovatively, collaboratively. Neighbourhood water systems, hopefully enabled by the state.

Let’s see if our neighbourhood’s resilient to all threats. Both bulletproof and water-tight.

Let’s mobilise the “whole of society”, again. Starting in our ‘hood.