Getting water the old-fashioned way by bucket or jug

August 27, 2014

IMG_0458The Makana Municipality decided to provide Rhodes University and Grahamstown folk with a blast from the past with a running water outage starting last weekend.

So let’s count this as Day 5 of the shutdown due to electronic pumping and ruptured pipe issues at the reservoir.

I’ve been quite lucky as I missed the first part of the water outage by having taken a weekend jaunt to Morgan Bay on the Wild Coast. Upon returning Sunday afternoon, I discovered that the cold-water tap did not gush any water.   But the hot-water heater (my geyser which is pronounced gee-zer) tank was in fine shape.

So I entered conservation mode.

I have done three morning showers (including a shampoo yesterday morn!) with hot water, trying to make sure I lathered and rinsed within 2-3 minutes, maybe five.  I am hopeful for a fourth hot shower tomorrow. I also brought my bucket into the shower to collect my “runoff” so I can use for the toilet.

The words I now live by: Re-use, Reduce, Recycle.

Thank goodness I did laundry before I left so I am set in that department for about a week re clean clothing.  I had two one-gallon jugs of spring water (Mindy passed along 5 upon her return to the states a month ago) and I have my trusty Sprite Zero so drinking water was A-OK.

I also plan a trip this coming weekend to Hogsback (the land of faeries I’ve been told) so if this water crisis continues until then, I will have yet another reprieve from the stringent collect and conserve mode of operation.

In checking with the local weekly newspaper reporters, they said the Municipality is saying we’ll all have water by tomorrow/Thursday. When I expressed some sarcastic skepticism, they laughed and said, “You are truly South African now.” And I thought skepticism in government competence was just a New England trait.  But no.  My New Media colleague Kayla and her roomie Martha DID have running water last night when we got together for pizza night so there is hope for me yet.

Now I know I have to stop this person-of-privilege whining as this inconvenience for me is a way of life for millions in Africa, and South Africa.  But I have been told that the last water outage lasted nine days and brought with it cases of dysentery among students on campus without water.

Finally, this experience has given new meaning to the term “toilet water” as I am filling the emptied gallon jugs of spring water with water from school (the African Media Matrix has its own reservoir) so I can flush my toilet.  Rick has reminded me of a mariner’s rule  for toilets: if it’s yellow, be mellow but if it’s brown, flush it down. I know, I know, TMI.


About janetkolodzy

Janet Kolodzy is a Professor of Journalism at Emerson College, Boston, MA. After a career as a print and broadcast journalist, she has been teaching about the practice of convergence journalism, which encourages the use of a mix of media storytelling tools to help journalists inform audiences.
This entry was posted in Life and Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s