Watering roads during the worst drought

Cavadee 2011

Before I start with my rants, let me wish a “Happy Cavadee” to all MAURITIANS who celebrate it all round the island.

On each of the festivals (Cavadee, Mahashivratree, Marche Sur Le Feu etc), we are thousands to stand on the roads to watch (and sometimes admire) those devotees walking long distances for religious (and personal) reasons, fulfilling some of their wishes or promises. Very often, people help to make the journey less difficult and tiresome : Offering fresh juice, fruits and food, providing areas for devotees to rest and finally, people also find ways to cool down the burning tarmac by “watering” the roads.

However, the situation is completely different on this special day. Mauritius is facing the worst drought ever. The level of water in our reservoirs and boreholes is critical. Estimates made by the authorities say that the country has only a few weeks of drinkable water.

But, as usual, we still have some stupid and irresponsible persons among the population, I guess you already know what I will be presenting to you.

While CarrotMadMan6 has been shooting the Cavadee procession in Triolet, I had the opportunity to watch the one in Riviere du Rempart and in Goodlands for a few minutes. I won’t be posting pictures of the procession but a few shots showing how some people have been ‘watering’ the roads (CLICK to enlarge) :

Many thanks to Carrotmadman6 for his superb pics. I invite you to have a look at his photoblog. He shoots (practically) everything and as you most probably already know, he does great reviews 🙂

Water lorry tanks

As for these lorries, the source of the water might be different : They can be from some river, lake or even the sea, thus they might be using water which might not be going into the reservoirs, dams etc. So, we can’t take rapid conclusions just by watching.

Water Usage Restriction during drought period

1. Under sections 49 and 49A of the CWA Act, the Minister has approved the Drought Period Regulations 2011 which have been published in the Governement Gazette under GN 000 of 2011.

2. Under these Regulations,
No person shall without reasonable excuse, use any domestic supply or non domestic supply through a hosepipe, sprinkler or any similar apparatus, or in any wasteful manner
(a) To wash any vehicle
(b) To wash any pavement, building or part of any building (THEY DID NOT MENTION ROADS???)
(c) To water any hedge or lawn

Offences

(1) Any person who contravenes any regulations made under this Act shall commit an offence and shall on conviction be liable :

(a) In the case of a domestic consumer to a fine not exceeding 50,000 rupees and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.

(b) In any other case to a fine not exceeding 200,000 rupees and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years.
2 These regulations are effective as from 05 January 2011 and are applicable until further notice.

Share your thoughts

The pictures shown are so evident and clear : The persons are wasting (tap) water and thus committing a serious offence under the “Drought Period Regulation 2011”. I seriously believe that the authorities (including the police) wont be taking any actions for this day so as to avoid any interference with religion-related(?) practices.

I bet that you have witnessed these wastage in most regions of the island, is it so?

Please drop a few words…

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32 thoughts on “Watering roads during the worst drought

Add yours

  1. Servi delo mo dire moi. Quand delo fini tout dimoune pas pu gne delo. Fini remplissage piscine. Fini remplissage baignoire salle de bain. Fini lavage de ban voiture de luxe.

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  2. mo ti envi passe ene ti commentaire lor sa nouveau la loi la.. 🙂

    mo penC banne malin la pe rode fer croire ki zordi si nou dans sa situation la c’est faute population.. bein mo pas tro dakor ek sa

    CWA toute longue l’annE perdi de l’eau dans so reseau.. zotte pas aC reactif mem asterla .. pendant sa crize la.. ena ene tas tuyeau caC.. ena ene tas perdition..

    CWA capve plaigner ki pena effectif pou reglE tousa problem la.. Mais nou bannes ministe aulieu trouve solution pou aide cwa.. bein li trouve pou ale tire sipa ki la loi pou bez cash dimoune. ( ENA BANNE SMF ki ena logistics ek zotte pas fer narnien apart rasse l’herbe lor montagne.. kifer zotte pas aide CWA pou fer so bannes demarse?)

    mo ti envi conne bilan bannes gros Palto dans CWA la ousi.. lor ki base ki rate zotte sa banla? ki zotte KPI??

    lanne vini lannE alle ena problem de l’eau sa periode la.. bein ki bannes actions kine prend .. pas vine dire midlands dam.. ene vieux kk sa.. apres midlands dam ki bannes measure kine prend pou meet increasing demand of the population??

    PM ek so lekip competent arrete fatigue zotte la tet ek CPE ek sanse formule sak fois.. fer kitsoz concre pou pays la do.. nou bizin delo pas shopping malls.

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  3. Good photos, nice job. Even after all the public messages by the authorities there are still some wasting water. I hope the rains come in the next days.

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  4. (c) To water any hedge or lawn

    Si mo konpran sa bien, si mo aroz mo flèr personn pa kapav dir moi narien. Si enn zourné mo les lans coulé kot mo pié longann, pa kapav dir moi narien.

    Li difisil konpran kifer zonn fer regulations specific coum sa.

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  5. Blame the government for this drought. Most of the water is lost due to:

    bad piping system
    clean water from river flows to the sea
    water from mount ory is cleary wasted

    we need to water the flowers, wash our cars with pepsi 🙂

    cheers,
    Yasir

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  6. I believe that the lorries watering the roads are not using drinkable water.

    No comments about the people using their tap water to do it. 🙂

    PS: Its not easy to walk to hot tar barefoot.

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  7. I don’t think it is particularly unreasonable for Tamils to expect that water is applied to the road in order to assist them. I can also understand the frustrations of those who see it as waste of a currently precious resource. For non-Tamils and non-believers, there may even be some resentment. A few will see it as an opportunity to engage in some religion or Tamil bashing, but believers of other religions should ask themselves the question, “And what if it was your religious festival?”, while atheists should should respect people who hold different beliefs (unless they follow the aggressive militant form that itself appears to be a religion led by men such as Dawkins).

    A compromise of some kind should have been sought where potable water is not used by the public to “water” roads, and that organisers, with the assistance of the State and private sector if necessary, provide a solution to the problem. Communicate the message effectively and there hopefully would have been no problem. From my time in Mauritius, even with the best laid plans, I doubt the communications would have been there.

    Ultimately, waste or not, the fundamental problem is the mismanagement of the CWA water network, not Tamils nor their requirements from a system that has failed everyone.

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  8. My question:

    The government targets over 1 million tourist per year to visit Mauritius. Do the tourist fill up with air? They use water! Our water! Hotels have huge swimming pools, gardens, ponds, laundry services, bath tubs, so many plates!!! etc…

    Are they requested to cut short on water while doing the dishes, cleaning up etc? My foot they are!!!

    So why should we local residents always suffer? In front of my door the CWA had water going for 6months non-stop! I even blogged on it:

    http://reenadkl.blogspot.com/2008/06/to-save-or-not-to-save-waterthat-is.html

    Seriously, we Mauritians are too “laisser aller”…we simply accept everything with a stupid smile…pfff!!!

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  9. People should not water roads, pa this year kan meme. Habits are so hard to change, for people and for CWA!

    If that lorry is really carrying water from streams/rivers, that would be a good thing. Water cools down the hot road for devotees to pass on… Not pleasing God, it’s about helping other people…

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  10. i am taken aback by what i just read by those who just posted. The pa moi sa li sa stuff. As yashvin just mentioned we are facing the worst drought for more than 40 yrs. If you guys noticed not a single cyclone and we are now almost at the end of janUary. We got less than 2 months of drinking water left. What happens if it doesnot rainin feb and march. Simple no water to drink, to wash ourselves. No vegetables. We’ll be hit by all sorts of illnesses. But ppl here are cautioning the waste happening yesterday. Grow up.

    Yashvin and carrotmadman you should forward these pics to the concerned authorities. I called 999 and they mentioned that with photo evidence they will apply the law that was voted this year. I encourage all to do that

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  11. The law doesn’t prevent watering vegetables and flowers. What would you eat if there’s no vegetables?

    And rivers, there are so many rivers here. To name a few, I just visited clean rivers at Lallmatie! Bel Air and St Julien. Pena dechets!

    Like so many have been saying, the root of the problem is CWA’s distribution network.

    1. It might cost over a billion of rupees to fix the old pipelining, but it’s better than CWA wasting 50% of the water.

    2. New dams can be built on rivers in different places around the island.

    3. Then the ban on washing pavement and boundary walls should be maintained even on periods with abundant water… now that people just starting to know not to waste water (a few at least).

    The classic model: if Singapore could, we can too! (damn people who say we can’t be like them).

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  12. What is a law? A law is somewhat universal and it applies to all walk of life and in any circumstances as stipulated by the section of the law. Here using tap water on the road is exempted whilst two people have been contravened for using tap water to wash their car. Here we see the law is not applied to certain circumstances while others are paying fines. How can the authority punished these two persons and allows other to openly use tap water on the road. This is some sort of disgusting to digest and truly “Bien Delica”. I leave room for others to put their conclusion as our paradise island is no more such, since the episode of the pitiless death of the Ireland honeymooners. La loi a deux vitesse and it is.

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  13. @Bhooks:

    I agree with you. However when you talk about:
    “But ppl here are cautioning the waste happening yesterday.”

    Just drop by Roches Brunes and you’ll be more than just shocked at the water leaks by CWA.

    I believe that the real problem is CWA has never thought of making most of its reservoirs nor streams, rivers etc… How many rivers go to the sea? Fireman are asked to pump water from reservoirs into the sea when it overflows… Instead they could have another kind of reservoirs which would take in the overflow..or so…

    Anyway, I do my part and try to save water by not wasting it. Question remains how many do what they preach???

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  14. @ElSheikh:
    “while atheists should should respect people who hold different beliefs (unless they follow the aggressive militant form that itself appears to be a religion led by men such as Dawkins)”
    What do you mean? Atheists should remain silent, blind, deaf, apathetic, non-critical about what happens around them? What did Dawkins do to you? Kidnap your family, corner them in a pogrom and murder them in mass crematories? No, then keep to yourself things that you do not grasp, dear Sir. Kindly note that I’m using the same argument that those of your ilk use when people like Dawkins question your rationale of using as reference only one book: you usually reply that you cannot discuss about things that you do not master. In any case, you, like everyone else, are already athests: if you reject one god other than yours, then you are alredy an atheist in the eyes of the believers of that god you reject. So, you are only one (your) god away from atheism. Bravo to you…
    As for me, am an agnostic, thank god! 😀

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  15. I just wanted to point out that the lorries that were watering the street for the cavadee processions yesterday were using water from lakes and rivers.

    As for those who use their hose to water the street this is not good,but most of the water that were used yesterday for the cavadee comes from lakes or rivers.

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  16. Deep down inside ALL Mauritians will agree with the following:-

    In the name of ‘Religion’, EVERYTHING is permissible, done with impunity, and certainly above the law of the land! (must KEEP those voters-ain’t that the truth!).

    May the Gods have mercy upon our misguided souls!

    Amen!

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  17. c pa pourkoi mo dir ki dan moris ena zis ban vaut rien, incapable ki p diriz pays! pa nek CWA mais CEB, MT enfin gouvernment mm!! c tou ban babylonien! They’all can su*k di*ks!!

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  18. You are right to denounce this Yashvin.Desperate times call for desperate measures. Would it have been so out of line for the devotees to wear slippers this year? It would have been a most patriotic act i think. What Mauritians don’t seem to realise is that even small gestures to save water count.

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  19. @krishnen: When or where have you ever seen any Mauritian make the most minuscule of gestures about anything for or about anybody else unless there’s something concrete in it for him/herself personally?….keep thinking, I can wait! (:

    The Mauritian motto is “There is only ‘mwa’ and that’s all there will ever be”.

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  20. As a tourist who fell in love with Mauritius about 8 years ago, I really feel sorry for you all for the situation that you find yourself in.

    Quite a few years ago we had a drought in parts of the UK and most people complained but did stop wasting water, but it was never as serious as what appears to be facing you.

    I realise that we tourists may get better treatment than your own people and that makes me feel uncomfortable, however we do bring in a lot of money and it is a hard balance for your government to make.

    I will be over there in May, and I hope that you have had some respite and your reservoirs begin to fill up.

    try to keep smiling, it has always been something that endears you all to me.

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  21. This is what I sent to Le Mauricien some weeks ago, to no avail so far – so you’ll be the only ones to benefit from it:

    “ki nous pou faire si la pluie pas tomber la”

    The answer to this question was raised in an eye-opening blog named kozelidir.blogspot.com, is:
    No, we won’t die of thirst.

    There IS rain, not generalised of course, but enough for you to collect in recipients and which may sustain your basic needs (drinking, cooking and bathing – no car-washing of course!!) for longer than you can think – just remember that Rodrigues is blessed with far less rainfall than Dodoland(1), but still its inhabitants can live quite decently. How? Rainwater harvesting(2).

    People of Rodrigues have since long connected their roofs to some kind of container (plastic, fibre-reinforced, or even concrete) of high capacity (usually more than 1 cubic metre / 1,000 litres) and any drizzle (or even dew for those who live in humid regions) slowly but surely keeps water flowing into that reservoir. Once a week, you may pour about one teaspoon-full of sodium hypochlorite (also known as “eau de javel”) into this reservoir for disinfecting(3) the rainwater. And if you still want more disinfection for drinking, you may fill glass / transparent PET bottles and lay them in the sum for some hours – UV(4) will kill those germs that may have imaginarily survived chlorination. Simple, eh?

    If you want to water your flowers and lawns, may I propose that you connect your grey water(5) (from the kitchen sink, lavabo, bath-tub, “ross-lavé” / washing machine but NOT toilet) outlets to a grease-trap which discharges into a small underground tank from which you can pump out for watering? And you may even add sophistication (and independance from CWA) by using this water to flush your toilet, which is among the most thirsty appliances in your house(6,7)!

    For the time being, I would suggest massive subsidies to encourage people to purchase potable water tanks – it’s not hard to picture yourself sweating profusely on your way back home in the evening and longing desperately in the traffic for a bath after a long and hard day at work, but not being able to do that because the water-cut came into effect just minutes before you reached home. Add to that household chores such as dish-washing (and laundry and any other that contributes to hygiene) that remained pending because of these water cuts, etc… And that happens daily to all workers. Imagine their frustration.

    Privatising the water company is not the solution – all partnerships ended in corruption and downgrade in service levels (regular quality checks tend to become haphazard and erratic / inconsistent when the private company steps in) together with unjustified increases in prices wherever this has been applied. In all cases, people tended to prefer surface water for consumtion, which in turn caused water-borne / water-wash diseases to become widespread. SUch a public health crisis in times of hardship would be another hot potato that no wise government would like to create and handle…

    Cloud-seeding (artifically forcing rain to precipitate from low-lying clouds) also seems tempting now. But their result is too erratic to remain a viable source. And all studies invariably show that this method is least effective during drought seasons! If some hopefuls still manage to get a load of the expensive chemicals sprayed, they may see all their efforts lost at sea due to Mauritius being such a small territory.

    And what about brackish water? Without thinking: yes, but only after the proponents of this idea have a taste of their own medicine. And after the long period of adaptation during which they’ll need to empty their bowels more frequently than now, only then they have the right to impose it on us. But now think harder about the how and what of this idea: most of our (old, and/or cement-lined) water pipes may not resist the aggression of salt in the water, and less than 50% of the homes of Mauritius are connected to the wastewater reticulation system, which implies that the salt will end up in the soil, rendering it sterile in the short-term and contaminating durably our phreatic water in the long-term. So please do not put this subject on the table again as long as our infrastructure is not ready to convey it and treat it.

    Desalination? From where will we get the energy in sufficient amounts? Co-generation plants may be planned with this side-intent in mind, but we are still too far away from the first one yet. And what about disposal: where are the hotels which boast about their desalination plants dispose of the brine / salt that is produced as by-product of the process? Did you hear about any sea outfall to discharge it safely beyond the reefs lately? If all of these transportation and by-products are resolved, what about acceptance of the desired product: does it not require further processing (still more energy / resources) to be treated for hardness and flat taste, ‘stabilized’, etc (9)?

    Dam all the rivers, some yell out. Come on. Damming all rivers has risks of reducing the fauna and flora of downstream sections of the water course, and also significantly reducing recharge potential of acquifers (yes, the groundwater that is pumped from boreholes – 50% of all domestic consumtpion – is partly recharged from deep rivers). Moreover, the sides of most deep rivers require special (very costly) underground grout curtains on the sides of the abutment in order to contain the massive hydraulic pressures developped by impounded waters. Dams yes, but only large, very well thought-out ones.

    What else: Ocean thermal energy conversion, harnessing tidal wave pressures to produce power and/or water, air wells (8) etc? So many potential sources of potable water (and energy) that are continually lapping at our shorelines, but our authorities and decision-makers are always claiming either the lack of money forbidding exploration / pilot studies (does not mean surefire success, but at least you know which are viable now or will become viable later) or lack of previous research (which brings back to the issue of money) or the absence previous examples around the world (this is what actually repelled most proponents of radically new technologies) for not moving at all relative to Dodoland itself, but taking huge backwards steps with regard to world-wide trends. They say only dead fish swim with the current…

    So, my personal astrologer tells me that (depending on how hard you are suffering now, some or most of) you will forget about all of this once the rains start offsetting our current consumption patterns. But the reasonable portion of the Dodoland population knows that, in the end and immediately, we desperately need to cut down our own water footprint(10). Or else, if we are not ready to adapt to this régime we’ll have to brace for social turmoil…

    References:
    (1) http://www.gov.mu/portal/goc/menv/files/hot_sunflower/EIA%20DOC%20SOFT%20COPY%20-%202010-JULY-17/chap%204/chap%204.pdf
    (2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B-RuZgSqf8
    (3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorination
    (4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UV#Disinfecting_drinking_water
    (5) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEQ3p9akQDg
    (6) http://www.savewaterus.com/conserving.jpg
    (7) http://www.altenergymag.com/articles/07.06.01/water_recycle/Water%20Consumption%20Pie%20Chart.jpg
    (8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)#Radiative
    (9) http://www.psfk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/trans0309walkthisway.jpg
    (10) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality: Chapter 6.4 of Recommendations (page 112)

    – Torpedo

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