Water less
Waste less



By Helen McGlead

According to the City of Cape Town, our dams are only at 60% and with a very long and dry summer ahead of us, we all need to take the responsibility to monitor our personal water use!

I often cringe at myself when I make a choice to be wasteful, for example, leaving the tap running to wait for the hot water to kick in, or when I take a sneaky extra few minutes at the end of my shower. I no doubt find myself saying, “I will be less wasteful tomorrow!” The hard truth is that there is ultimately no time left to put off sustainable water use. Cape Town has presently implemented stage three restrictions at the very beginning of summer which is incredibly disconcerting. These restrictions are, in fact, common in Cape Town yet they have generally been enforced a lot later in the summer.

Here are some simple and easy to implement ideas to help reduce your household water use:

1: Firstly, there are some really great ways to avoid excessive waste when showering.  For example, turn the water off when you get all soapy and then turn it back on to rinse. Always keep a bucket in the shower with you to capture some of the H2O that is being lost to the drain. This can be reused to nourish your garden and plants or to flush the toilet.

2: Next, I remember learning this trick in primary school and have never forgotten it! Place a two litre bottle of water into the cistern of your toilet (if you have a cistern) as a consequence, the volume of water used to flush is lowered. The City of Cape Town is running, in my opinion, an incredible initiative called “Drop-The Block” where a brick of recycled plastic is placed in the cistern, to learn more about the campaign, click here.

3: Also, when washing your dishes in a sink, you could keep a bucket in the sink to catch all your grey water and furthermore reuse it to water your garden. You will be surprised to see how much you can save to recycle in one wash! However, if you find yourself in the good fortune of a dishwasher, be sure to fill it up entirely before running the cycle.

4: Lastly, it is super beneficial to irrigate your garden at night because as a result, there is a long period of time for the ground to soak up the moisture without evaporation taking place. Use a watering can instead of a sprinkler system to ensure that no water is wasted and, as an extra bonus, you get to spend some quality time with nature! You could also plant ground cover under trees and bushes in order to eliminate excess evaporation  taking place during the day.

All things considered, our situation is dire and we need to, first and foremost, care for our life force! Ultimately it is important that we keep our eyes fully open to how we use and treat our natural resources. Meanwhile, don’t be shy to chat to a friend or family about how they can reduce their water use as it is so important to keep conscious about our ever changing environment.

“When you drink the water, remember the spring” – Chinese Proverb

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