Cape Town’s water crisis worsens (when does Christchurch’s and Perth’s start ?)

HouseNEPXcny3The Cape Town government are idiots, I’m calling them out on this. THEY are in large part at FAULT behind this current water shortage emergency. Responsibility lies fair and square with the GOVERNMENT there, and their past policies.

Here in Christchurch NZ for example if you buy land in ANY AND ALL of the new subdivisions (eg Rolleston), they have conditions on the land sale and title deed. Those conditions are placed there yes by “property developers” (ie property price speculators) and with the intention of making ALL new land releases LUXURY suburbs, they have rules banning pre-built, transportable or kitset houses, and controlling which methods of construction and materials are used. They also demand minimum house sizes, something like 240 metres squared floor area. They state what fences and garages can be built of and what they are to look like.

Even if a retired couple “downsizing” just want an 80 m2 small house, they MUST build one at 240m2. The effect of these stipulations is that ALL new housing is provided ONLY at the luxury and high cost end of the sales market spectrum. The property price speculators are allowed to make these rules because the laws and bylaws, passed by our national and local governments, allow them too.

Futhermore there are ZERO requirements for water saving installations (ie rainwatertanks) and for that matter on designs for flooding mitigation (ie garden bed swales or underground storage cisterns) that would help to prevent surface flooding during heavy rainfall events. Keep in mind that when rain DOES come, a great big dump can happen within a short time.

With global warming and climate change HERE NOW, governments that fail to pass sensible design rules and laws, are playing Russian roulette with their citizens. Note that Cape Town is a similar climate to Perth and Adelaide in Australia and even Christchurch NZ, although much cooler, also receives a fairly low annual average, and a very low Summer average, rainfall.

When I lived in rural Western Australia, several hundred kilometres inland from Perth, although I had a piped water supply to my property, (known locally as “scheme” water) at the earliest opportunity I  was able to, I bought myself a small rainwater tank. I could only afford a small “1,000 gallon” tank, but I’d annually get about 4,000 gallons of water from it (approx 18,000 litres). Because as rain events occurred, it kept getting topped up, even a little during the drier times of the year. My annual average rainfall was just 320 mm a year (although the tank collected from over half of, a large house’s roof area). Being “Mediterranean” climate zone meant that evapo-transpiration was rated at about two metres per year. (So that means the hot Summer sun, evaporates six times as much water, as comes down as rainfall). In the Summer half of the year, this sucks the soil dry, like a wick.

Imagine if just half of all Cape Town homes, or for that matter, Christchurch New Zealand houses, had their own rainwater tanks.

Will the headline and story be,  re-printed almost word-for-word, but with CHRISTCHURCH NZ in the title instead of Cape Town, in another few years time ? (I’d just about put money down, as a bet, here and now, that it sure as heck will be ! )

Below is a link to an article, on the NZ Herald’s website.  The photo above is of my property in WA,  in about 2005, taken from the road slightly NE of the house. Rainwater tank not visible from this angle.

I’m calling this article out as BULL-SHIT.  Just to be clear, in this case, by “bull-shit” I mean the article may well be valid and true, just that it totally side-steps and avoids the issue that failings over many years in local government policy have led to this. Do the local authorities require ALL new house builds, and all major renovations, to include a rainwater harvesting tank ? A simple bylaw or building code is all that is required to demand one. Like the ones we currently have in Australian and NZ requiring ELCB or RCD “safety cutouts” to be installed in new mains electrical wiring or added during major repairs, and safety glass when sliding doors are newly installed or replaced.