Stellenbosch Woordfees goes dry to save water

26 February 2018 - 16:08 By Staff Reporter
The organisers have issued a list of do's and don'ts for festival goers who will need to comply with the Western Cape water saving measures.
The organisers have issued a list of do's and don'ts for festival goers who will need to comply with the Western Cape water saving measures.
Image: 123RF/Igor Stevanovic

Book and art lovers may want to swot up on the "great unwashed" style that some followers of grunge music adopted in the 1980s‚ because the Cape water crisis means they will be going without many modern conveniences.

A flush toilet‚ ice in your drink and doing laundry are not on the menu if you're planning to attend this year's Woordfees‚ the literary and art festival of the University of Stellenbosch‚ taking place in March.

The organisers have issued a list of do's and don'ts for festival goers who will need to comply with the province's water saving measures as residents try to avert "day zero" scenarios - and explained why they are not cancelling the event.

When planning the 2018 Woordfees (Wordfest)‚ two issues became immediately clear:

i) "Stellenbosch cannot host a festival that exacerbates the district’s water crisis and;

ii) "The town cannot afford to cancel the festival – the economic impact would be extensive‚" they said in a statement. "The Woordfees provides work for more than 600 people during the festival – this number excludes the performing musicians and artists. The loss to the local hospitality industry if the festival were not held‚ would be tremendous."

In order to alleviate the pressure on the water supply‚ the Woordfees in partnership with Stellenbosch University has instituted a range of water saving measures:

- Waterless chemical toilets will be supplied at all venues.

- Municipal toilets will only be available in case of emergencies.

- Water to taps in public bathrooms will be shut off and waterless hand sanitizers will be made available.

- The few available emergency taps will be fitted with eco nozzles which regulate the water pressure and decreases the water flow seven times.

- As far as possible‚ no ice will be used to cool liquor.

- The janitorial staff will collect all half used bottles of water left behind at the festival site and ensure that this water is used in the festival grey water systems.

- Buckets will be available in the venues where showers are available.

Stellenbosch University said it supports the festival water-saving plan and has provided financial backing for the switch to chemical toilets.

The university is also providing borehole water that will be filtered and bottled. "These bottles will be sold to festivalgoers and can be filled at no extra cost at selected water points in the central festival area. In addition to these measures‚ the University has undertaken to supplement the municipal water supply with borehole water."

In addition‚ the Woordfees organisers have asked all guest houses and hotels providing festival accommodation to remove plugs from and cut the water supply to baths‚ provide waterless sanitizers for guests‚ and provide buckets for use in showers.

Festivalgoers who come by car from outside the drought-stricken area are requested to bring two 5-litre water bottles along for washing their faces and brushing their teeth.

Festival goers are also requested to:

- bring along enough clothing for their entire stay‚ so that laundry needs are minimised.

- bring their own towels with them and to return home with them without laundering them at the festival.

X