WELCOMING AUTUMN – 21 March 2018
The equinox is upon us and many of us are deeply relieved at the coming autumn. The marking of the change of seasons is an ancient practice observed by indigenous peoples around the world. Our busy lives and our separation from nature has led us to forget these powerful practices.
In Cape Town South Africa a harsh summer and a severe drought has left most of us depleted. In the last season we saw nonchalance quickly replaced by pandemonium, anxiety replaced by remarkable creativity, celebration and disappointment as well as loads of politics.
The drought is predicted to last for quite a while yet. The cool of autumn and whatever rains winter may bring are finally in sight. It is unlikely that the crisis with our dams will change in the short term. The change will mostly be noted in ordinary citizens practicing new skills and attitudes regarding water use.
Traditionally, the equinox is a time to pause, reflect, offer thanks and setting intentions for the new season. This particular equinox in the southern hemisphere marks the coming of autumn which we generally understand to be a time of harvest.
I am trusting and I am praying that the people of Cape Town will harvest the benefit of their newfound awareness of the value of water. The awakening that we have had as a community will have far-reaching benefit for the next generation. May the hard lessons that we learnt in the summer bring a harvest of wisdom and mindfulness.
As the sun retreats behind leaves of red and gold a little bit of a respite draws near. It is a good time to pause and give thanks and to call forth help and resources for the coming months.
A year ago the idea of harvesting rainwater was only a practice of eco fanatics and green folk. Now the idea of rainwater being wasted is foolishness at best. A year ago grey water was not a topic. Now the topic of greywater occupies a huge part of our conversation as we continuously seek better ways to reuse water. A year ago most of us never calculated kiloliters or gave it a second thought. Now every litre is carefully considered. A year ago leaking pipes went unnoticed by most. Now a leaking pipe is managed by community taking responsibility and harvesting run off. These are some of my thanksgivings at this time of pause and reflection.
May we continue to grow as a water wise community. Politicians will continue to do what politicians do. Meanwhile ordinary people are making a difference in big ways and small ways.
DISAPPOINTMENT DESCENDS – 3 March 2017
The new water tariffs have been implemented and along with it came grave disappointment. The roughly 600% increase in water effectively skyrocketed the water bill for everyone. There are many who would argue that R4,00 for a kilolitre of water was no cost at all. They would even argue that the new rate of R26,25 is still a nominal amount per kilo litre of drinking water. In a world in which everything is relative it follows that we would experience the tariff increase very differently in our very different homes.
The intention behind the new tariff is in itself a dispute. Some say it is to enrich coffers and others believe that it is the only way to enforce the saving of our dwindling supply of water and preventing the deleterious impact thereof. This week I felt for all the water warriors of Cape Town. The lengths and extremes to which residents have gone to save water is both admirable and inspirational. These great efforts are a reward in itself. It is however the inevitable desire of the human psyche to see immediate and tangible rewards for hard effort. Most folks expected this immediate and tangible reward to be in the form of a reduced water bill. Reducing water usage by the kilo litre takes hard work that impacts the body and the general functioning of the home.
Technically, any saving of water will result in a financial reward. Every kilolitre not used is R26.25 saved. However, the jump from a R20 bill to a R120.00 bill makes that very difficult to see. The jump from R100 to R600 will lead to more than disappointed. The idea of paying so much more when you are using so much less does not make sense or sit well. Some even see it as a punishment for all their hard work and sacrifice.
We have no idea whether the new tariff is permanent and how things will turn out. What ever is communicated now can also change.
The anxiety around using water has increased exponentially. As challenging as it now seems, we have to go to the next level of reducing our usage. I have no doubt that we will get there. I have no doubt that we will, along with other countries facing drought, break new ground in preserving this valuable resource we call water.
The disappointment is real. The challenge is to get beyond it and dig deeper into our creativity and tenacity.
#Watercrisis #ctdroughtonlinediary #capetown
DESPERATE TIMES DESPERATE MEASURES BEAUTIFUL OUTCOMES
– 24 February 2018
Yesterday a first real rain arrived. For the first time in forever I could hear water dripping from rooftops. For a moment I stood still and stilled my soul to just take it in. The dripping eventually became quite a flow. A damaged gutter in my neighbour’s yard produced a significant and steady stream of water.
Creativity and ingenuity is now second nature to most Capetonians. We run with buckets, grab any device and re-purpose any tool for harvesting and redirecting water. These desperate times have activated our lateral thinking and unless you have experienced drought you would think us crazy.
A discarded piece of down pipe, an empty drum and a desperate heart conspired to make sure the water no longer flowed onto cement and into drains.
This morning with great excitement my little neighbour arrived to bottle the water harvested from the broken gutter. In their garden he tends a beautiful wild bird sanctuary. I am fortunate to benefit from it and often do my writing at the window facing his bird sanctuary. The water we harvested and bottled will be used for the bird sanctuary this week.
He has a new story for show and tell at school this week. I have no doubt that show and tell will bring awareness to his friends and eventually to their homes. And so the activism will continue.
Indeed, I looked pretty desperate with my down pipe and my drenched dress and my obsession to salvage rainwater. The joy of bottling the rainwater harvest with my adorable little neighbour was a beautiful reward. In these desperate times we do resort to desperate measures and it is these very measures that bring the best of stories and beautiful creations. I will enjoy his wild bird sanctuary this week with even more tenderness.
#ctdroughtonlinediary #watercrisis #capetown
THE NIGHT WATER TURNED TO GOLD IN CAPE TOWN – 10 February 2018
I am incredibly emotional as I write this diary entry. My heart overflows with a gratitude that no words could ever explain. Social media is flooded this morning with the most incredible pictures of the water that was saved last night.
As the first drizzles fell in my garden, I blew the shofar as in the days of old. As grateful as I was for the rain, there was an even greater and inexplicable joy welling up in my soul. All over Cape Town, ordinary men, women and children were running with buckets or standing expectantly at the end of a down pipe they had connected to all manner of drums and catchment containers. Some with extravagant harvesting operations and others with ingenious DIY ideas all immersed in hope. I pressed my ear against my rain tank and as expected, when the first drop echoed in the tank and the hollowed place of desire in my soul, my tears flowed. I wept there for a while as gentle rain fell upon my back.
The 9th of February 2018, was the night that water turned to gold in Cape Town. Every little bucket and every massive rain tank and every swimming pool now re-purposed as a reservoir was a treasure to behold. My tears are flowing even as I write this.
Last year, during the Cape storm in June, I was obsessed with harvesting rainwater. I reached points of depression when my activism fell on deaf ears. But I remembered and held onto a pearl of wisdom which says that if you desire a thing enough, it will eventually manifest. Only 8 months later, the picture that seemed impossible then, is now a way of life for the people of Cape Town.
Eight months ago a bucket of water was just that. Last night …. a bucket of water became a bucket of gold! In the ancient practice of alchemy, magicians spend a lifetime trying to perfect the art of turning base metals into gold. Last night the water we have taken for granted and once considered a base resource turned to gold before our eyes. Magic never happens without adversity. All the tales in all the books of all the heroes consistently speak of adversity. The adversity is eventually understood by the hero and becomes a Philosopher’s Stone. The drought has become for many of us a Philosopher’s Stone and enabled us to turn water into gold.
Water is the elixir of life and we have learned that through this drought in Cape Town. I often post about magick and people often don’t understand. The conscious will understand the depth of the great magick taking place in Cape Town. In time we will tell our children and our children’s children of the night the water turned to gold in the city of Cape Town.
Once upon a time in a city where the dams were dry …#watercrisis #CapeTown #Alchemy #ctdroughtonlinediary
the power of intention
THE POWER OF COLLECTIVE INTENTION – 9 February 2018
We are hanging onto our phones desperately trying to connect with other hopefuls. The grey clouds have come and gone and are now returning. From the conversations in the social media groups it is clear despair has started to grab hold of many. They found themselves here before waiting for rain only to be disappointed time after time. Every time the little icon predicting rain changes on the weather app to a bright yellow sun our hearts sink. We know it is summer, we know there is a drought, we know nature must run its course but we are desperate in a parched and thirsty land.
Disappointment is beginning to manifest as irritation and anger. Our emotions of hope and disappointment are all completely valid in these desperate days as much as we want others to feel what we feel.
While thick grey rain clouds may not be coming together as much as we would like, we are as a community building desire. A collective desire and with it a unity of intention. With every cold front that approaches and misses our shores, that intention and desire strengthens.
Not only is our desire building as a collective but we are without even knowing, connecting to nature in a much deeper way. In watching the clouds and listening to the wind we are building a connection of a different kind. A connection to the Earth we have long since lost. Some of us have even started to notice the difference in the songs of chirping birds. This growing awareness, this listening is healing in a way we don’t quite understand.
#watercrisis #ctdroughtonlinediary #capetown
A STRANGE SETTLING – 8 February 2018
The 8th of February saw a blistering heat wave suddenly give way to very grey skies. As usual the weather reports say that the rain will miss Cape Town and disappointed is felt. There is a smell of water in the air tonight though.
This past week seemed to have a sense of settling down. Perhaps it is just me but some of the panic seems to have evaporated. The water crisis is as bad as predicted and getting worse. However, it seems that people have adjusted themselves and their ways of being with water. Each to their own of course with some spending thousands and others refusing to pour money into the water crisis. Some are managing to cope with their 50l restriction easily and others still struggling to reduce their consumption.
Except for a few still looking for a rain tank or trying to figure out the washing machine and the dishwasher grey water, most have their plan together. There are no frantic cries of where to find this and that. It seems that all that could be bought has been bought and our budgets like our dams have run dry. The ideas of how to save water preserve water and sanitize everything are a mere trickle this week. The unbelievable burst of creativity and ingenuity seems to have lived it’s life. It feels like from here on it’s a matter of sit tight and hope for the best that what you have put in place will get you through.
Pregnant clouds hang over Cape Town tonight…. Some are sleeping with a little hope and others afraid of hope.
#watercrisis. #CapeTown #ctdroughtonlinediary
SWEET CAMEO MOMENT – 3 February 2018
Sterilizing everything has become an urgent task in light of the drought. There are mixed reports of how safe our newfound water sources are and concerns about airborne yukkies. This morning as I prepared the sterilizing solution to cleanse water bottles, I had to pause for a sweet little moment.
The familiar smell and sight of sterilon sterilising solution brought back a flood of memory. Twenty two years ago I was in this kitchen sterilizing my newborn daughter’s milk bottles. Now, 22 years later, here I am sterilizing her water bottle. She is currently a fourth year psych student seeing her first clients this week. Amidst the chaos and the anxiety of the water crisis there are also these precious lil moments.
Yes, I am an archetypal mom.
#watercrisis #capetown #ctdroughtonlinediary
learning and researching water usage
WATER WISE SELF-STUDY INTENSIVE – 1 February 2017
This past week I found myself unable to attend to this online diary. My naturally inquisitive Persona coupled with our drought desperation meant that I was on Google or Facebook or some sustainable living website 24/7.
Not a moment of the research and learning would be wasted ever. The amazing thing about this drought is that the lessons we are learning now we will never ever lose. After the electricity load shedding Fiasco I never ever used an electric stove. It’s a case of Once understood forever wise.
In the past week I have:
- Learned the most effective ways of managing laundry
- Learned how to read my water bill and understand all the information
- Learned how to construct a makeshift floating Weir for the pool
- Done another round of research on grey water management
- Realised I was in fact set up for eServices water meter reading n uploaded my readings
- Discovered the extreme benefits of using biodegradable products and happily rid of excessive grey water pong
- Found out I could wash my car shower bathroom floors with a minimal amount of water using the garden high pressure spray pump
- Shared all of this information in posts on @capetownwatersheddinglit#watercrisis #ctdroughtonlinediary #Capetown
WITH PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION – reflections on winter 2017
Today I am reminded of meditation walks in the forests to pray for rain during winter 2017. Long before the water crisis pandemonium started, a deep inner prompting called me away. I always went with the idea that I was Praying for Rain. However, as I stood over the water, I always became so aware that it was not rain I was praying for but consciousness – consciousness in myself and within my community. It is not so much the earth that needs to change. Rather it is you and me.
The rain stick as we know is a sacred tool and whenever I use it there is a rain within me.
As day zero approached in Cape Town, I began to understand what the spirit guides were trying to teach me on these days in the forest. In our appreciation for water, we can preserve what we have instead of needing more to waste. Once we get that, nature will take care of herself.
While many are focused on scrambling for water, there are also many who are beginning to realise how sacred water really is. The rains of consciousness have begun to fall on Cape Town South Africa. They say that we must be careful what we ask and pray for. A growing appreciation for water has indeed come. I would never have imagined so much awareness, creativity, waterwise ingenuity, learning and remarkable effort was possible. While Cape Town continues to pray for the rain of water, I am giving thanks for the rains of consciousness.
#capetown #watercrisis #ctdroughtonlinediary
AND SUDDENLY THINGS GOT WEIRD – 22 January 2017
We continued with our water saving operation fastidiously. For the longest time it seemed like we were just overly prudent in a world where it was life as normal for everyone. Intuition inspired us to continue.
Then one day everything changed. In mid January I used a public bathroom. Unconsciously I rolled up my sleeves and opened the tap to wash my hands. Thinking it was faulty I moved to the next tap. It was only then that I saw the large sticker in front of me which said NO WATER.
I remember thinking, “This Is It we are finally here!”. I knew in that moment that the proverbial saying of only appreciating the water when the tap runs dry would become a reality for everyone now. As I suspected things got really weird after that. The beginnings of panic could be seen everywhere. Denial oblivion and nonchalance evaporated as fast as our dams. Long queues waiting for trucks to offload water sprang up everywhere. The natural springs facilities were crowded at six o’clock in the morning. Tension mounted in stores as people tried to salvage the water supplies. No proper planning meant that the rich could stock pile and deplete resources.
Cape Town had finally woken up!
The week starting 22 January definitely changed the game plan in Cape Town.
#watercrisis #capetown #ctdroughtonlinediary