I said a few months ago while the sun was still shining. Just wait! Its gonna rain! Its gonna flood! The shacks will be under water! Everyone will feel helpless! And true to Moses the rains have come. The shacks are under water and everyone feels helpless. Every year the same pattern occurs and every year diddly squat happens. So when the rains abate in about December or January in Cape Town then why not start some innovative campaigns and projects over the 6 months period before the rains come.
There is a big debate about why the poor dont do more to prevent the flooding themselves. Well i cant really answer this question as i dont live there but perhaps it is because when people live in shacks they dont really give a shit about their properties, as after all it is a shack, and no-one really wants to live in one. So if poor people are not being self preventative then perhaps art and innovation can show the way. Perhaps some of the interventions will take off and perhaps others will just die. The trick for me is to implement a whole raft of things and see what sparks the interest of people who live in shacks.
Ok, so how about some innovation. These are the kinds of ideas i think are worth a bash!
1. Water does move and its easy to make water move where you want it to go. Design a system in these areas where water moves efficiently. This could take the form of pathways of rock, paving, trenches, piping, etc. It would be great to store the water for future use.
2. Build specialised water catchment tanks on the sides or top of shacks. The water could be used later. South Africa has a terrible zero water catchment household policy and this needs to change.
3. Build underground water catchment areas on sport fields for future use to irrigate the sports fields which are often left without water in summer.
4. When there is flooding have specialised round boards that people can walk on around the area. (like alice in wonderland and the large lilies)
5. Have large clothes driers operational in the area throughout winter at a marginal price to consumers and maybe subsidised by Eskom
6. The design of large sponges to mop up areas quickly.
7. Build shacks 1m above the ground like they do in Asia. The shacks can be built using old plastic crates and then removed in summer. This is a really simple solution that will work!!!
Ok I could go on and on. Who wants to join me in January 2014-May 2014 to implement some of these solutions.