One South African has taken the time to share advice from his experience with “Day Zero”.
Steven Underwood, a Capetonian who survived complete water shut offs many times while living in Gabarone has shared a positive and encouraging post on the current water crisis and looming “Day Zero” in Cape Town.
Perspective is everything.
As Cape Town hits level 6b water restrictions, I thought I would share a few observations from my time in drought affected Gaborone, where we reached Day Zero (empty taps) many times during my 4 years there:
1) You will not die.
2) Yes, you will suffer a little but what’s wrong with a little suffering? It builds character.
3) Businesses and schools will not shut down (as some suggest) but will have to adapt to using grey water for ablutions. It’s a mind-set change, don’t give up, persevere and keep adding value to the economy (not to minimise the plight of businesses that need fresh water for their product, they will really struggle).
4) Water is a renewable resource and therefore 25 litres goes a long way. Water for washing can be caught and reused for ablutions. It’s not very nice (see point 2) but once again it’s a mindset.
5) It’s not the ANC/DA’S fault nor climate change. It’s my fault because I use too much water (i.e. more than supply), which is great because I don’t have to rely on government or scientists to fix it, I just have to use less water.
6) Help will come in some form. Businesses will spring up delivering water (in Gabs it was 2 JoJo tanks on a flatbed truck), desalination boats will flock to our harbours (if they don’t exist then then a millionaire genius will quickly invent and build one). Water may even come from the sky but somehow we will change the game for the better.
7) You will learn to appreciate water and take joy in the little things. One time, while driving to visit a friend in Phikwe, the heavens opened on road just past Palapye. The driver in front of me pulled to the side of the road and started dancing in the rain, what a beautiful feeling.
8) Stay positive. With the right mindset, the water crisis can actually be fun. You will spend more time outdoors, you will connect with your neighbours, you will receive help and help others, you will waste less time on Facebook/TV and you will have great stories to tell.
9) It could be worse. Water crisis is far better than being subjected to apartheid (like what happened to my brothers and sisters) or fighting a war (like what happened to my Grandparents), we will come through it stronger and better.
And even though Gabarone is much smaller than Cape Town, Steven has pointed out that the Mother City has 8 times the number of people to help solve the problem and probably 100 times more resources, money, knowledge and innovation to create something positive from the current situation.
The post has been read and shared thousands of times with social media users all agreeing that perhaps perspective is everything.

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Taryn Galloway, 06/05/2015