Cape Town has been hit by the largest drought in years and this water crisis has been an alarming wake-up call for all in the province, with its six dams having less than 20% of usable water left. This leaves the City of Cape Town with about 100 days of water left.
While the northern parts of South Africa have received good rainfall and are hence no longer suffering drought conditions, we all felt the effects of water scarcity in 2016 as food prices soared due to this nationwide drought. This reiterated the fact that water is not something to be taken for granted, as we often do, because the effects of its shortage are comprehensive, reaching into our wallets too, the harder it is to get water the more expensive it will become and we should not take this precious commodity for granted.
Even if you’re not within the boundaries of the Western Cape conserving water should become a habit, not only for this generation but for generations to come.
So how can you save water around your home? Here are a few helpful tips and practices.
1. Shower, and do it quickly.
You can use less water if you choose to shower instead of bathing. And reducing the time you spend in your shower – aim for 2 minutes – will save a significant amount of water, and hence reduce your water bill, each month.
2. Buckets are handy things
Buckets can be used in various wonderful ways to save water. For example, put a large bucket in front of you as you shower so that all the water that bounces off your body can be recycled. Some handy uses for this water you’ve saved would be to fill up your toilet cistern after flushing, or watering your plants. Another example is placing the container into your kitchen sink in washing your dishes in or rinsing fruit and vegetables. Instead of letting it all go down the drain, the water can be used for other purposes.
3. Turn off the tap
when you brush your teeth – this can save 6 litres of water per minute.
4. Use a cistern displacement device
Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush. You can get one of these from your water provider.
5.Do your washing fully loaded
Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher – this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.
6. Fix a leak
Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year.
7. Capture grey water
Install a water butt to your drainpipe and use the water collected to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows.
Water your garden with a watering can rather than a hosepipe.
8. Don’t use the hosepipe
A hosepipe uses 1,000 litres of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.
9. Install a borehole
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with high-quality borehole water it is a great investment and resource to take advantage of especially for those with gardens and pools. It also helps alleviate the strain on municipal water and many municipalities are encouraging homeowners to drill boreholes on their properties to tap into underground water supplies.
10. Optimise your water consumption
Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now buy water-efficient showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products.
Stop wasting water
Some habits deserve to die – not only are they useless, but they are also wasteful. Don’t leave your tap on while brushing your teeth or washing your dishes, fix your dripping taps, as these can waste many litres of water per day and don’t spend too much time washing your hands. Avoid flushing the toilet every time you use it: as the old cliché goes: if it’s yellow, let it mellow…
These are just a few suggestions, but there are many more simple ways to save water around the house. The trick to becoming a water-saver is simply to become water-conscious. Think about what you’re doing and ask yourself: is this necessary? And if so, can I do it in a more water-conserving way?
Don’t let your finances dry up
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