06 May 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Water in the Desert

Deserts make you so aware of water. I still remember the intense satisfaction I felt when opening the plug of the basin at a dune destination.

All the water that drained out was piped directly to a thriving tree outside the little chalet. Such a simple thing, but so beautiful. The birds flocked to that tree. I felt personally linked to the tree’s well-being.

The other striking thing I remember is going to Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, and seeing a sign that a bathful of water would be enough to support a herd of springbok for a week. Suffice it to say that I had very abbreviated and respectful showers after that. The bath remained untouched.

Next week I’m heading off to a workshop on how to ‘green’ hospitality in South Africa. Everything from how to understand eco-labelling to dealing with plastic waste, climate change and carbon offsets, water issues, energy issues and the mysterious world of chemicals that find their ways into rivers.

And I am feverishly hoping that finally we are entering the era beyond those sad little signs in hotel bathrooms urging me to hang up my towel if I want to save water and not have it laundered.

Sad because they always seem to pluck them off the hook and launder them anyway.

I’ll keep you updated….

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