Africa, Life

Recycling Toilet Water

Durban is finally waking up and planning to start recycling waste water. When? Who knows.

Most people will be pleased and see the common sense; A few will be saying Ew! We’re gonna be drinking toilet water?!

On the facebook group Durban’s Dogs the repeated question has been So What’s The Big Deal, Man? Arf! We’ve Been Doing It For Years . .

Home, Life

Off the Grid – A Confession

Going off the (electricity and water) grid is too much of  mission and the costs don’t justify it.

And I hate it that I just said that, so I’m committing to re-looking at it.

Last time I looked at solar water heating (meant to be the no-brainer) the cost was so much higher than Eskom that I hesitated. Then they told me the system would likely only last for 5 or 6 years and so I did what I do well: procrastinated.

It also turned out to be more technical and complicated than I thought. People who have done it always say “Ag it was nuthing! I just did this and that”. Not true! Here’s a pic that demonstrates this – Proud Brian Brooks of Tokai with his system (admittedly a borehole, not just roofwater):

Own Borehole

Holy guacamole, this is NOT for me! I will start off with catching rainwater off my roof. Then I’ll tiptoe on to investigating solar water heating. After that we’ll see. And I’ll report in unvarnished fashion with no hidden costs.

Watch this space! (But don’t hold your breath).



Earth’s Precious Water


All of Earth’s water – every drop – salt & fresh

That large blue sphere over America represents all of Earth’s water. Its diameter is about 1370km (more than the distance from Pretoria to Cape Town) and has a volume of about 1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers). This sphere includes all of the water in the oceans, ice caps, lakes, rivers, groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you, your dog, and your tomato plant.

The sphere may look small, but its height is three times higher than the International Space Station, which flies about 400km overhead. If you pricked that bubble it would fill all the oceans & seas, (average depth 3.7km), lakes, rivers, ice caps, underground water, everywhere. If you spilled it just over the continental USA it would be 170km deep, seventeen times deeper than the deepest ocean trench.

Liquid fresh water

The second, smaller blue sphere over Kentucky represents the world’s liquid fresh water (groundwater, lakes, swamp water, and rivers). The volume comes to about 10,633,450 km3, of which 99 percent is groundwater, much of which is not accessible to humans. The diameter of this sphere is about 272 kilometers.

Water in lakes and rivers

Can you see the third tiny blue bubble over Atlanta, Georgia? That one represents accessible fresh water – the water in all the lakes and rivers on the planet. Most of the water people and life on earth need every day comes from these surface-water sources. Scary how small it is!! The volume of this sphere is about 93,113 km3. The diameter is about 56 kilometers. It is incredibly tiny compared to the globe, but if you’re thinking “can’t be that small” you have to try to imagine a bubble 56km high—say seven times higher than Mt Everest is above sea level (or fourteen times higher than Everest above base camp, the usual picture we see of the mountain).

Surface liquid fresh water is incredibly precious! Let’s not dam it, pollute it or waste it.



A horse of a different kettle of fish

We got a new kettle. The fancy black round Russell & Hobbs started leaking and that irritated me as it was only a year (or three? four?) old and I thought stuffit, so I dug the camping kettle out of the ammo box in the garage and we became Team Liquigas.

So I got to know the smell of red hot aluminium and that wasn’t good, so I used a pot and got to know the smell of really hot plastic handles and sometimes we’d only get tea after two boiling-dry’s and by the third boiling the kitchen smelt funny. And sometimes we rescued it but there was only enough water for half a cup, not three cups.

So I caved in within two months and bought another kettle that uses Eishkom electricity and switches off automatically because we are MAA in our house – Multiple Attraction Abundant – or VWE – Various Wonders Enriched.

We are NOT Attention Deficit.