A thirsty country.
We knew the water supply is challenged in South Africa. All our travel documents warned us. As a tourist you are reminded by the tent cards in your room that invite you to be careful. The sinks and tubs won’t plug so there is no option for shaving water or a warm soak.
It’s no big deal as a guest but then we spoke to Greta our driver and the shortage becomes very real.
She says the reservoir for South Africa. (Including Cape Town) has just risen from 45% full to 62%. This area has been running under 50% for nearly 4 years.
They are by law allowed to water their gardens for 1 hour 2 times a week on a rotating basis. Otherwise they will be fined by the government. She explains the water shortage has forced them to become creative Horticulturist as they now are planting more plants that require less water!
Her family saves the water from their “daily living”. Dish water, bath water, shower water is all used again to water her gardens or wash her cars. She has a catch basin where she puts the reusable water for just these needs.
We shared how shocked we were by the plastic! Everywhere we go we are handed plastic bottles and the bins of recyclable plastic bottles are toppling over. She agreed the plastic is a problem. Mostly just for tourist as tap water is not generally great for drinking. Africans are used to its salt and mineral qualities but Travelors often get sick.
She told us of a restaurant in town that has banned straws. But they have become creative and make their own straws out of macaroni! We will try to find that spot!
Water is a currency here. Everyone wants and needs it. I asked what the long term effects on the fruit and wheat production will be? She said they will adapt. Flavors will change...
She sees prices rising. Watering trucks (like fire engines) move up and down the vineyards.
The crisis is real. The Africans are “adapting”.