Summer in Cape Town

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems
01 November 2009

Each year Capetonians look forward to escaping the cold and wet Cape winter with rose-tinted memories of sunny skies, long, hot languid days relaxing alongside white sand and cool blue water. All too soon though, these summer days are upon us and we find ourselves heading for the nearest restaurant or shopping complex in search of air-conditioned comfort.

I recall the summers of the seventies. Suntan lotion was hardly heard of and certainly didn’t have a numerical factor to alert the user to its block out effect. It wasn’t until the eighties that I began taking notice of block out factors, where use of factor 3 was scorned upon by peers, whose bronzed bodies were lacquered by sun tan oil. Oil! It was like frying your skin!

Remember the sun seekers? (This part is for the prunes older than 40)….the beach potatoes that sat propped on their recliners with body flayed, head back to smooth the neck line to ensure full coverage; these worshippers of Ra occasionally adjusting their body positions to remain true to the sun’s rays, like the point of a compass seeking north.

It wasn’t long before sun tan lotion factors increased to 10s, followed by 20s and 30s, and then the ultimate …. total block out. Where to from here for the lotion manufacturers?

Each year seems to bring hotter and more arid summers to Cape Town. Now we can’t go to the beach without some form of protection (suntan protection, that is).

John Wayne

John Wayne

Now, summer of course brings the inevitable tourist. Not the national sort but the international variety, especially those Northern European types with their blue-white skin. Thirty years ago they could tan in Cape Town and walk around back home bragging about their mildly burnt skin. These days we get fire-engine-red legs bandying about restaurants – John Wayne style. What’s happened?

It’s the greenhouse effect. Each year the sun becomes hotter and more intense. According to the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) South Africa will become one of the two most arid places on earth (the first being China’s Yangtze River Valley) and could run out of fresh water by 2015. In particular the Western Cape will get drier. With this in mind it might well be time to consider harvesting our rainwater.

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