It’s no secret that water, one of our most basic resources, is in short supply around much of South Africa at the moment. With the global weather changes environmentalists have been speaking about for years becoming more tangible, this isn’t likely to change any time soon. Unless you’ve lived in a place where water doesn’t just automatically come out of your household taps, it can be hard to imagine the reality of that.
Let’s try to avoid getting to that point by each doing what we can:
In the bathroom
- Fit your shower with a water-saving showerhead, and take short showers rather than deep baths.
- Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or soaping up in the shower.
- Fill a plastic bottle with a few centimetres of sand to weigh it down, replace the lid, then place it in your toilet cistern so less water is used with each flush.
- Flush only when you need to.
In the kitchen
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge so you don’t waste water on a hot day, waiting for the tap to run cold.
- Clean vegetables in a bowl of water, rather than under a running tap.
- If you’re washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the tap running to rinse them. Either dip them in a bowl of rinse water, or pour some hot, clean water over the drying rack once they’re all cleaned.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a washing machine or dishwasher, use it only for full loads, or adjust the load size in the settings if you have a small load.
In the garden (and for pot plants)
- Plant water-resistant and/or indigenous plants, and mulch the ground well to slow down evaporation.
- Water either early in the morning or in the late afternoon, so the plants can absorb the water before it evaporates.
- Catch and use grey (“waste”) water, to water plants or flush the toilet e.g. used bath water and the cold water that comes out the hot tap while you’re waiting for it to heat up.
Just being aware makes a huge difference as it automatically leads to the small changes that add up to big water savings. If each of us does our bit, our whole community benefits.