It was gold, not water that drew people here in droves. Johannesburg is the only major city in the world that is not built close to a large source of water. Landlocked, it is about as far from the sea as it could be in South Africa and there are no large rivers or lakes here. It’s all pumped in from elsewhere filling our taps and swimming pools and nourishing the vast man made forest that is Jo’burg.
Sunday March 22nd was World Water Day and to tie in with that, Sweetpea has been learning all about the scarcity of water at school this week. The children have been doing games and experiments to highlight the problem.
They had to wear blue one day and be certain to bring only reusable drinking bottles to school. Another day they only filled their bottles half full and had to manage how much they drank over a period of time. They played some kind of game where they started with a full bottle, but if they made judgement errors, some of their water was poured away.
It’s all had a positive effect. She’s thinking and learning and doing. “Turn off the tap Mum”. I had my own ‘water is precious’ moment this week when I took a tour of Soweto. Our last stop was to a desperately poor area and the guide pointed out this tap.
She told us that this is the only tap serving upwards of 500 people for all their drinking, washing and cleaning needs. Sometimes, I am guilty of overfilling my kettle and letting taps run a little longer than I should do. If these people still manage with so little water (and this is only one of the many challenges they face), then I could probably manage to use a bit less too….
*Please note, this photo is not a blanket representation of Soweto. Soweto is vast, with a massive population and a diverse mix of rich and poor. This was taken in one of the very poorest areas. To learn more about Soweto from a previous post click here.