The sorry sight of Storm King Dam at the moment.
The sorry sight of Storm King Dam at the moment. Samantha Wantling

Let's avoid our 'Day Zero' event

NOT that long ago, the South African government introduced the Day Zero campaign when it became obvious Capetown may be the world's first major city to run out of water.

It was met initially with scepticism, then anger and finally fear. After the fear, people started 'seriously' practising water saving and, to cut a very long story short, a crisis was averted.

There is no doubt the Day Zero campaign was a shock tactic to focus people's efforts on saving water, but in the end, it worked.

Now I am not saying we need to have our taps turned off or the army needs to come in and stand guard over water pipes, but something must give, and it is going to take the co-operation of every single resident to avert the catastrophe awaiting the Granite Belt.

I think what frightens me most is this dilemma could have been averted 20 years ago, 10 years ago, three years ago, even 12 months ago.

This crisis has shown deep patterns of disconnect in our relationships with water and water has emerged as a peep hole where we can view the complex dynamics of politics and the blame game. So, for the Granite Belt, the big question is, where to from here?

To begin with, a levy is not going to help any of us. It will possibly break many families and be a huge burden on the rest.

But there is no doubt, as a collective, we can help ourselves.

We can no longer take for granted that this resource should, or always will be available at our fingertips.

Reusing water must become part of life, just like eating, sleeping and breathing.

While the debate rages about what will happen, who is to blame and whether our region will be drawn together or pulled apart, we must prepare to stop a 'Day Zero' scenario.

We cannot leave this problem with our three levels of government, for fear that we will end up just being a pawn in some political soap opera.

There is an old Chinese proverb - the best time to plant an oak tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. I suggest we all plant the seeds of change in our lives right now.