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OPINON: Life without the liquid

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The reservoirs are not filling up and tonight I have to see if cold sanitizer can be used in place of a hot shower.

Picture: balouriarajesh/Pixabay

I WAS doing some light reading this past week and learned some pretty interesting facts. For one thing, it was fascinating to learn why scuba divers throw themselves backwards off a boat. I had always wondered about this, but apparently they do it because if they fall forwards, they would land on their faces in the boat.

I also learned that there are two reasons why you should never drink water out of your toilet bowl. They are ‘number one’ and ‘number two’.

Then, while you are recovering from that one, I was reminded of the riddle that had me stumped from kindergarten till I reached high school. What kind of rocks do you never find under water? The answer … dry ones!

Sigh, I also learned this week why water never laughs at my jokes? Apparently, it isn’t a fan of dry humour.

Speaking of ‘dry’, I remember years ago when we were reassured, after one extended shutdown where some major upgrades were done, that all Kimberley’s water problems would be sorted out once and for all, yet here we sit. The reservoirs are not filling up and tonight I have to see if cold sanitizer can be used in place of a hot shower.

Let’s be fair, old pipes break and emergencies do crop up. But people are talking and many are saying the same thing: “If there were not so many leaking pipes in and around our city, the Newton reservoir WOULD fill up.”

Having said that, I wish the teams all the best doing what is obviously quite a big job. We are cheering you on, whilst also holding thumbs that this will be the last time you will have to be out in the veld sloshing around in the mud.

So, what do we do in the meanwhile … we could find alternative sources of water. How difficult could that be?

One option is to sneak up on unsuspecting succulents, squeeze the juice into a container and run away. You could also – if you can locate a banana tree – hack away all but the bottom 30cm or so of the tree, and carve a bowl into the top of what remains of the stump. The tree’s roots will draw fluids up into the trunk, and the bowl will fill with water – It’s science!

Yes, I know, I am being silly … we live at the junction of the Karoo and the Kalahari, who has banana trees?

But here are some tips that could perhaps make a water shutdown less of a groan-fest.

There were virtually no braais held in 2020, so somewhere in the back of one of your cupboards you should find a stash of paper plates. It seems like a good idea that when you are short of water for the dishes, that having disposable paper goods on hand is a great idea. In fact, it can save your sanity.

Another great idea is to have a big – your biggest pot – on the stove with warm or hot water for doing dishes, that is if you do not have paper plates and disposable utensils; hot water also comes in handy for personal hygiene. A sponge bath on a cold winter’s day is not pleasant, but a jug of piping hot water to warm the washcloth each time can make things a bit more bearable.

Finally, one thing that gets tricky when the taps run dry is cooking. You see, cooking creates dirty pots and pans which can bring us back to our earlier dishwashing problem. So cooking some meals beforehand and freezing them for consumption during the shutdown would not be the worst thing you can do.

Before you go, have you yet experienced that awfully awkward moment when you realise that you’ve just forked out almost R50 for one litre of Evian bottled water and then notice if spelled backwards it says ‘naive’?

I could have made some good business selling my own brand of bottled water, but discovered that the market was too saturated. Er, yes, it actually worries me that in the future water will be like my jokes … No one will get it.