07 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

Moonshine Rainwater

It was a bell-jar hot day when I arrived at the guest house irresistibly named Moon Shine on Whiskey Creek, neatly wedged between Plettenberg Bay and The Crags.

Owners Albert and Sue Bröhm used to be city folk in Cape Town but both had country roots - Sue in the Kalahari, Albert in Germany. They’d found their dream place in the country here, in 14 hectares of indigenous forest, Whiskey Creek frontage, a view of the faraway Kouga and Tsitsikamma mountains on the other side of the gorge.

Initially without water rights, they became water spendthrifts. When it rained, they spread out awnings, pots, pans, any container they could.

“We realised that one rainfall would supply enough water for a few days if we used it carefully,” said Sue.

The lessons they learnt from this time that gave them the idea of gathering and storing water from every roofed surface they built. “We haven’t drawn any water from Whiskey Creek since October 2000,” says Albert proudly.

Moon Shine has 500 square metres of roofing. For every millimetre of rain, they get one litre per square metre.

Drinking water is gathered only from one roof, totally free of flashing and paint.

Over December, when Plett’s water is frequently sucked dry by an influx of twice-a-day city showerers, Moon Shine has been able to sustain 20 or more guests and visitors, on their property with no problem and no pumping from the river.

“We also don’t like pumping from boreholes. People behave as if it’s free water, but overpumping depletes the underground water table,” says Sue. “But we feel entitled to this, just the rain that falls on our roof.”

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