During last summer’s drought, the price of rainwater tanks shot up. Business was booming. You could see trucks full of tanks all over the place. Good for a green heart who’s been promoting rainwater harvesting forever.
We reached for second hand tanks, reconditioned oil drums – looking for the best value for money. Then a newby arrived on the market. A portable tank, delivered to your doorstep, which you can erect and install yourself. Perfect. And so arrived my Portatank all the way from East London.
Firstly we had a cement platform built to have a stable and totally level base for the heavy load of water. The next day my son Ruben and friend Thomas pitched in and we spent a couple of hours getting the new baby in place. So easy with written and online instructions to follow.
This one takes 2550 litres of water and after the last few days’ rain it’s 95% full. Now what? All other containers are overflowing.
Of course we want to catch more water. We know that the Western Cape is desertifying. Water WILL remain an issue going forward. This is simply built into the unfolding climate change picture. (And the more I drive my car and use Eskom power the more I am causing this myself).
It is easy to install a pump to divert your harvested water via the solar geyser to the bathrooms when the City runs out of water. Also to the washing machine. We might even eventually have to clean and drink this water.
But we also need the essential groundwater storage replenished. So I take comfort in the fact that what I don’t catch will be stored by Mother Nature. These are our most important dams – underground. Think no evaporation. Next mission is to keep this groundwater clean. That’s a story for another day.
So we keep conserving, as always:
- Never flush loos with drinking water.
- No more long, luxurious showers and daily baths.
- Facecloth cleans serve the bulk of the nation and do well for the rest of us too most days.
- Pack away the hosepipes and plan how to keep the garden going, and cars washed, with your own harvested water and greywater.
- Ditch the toxic swimming pool and turn it into a natural water reservoir with plants and fish. (Mine kept 20 fruit and nut trees alive throughout the drought last summer – albeit with serious drought arm towards the end.) And yes, we still cool off in there.
We learn as we go. Every step counts; every day is another opportunity for more creative and deliberate living. Exciting times.
By Elma Pollard