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Ghana Day #30:
Water, Water Everywhere (And Not A Drop To Drink)

By 31st May 2018Travel


The water crisis, Cape Town has been facing since 2015, has irrevocably changed the way most of us feel about this precious resource.


We all panicked when the City Of Cape Town announced Day Zero, 1 April 2018, the day Cape Town would run out of drinking water.


Overnight 5L bottles of water became a hot commodity and we were keeping up with the size of the Jones’ JoJo water tanks.


Fortunately Day Zero has not yet arrived in Cape Town – it has been pushed to 2019 – but our attitude towards water has been permanently altered.


I don’t think I will ever be able to take a shower*, without mentally singing a 90-second shower song. (*Bathing has been removed from our lexicon a long time ago.)


Or, having my internal alarm system trigger when I hear anything that remotely resembles a hosepipe or a sprinkler system.


However, I now realise that I still took for granted the fact that I had drinking-water, available on tap.


Which was about to change…





..When I arrived in Ghana, I was a surprised to find you can not drink the tap water.


Which is ironic: seeing as there is water everywhere.  (For exclusive use of the mosquito colonies! (See Day#29 )


Of course, there are areas in South Africa where one can’t drink the tap water either.


But these are usually failed municipalities in Gatsonderwater. Not in a modern hotel, in a modern city like Accra!


The kind hotel manager (See Day#2 ) must have sensed my distress (which dehydrated me even further!) because she delivered extra bottles of chilled water to my room.



This however only pacified me for a short while, before I started doing water-math:



I drink more than 2L of water a day. (In this heat most probably more.)



That is 3-4 x 750ml Voltic bottles per day. 21-28 bottles per week. 84-112 bottles per month!!!



That is a lot of bottles.






I am lucky, if I had to I could afford to buy water if I have to.



But how does a Groundnut Vendor or an Uber Driver afford to buy drinking water for their entire family?




I asked (Oracle) Richard. Of course! (See Day#12 )



Richard said that families either buy water in containers, like the ones used on water coolers, or in sachets (which is a lot more cost-effective than buying water in bottles.)




Why do they not boil water for instead of buying water?



Because it is cheap to buy sachets of water: A pack of 30 sachets costs only GHS9



Which works out to 3 pesewas (9c) per sachet.



This is great for the people of Ghana, who need water to drink.



But terrible for the environment.



(Which reminds me: I have no idea what to do with my recycling.) (Except to use it as holiday homes for Charlie’s 12 wives.) (See Day#15 )






When I moved into my apartment, one of the first things that were carried upstairs was a box of Voltic water.



And I vowed would be the only box of water to make it’s way upstairs.



Partly because 112 bottles of water at the GHS1 = R3 exchange rate, will lower Charlie and my Fufu allowance.



And partly because Charlie and I already have our hands full with our existing recycling (which Charlie adores). (But that is a story for another day.)



Instead, Charlie and I religiously boil water, every night, and re-fill our 12 bottles.




Make that, 11. I think Charlie ate one.



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