After the much-needed storms in Cape Town, we still find ourselves in a worrying drought crisis, at the heart of which lies our everyday use of water. We have been working hard to save water, but we must still work harder in so many easy, everyday ways. Small efforts can go a long way. And apathy never gets anyone, anywhere very fast.
This is the worst drought that we have experienced since 1904. With an increase of only 4% after the recent storms, and the current levels at 23.1% (last 10% non-potable), we are still in a water-shortage crisis. But hope remains (!), as long as we are critically mindful of how much water we use, and how we are using it every single day.
- One great way to create awareness and excitement about saving water is to initiate a water-saving campaign at school. Here, kids could all be involved in a competition to create posters for the campaign: may the best poster win! Sharing water-saving tips and creating a dialogue around the water crisis would be part of this process. Also, get the kids involved on an everyday basis at school: get them to report water leaks and to turn off and monitor taps during breaks.
- As for cleaning practices at school, instead of using running water to clean, fill up a bucket and reuse water for cleaning all surfaces, then use this grey water to flush the loos.
- Got a school garden? Plant only indigenous, water-wise plants (Succulents, Fynbos, Buchu, Lavender, Air plants, Aloes, Clivia, South African Daisy etc) and save grey water for watering (of course, try to use organic, biodegradable products too).
- Take 2 minute showers, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving (left running, taps can waste 6 litres of water per minute!). (Also check out shower-head adaptors).
- Wait until you have a full load before doing the laundry or using your dishwasher (each load uses 50/13 litres respectively, per cycle!).
- Fix all leaks immediately, this saves water and will decrease your water bill (leaks can waste 15 litres a day if left unchecked).
- Recycle your water by putting a water butt on your drainpipe. This way you can reuse water collected to water your (indigenous, water-wise) garden or clean your car.
- When rinsing veggies and fruit, use a water-filled container, not running water.
- Each time you flush the loo, 14 litres of water gets wasted. So…if it’s yellow, let it mellow! Poops are the only guys who deserve to be flushed on site. You can also turn off your toilet tap, and only re-open it when you need to fill up the cistern (apparently they leak like crazy). You can also convert to a multi-flush system, which allows you to control the amount of water that gets flushed down.
All in all, a little effort, everyday, goes a long way. One step at a time, one drop at a time, just keep consciously saving: your actions now will save you (and everyone else) in the long run.