Cape drought a real stinker for MECs
How MEC Alan Winde plans to get through the drought in just two T-shirts
Alan Winde is renowned for his air of quiet confidence.
It’s an odour the Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities hopes to retain as he embarks on a washing go-slow – wearing only two T-shirts a week – to draw attention to the Cape Town water crisis.Winde has vowed to wear only T-shirts and jeans to work while the city remains on high alert with a water restriction of 50 litres per person per day.
“For the next three months while we’re only at 50 litres, my washing basket will have socks and undies in it, but only T-shirts,” Winde confirmed this week in his fresh-smelling office in the city centre.He said he alternates two T-shirts that he branded specifically for the occasion with the logo #watersmart: “You air it, hang it up, then wear the other T-shirt the next day,” he explained, adding that some city businesses had expressed interest in joining in the challenge.
“There are a few businesses looking at it – we’ve got some potential partners,” Winde said.
He is not the only high-profile politician drawing attention to the city’s water plight via their physical appearance. Western Cape premier Helen Zille has also impressed with her oily hairdo due to reduced washing, and many residents are following suit.Winde is urging “water wise” habits in all spheres of life to help the City of Cape Town avoid Day Zero – a point at which officials would be forced to turn off most of the city’s taps and deliver water via 200 distribution points.
He called for a transformed city environment based on more sustainable water-saving methods such as storm water harvesting to recharge underground aquifers.Mandatory dual-plumbing infrastructure for new developments – to allow for recycling of grey water – should also be seriously considered, Winde said.
“For me it is all about water re-use – it makes so much more sense. Imagine using our existing water twice,” he said. “We would like to see a whole new water economy coming out of this.”
The city’s supply dams currently sit at a combined 24% of capacity, down 0.4 percentage points from last year. Exactly four years ago the dams were at 81.5%. The latest Day Zero forecast is July 9.