Saving my joy for a rainy day

What do you do when you feel a drizzle or see the clouds shading the sun these days?

Maybe give a little dance for joy and pray for the heavens to finally open up and shower us with some blessings.

I love this kind of weather. Maybe it is because I was born in July, when Cape Town used to get its downpour.

Last Wednesday, March 14, gentle showers of mercy fell across the peninsula, from the morning until the early hours of Thursday.

This was enough to dampen my clothes as I walked from the bus stop to my family home.

But the real joy came in seeing that the 100-litre drum placed at the bottom of a downpipe to collect water from the gutters had almost filled up.

I was amazed at how much water was collected though the rain fell gently. Colleagues also reported significant water colletions in their yards.

This shows how important it is that we take “green initiatives” into account when new homes are built.

The water from our drum went some way in taking care of my growing pile of laundry as it was tipped into the top loader.

I am sure most Capetonians have mountains of dirty clothes and bedding that need to be washed. How are you coping with the washing? Do share with us some of your tips.

If heavy rains are not meant for us just yet, one at least hopes that the overcast conditions persist for a while. The clouds can lessen evaporation to keep the earth moist.

According to a study in California, a state in America also hit by periods of drought in recent years, both fog and thick clouds can reduce the severity of plant stress during the rainless summer season.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town continues to urge residents to save water, although the potential for Day Zero, when taps are due to be turned off, has been moved to next year.

“The drought is still very real and the associated threat to water supply remains a reality,” read a media statement sent out earlier this week.

On Tuesday March 13, deputy mayor Ian Neilson welcomed the national government’s decision to declare a national state of disaster as a result of the drought. Just the day before a milestone was reached as Capetonians managed to curb their water usage to 511 million litres a day, nudging ever closer to national government’s target of 450 million litres. Mr Neilson said: “Our commendable water usage is increasingly recognised as a phenomenal achievement across the world. Thanks to this effort our dam levels are declining at a lower weekly rate. This is helping us to preserve our dwindling water resources. Dams supplying the City have declined by 0.6% to 23%.”

Residents who want to apply for a permit to collect treated effluent can email the City on

Treated effluent, or recycled water, is wastewater that has been treated at a wastewater treatment plant and then piped via a separate network of pipes to various consumers. In Cape Town, this water is not used as drinking water but for irrigation and industrial purposes, and for flushing of toilets.

The City is also rolling out a supply of treated effluent water for flushing toilets in areas where permanent connections exist.

In addition, the council is retrofitting its buildings and council houses with fittings such as aerators, water-saving taps, water-saving showerheads, dual-flush toilet cisterns as well as the controversial water management devices, which have been rejected by some residents they have been forced on.

Visit for more information.

Email Fouzia van der Fort on