The Sceptic Tank investigates one Zimbabwean city's unconventional solution to water scarcity
Lots of things work better when they're done in time - and we don't just mean square dancing or the proverbial stitch here.
No, once again we're talking toilet. You see the one million residents of drought-stricken Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, have been instructed to ... well, we're getting ahead of ourselves. Patience, dear reader, patience.
Anyway, it seems two of the city's five water storage dams have had to be decommissioned and the shortages mean Bulawayo's suburbs are being deprived of water for up to 72 hours.
But fortunately, the city council has a high tech solution up its sleeve, something its august members clearly haven't been pitched by a junior official whose mate's two weeks into a plumbing course.
"We're asking residents to flush their lavatories at precisely 7.30 p.m. on the day that water is re-introduced to their homes," city spokeswoman Nesisa Mpofu told news agency Bloomberg, boldly maintaining city-wide synchronised flushing would reduce blockages and burst pipes.
So, if it's yellow, let it mellow. And if it's brown, well ... best wait till 7.30. But alarmingly, even this sure fire measure may not be so, er, sure fire - another two storage dams may dry up before the rainy season in November.
"Water rationing may be extended to 92-hour periods. The situation is very serious," Mpofu added, before producing a plunger, hissing through her teeth and declaring, "this ain't gonna be cheap, guv." Well, probably.
All of which rather brings home the importance of waste-water recycling, especially as climate change produces more frequent droughts. Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to pee in the window box.
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