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Ancient Teachings

Genesis 1, 28 says that we should "go forth and multiply, and replenish the earth." Not all Bibles have this "replenish the e...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Solving our water crisis

It's time to march!!

Our problem is that we aren't like the Americans or Germans or Israelis. These are the world's strongest democracies, hence why so many outsides hate them so much!

Reason: when the people don't like something they get together: they march; they lobby. After Fukushima, 100,000 Germans marched against Nuclear Power. And this invigorated their leaders to phase out nuclear by 2023 and their scientists and engineers and transport planners and so many others to find ways to solve the problems that ensue because of this decision.

But since 1994 and the end of the Defiance Campaign, South Africans of all cultures have forgotten what got us to our new (promised) land (where the wells are bitter - actually the wells aren't bitter, but just like the Israelites, the people are bitter, fighting with each other rather than working with each other).

We need this defiance campaign back, but not to destroy and not to hate, but rather for brothers and sisters to work together and "love" each other, just like we did in the Apartheid years where we ignored the "rules", sat upstairs on busses (us African whites) and taught in townships whilst we were at university, when we could have been having fun on the beaches.

What I'm saying and I've said it many times is that we don't trust each other and because we don't trust each other we don't work together and because we don't work together, our leaders work against us rather than with us.



Lets work together. Please. For the betterment of us all.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Play the cards right - David Lipschitz's Letter in the Cape Times on 1st December 2017

Much is being written about Eskom's failure and the reasons for it.

It is sobering to think that when Medupi coal power station was originally budgeted, it was forecasted to be complete by November 2015, and Kusile by April 2017. If this 9.6 GW was already on the grid, the fiscus would be earning R286 billion more per annum and another two million people would be employed. Instead of being "R50 billion under budget", as Minister Malusi Gigaba recently said, we would be R300 bn over-budget.

It is time for people to realise that you can tax the input side of the economy as much as you like, but it is the output side of the economy that will make you orders of magnitude more money in income, and also in savings due to not having to pay out so much unemployment benefit.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cape Town Drought Disaster

We have been spoilt. Now we must get back to basics. And relearn who we are. And not depend anymore.


Cape Town: February 2018?



A documentary about Water in Cape Town!!


There is a very good chance that our water sources will run dry in February, 2018, less than three months time! We should be doing everything possible to avert this disaster, even if it means temporarily drilling into the aquifer or sinking well points, and BTW, many houses have had well points for decades in this City and in many others, without anyone telling us off.

Of-course large scale desalination is still required and the City's attempt at adding 20 million litres a day to fix the problem is really too little too late.

We need 2.4 billion litres of water a day to be considered world class. Before the crisis we were using 1.2 billion litres of water a day. Now, two years later we have already halved our water consumption and we are under 600 million litres a day and now the council have asked us to reduce our consumption to under 500 million litres a day. We will get there. And we are all learning a great deal about how to conserve water and to go back to the days before government told us that they could support us with cheap food, cheap electricity, cheap water and cheap transport. We have millions of years of doing things ourselves before governments turned up 80 years ago and started spoiling us.

And Israel has shown that desalination can be done at R7.50 per kL and most people who actually pay for water in Cape Town already pay this.

We have been spoilt. And now it is time to clean ourselves up and do things ourselves, again.

My recommendations to dramatically speed up investment in getting solutions on the ground:

  1. Allow private people to invest in all water and electricity (we still have an electricity crisis) and sewerage infrastructure before tax and before VAT.
  2. Incentivise people to convert their pools from chlorine and salt to oxygenated pools that contain drinking water.
  3. Incentivise people to not use water from the grid. Adding a water Levy is counter to this.
  4. Start a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a large scale desalination plant in Cape Town
  5. Create a database of preferred supplies.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Please can someone explain why our priorities are out of whack?

Something I don't understand.

People will buy (expensive) cars that they don't need, go on extravagant holidays, spend money on new cell phones, buy the latest toys, and then complain that electricity is expensive and water is expensive, etc.

For 5 decades, governments and utilities have made us think of 50 cent per kWh electricity and 5 kL of "free" water. And now it's out of control at R2 per kWh (+ 20%?) and R4 per kL (plus Sewerage Charge) to just get going.

And so what I don't get is that when I spend R20,000 on my water system, and I my wife and I continue to drive our 20 year old cars, whilst my colleague buys a new R200,000 car, he says, "Wow: 20K is really expensive just for this water system", and I think "hey: what about the R200,000 car you are driving?"

Also people plan for retirement in 10, 20 or 30 years time, but aren't concerned about being alive next week. If I want to be alive next week, I should ensure that I have adequate water, electricity, food, etc, backup systems in place.

Please can someone explain to me what I am missing? Why are people concerned if I pay R2 per kWh for my electricity when they were paying 50 cents per kWh (this 10 years ago when I installed my PV and battery system), and now if I pay R50 per kL for my 10 kL of water when I could be paying R4 per kL? Why this fixation on "out of context" costs. Yes, perhaps it is expensive to pay R50 per kL when I could be paying R4 per kL, but I (will) have water.

My colleague drives his car for one hour a day. That works out at R170 per hour to drive his car. Plus insurance, petrol, maintenance, etc. Lunacy.

Looking forward to understanding why our priorities are so completely out of whack.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Simple Solutions Exist : Letter in the Cape Times on 16th November 2017

I wish to point out to our government that even if our dams were full, we would still need desalination.

You see, the population has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Our dams are still almost the same size, probably smaller, due to silting, even with the new Berg River dam.

And our dams were built 30 years ago or more because we are in a drought area. This is not news!

And they were built to give us five years of water in the event of a drought. Now they give us two years of water. So assuming the dams can give us half the water we need, then we should already be desalinating 600 million litres of water a day.

In the winter / rainy season, we should not be using any dam water. By the end of winter, all our dams should be full. And all our embedded water systems should be clean and full. This includes swimming pools, all backup systems and aquifers. And our swimming pools should contain drinking water, also doable.

I've met someone who was working on desalination for Cape Town in 2010. The project was shelved because it rained. But as I have already said, this is so incredibly short sighted.

Solutions are at hand. They are modern, simple and inexpensive. And they should be implemented as soon as possible.

PS, not in the paper: The latest in desalination technology can be found at Sorek. And water at about R8 per kL is cheaper than a lot of us are paying in Cape Town, especially with tiered water rates, and the top rate being over R300 per kL. Spring water can cost R12 for a litre.

SA Growth Concerns : Letter in the Cape Times on 1st November 2017

Here is the letter as it was in the Cape Times.

Suppose your income in 2016 was R1 144 billion and your forecast was a 1.7% increase in growth, one would suggest a new budget of R1 163 bn.

At the moment, income for 2017 is projected at R1 214 bn, which is 6.1% higher than last year's income and with a revised forecast of 0.7% growth, the 6.1% divided by 0.7% gives me an 871% improvement in my projection.

We should be celebrating our success in squeezing more money out of an already distressed taxpayer.

This enabling government's National Development Plan calls for active citizens to contribute to the economy. Well, this active citizen has volunteered to supply this government with electricity at night and at peak times, at no capital cost to the economy. But this citizen is being ignored. Why is the government ignoring the NDP?

A modern economy needs electricity and water in plentiful amounts and cheaply and available when it is needed. But we as a nation are massively short of electricity and water. In the early 2020s Eskom will switch off old power stations, which means that even if the nuclear was running in five years it wouldn't strengthen our grid. There are alternatives. Why isn't government considering them?

If South Africa grew as a fast as our neighbors, tax revenues would automatically increase. Why is government continuing with old programs which aren't working instead of adopting new processes as Minister (Malusi) Gigaba says we should be doing?


And here is the full detail of what I wrote:

Question 1:

Suppose your income in 2016 was R1144 billion and your forecast was for a 1.7% increase in growth, one would suggest a new budget of R1163 billion. At the moment income for 2017 is projected at R1214 billion which is 6.1% higher than last year's income and with a revised forecast of 0.7% growth, the 6.1% divided by 0.7% gives me an 871% improvement in my projection.

We should be celebrating our success in squeezing more money out of an already distressed taxpayer, but instead we are saying we are R50 billion short. What am I missing?

Question 2:

This enabling government's National Development Plan calls for active citizens to contribute to the economy. Well, this active citizen has volunteered to supply this government with electricity at night and at peak times, at no capital cost to the economy. But this citizen is being ignored whilst government plans to spend R1400 billion on nuclear power thus increasing my tax burden by R6000 per month without actually getting any more electricity. Why is the government ignoring the NDP?

Question 3:

A modern economy needs electricity and water in plentiful amounts and cheaply and available when it is needed. But we as a nation are massively short of electricity and water. We need this electricity and water now, not in 10 years time. Even if we start building 9.6 GW of new nuclear at Koeberg tomorrow, we won't have this electricity for 10 years. And in the early 2020's Eskom will switch off old power stations which means that even if the nuclear was running in five years it wouldn't strengthen our grid. There are alternatives. Why isn't government considering them?

Question 4:

Why does government still continue to see how much they can get out of the spending side of the economy rather than how much they can get out of the income side of the economy? As stated in the Mid-Term Budget speech, the rest of Africa and the world are growing far faster than South Africa. If South Africa grew as a fast as our neighbors, tax revenues would automatically increase because of our growth. Adding to the tax burden with 20% or more electricity, water, fuel, food, etc, tax increases is slowing down our growth. Why is government continuing with old programs which aren't working instead of adopting new processes as Minister Gigaba says we should be doing?

I look forward to being enlightened with the answers that are suggested.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Who knows what an oath is?

Our ministers have to swear an oath:
"I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I undertake to hold my office as Minister/Deputy Minister with honour and dignity; to be a true and faithful counsellor; not to divulge directly or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to me; and to perform the functions of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.) "
I wonder how many of them understand this oath of office. An oath is to God. He knows just like we know.
They are called Ministers for a reason. They are Ministers of God. They have sworn an oath. An oath is to God.
And it is time for the people, who elected this government and its parliament to ask parliament to fix our water problem. And our electricity problem. And our food problem. And our transport problem. And our unemployment problem.
I feel sorry for our Ministers when they meet God as their relatively short time on earth will be tiny compared to an eternity explaining what they did.