N3TC Heroes – Water Wise
A Water Wise Tip for Winter
Despite the fact that there are many beautiful wetlands in Impendle, most households use municipal water. Recently, water delivery has been disrupted and for nearly a month, there has been no water at all in the taps. This is particularly difficult for schools.
Eco-Angel Zandile Sikhakhane to the rescue! With the learners she built a new tippy tap at KwaNovuka and Hlelolushe Schools and revamped the one near the toilet block at KwaKhetha where a lot of students make use of it.
A Tippy Tap is an ingenious device for water saving, hygenic hand washing, made with a discarded plastic maas bottle, some string and a few pieces of invasive wattle. Small holes are made in the lid of the bottle with a nail and it is hung by the handle to a branch suspended between two v-shaped stakes. String is tied around the neck of the bottle and attached to a branch below. When someone puts their foot on the branch, it tips the bottle toward them and some water is released into their cupped hands. A simple clever idea that is ideal for gardens, farms and settlements without access to much water. The schools are delighted as they now use only need to collect a small amount of water for washing and germs cannot be spread from one hand to the next as they can in a bucket. Miss Dlamini who teaches at Hlelolushe was so impressed that she decided to make one at home! Some of the learners have reported making them for their families too, combining their newfound technology skills with an environmental awareness.
The Impendle Sustainable Schools and Communities Project is funded by N3TC and supported by Dargle Conservancy. Zandile works in five rural schools facilitating activities that increase knowledge, skills and awareness regarding self-sufficiency and environmental conservation. Sadly, her laptop was stolen recently, making it difficult for her to report on her activities. Should you be able to assist, call her on 082 845 4527
Rain Dances and Real Solutions
After weeks of preparation on sun drenched dry days, the first thing we heard on the morning of the Mpophomeni Water Festival was the pitter pat of raindrops. Although the rain didn’t last long, the cold wind chased everyone indoors at the Community Centre where we warmed up by creating the sounds of a growing storm – with swishing hands, clicking fingers, clapping and finally joyous stomping!
Ayanda Lipheyana welcomed everyone, particularly pleased at the large crowd and the collaboration between local groups concerned with the state of our water resources – WESSA Water Explorer, DUCT, Midlands Meander Education Project, Mpophomeni Conservation Group and, of course, the Enviro-Champs. “When I woke up and saw the cold rain, I thought no one would come. It is good to notice that people are taking water related issues seriously.”
The Mpophomeni Enviro-Champs are registered in the international Water Explorer programme managed by Bridget Ringdahl of WESSA. “Top Water Explorer teams who have completed lots of challenges can be awarded a Water Festival to share their successes and learnings with a wider community.”
After an entertaining and informative puppet show, everyone dispersed to the colourful action stations set up around the hall. At one, facilitators demonstrated the effect that removing water from the base foundation of a pyramid that supported humans had on the rest of life on Earth – everything collapsed! Our food choices affect our water footprint considerably – a water wise option is to eat protein packed pulses, rather than meat. To grow 1kg of lentils, 50 litres of water is required compared to 4325l for a kg of chicken and 13000l for a kg of beef. The Thirsty Farming stand, run by learners, demonstrated ways of reducing water use in agriculture – by mulching, using natural pest deterrents rather than chemical ones and planting crops that don’t require lots of water like pomegranates and amaranthus.
As non-degradable materials are one of the major causes of blockages that lead to sewage overflows in the area, Thandanani Luvuno displayed What, and What NOT to put in the toilet “Only poo-poo, wee-wee and TP” he enthused. There is little doubt that the Enviro Champs have had a big impact in Mpophomeni, monitoring and reporting water leaks and sewage spills. Recently, in just one month, they worked out that they had saved 8 million litres! Nhlonipho Zondo who repairs taps in local schools, demonstrated how easy it is to do this – by stopping a dripping tap, you could save 259 000litres a year. To end proceedings, the very funny and entertaining play by the Mpophomeni Youth Productions – Sanitation Education entitled ‘The Toilet Play’ had the audience in stiches.
Everyone donned plastic gloves, grabbed rubbish bags and headed into the cold to collect rubbish all along the banks of the uMhangeni Stream ending at the MCG Garden in Mhlongo Road. Here Ntombenhle Mtambo and her team had prepared delicious water wise, low carbon lunch for the guests.
There is no doubt that the Mpophomeni DUCT Enviro Champs, in collaboration with WESSA Water Explorers and other local groups, are demonstrating simple and effective solutions to our water crisis. Amanzi ngawethu!
See www.waterexplorer.org click on South Africa