Water is love. Water is life. It is also in short supply. Here are some easy tips to save our most precious resource.
Today is World Water Day. It is a reminder of the importance how precious and scarce this resource is. Now is the time to be water wise.
As we know, South Africa (and the world in general) has been experiencing some serious water shortages lately. The City of Cape Town has implemented level 6B water restrictions. This states that each individual is only allowed to use a maximum of 50 litres of water per day. Many communities, both rural and urban, suffered the consequences of water shortages.
Yup, the water crisis is real. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country – water is scarce and it should not be wasted. So, to make sure future generations (and us, right now) have water we should all make an effort to save water.
Save water now
1. Limit your shower time
We all know that the shower is the place where we practice our audition for Idols, ponder life’s most meaningful questions and think up witty comebacks that we needed a week ago. But did you know that taking showers that last 5 minutes or less can save up to 21 000 litres of water a year?
2. Switch the water off while shaving or brushing your teeth
If you’re at the sink, don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth or shave. If you’re in the shower – switch the water off while shaving your legs (this also makes it a bit easier to not get attacked by water while you awkwardly try to reach your ankle).
3. Only wash plates when necessary
This may be the student in me talking but you don’t have to put a plate in the sink if it only had a sandwich or some Oreos on it. If you swipe the crumbs into the bin – it’s as good as new. Just don’t let your dog lick peanut butter off the plate and pretend it’s clean. I beg of you. Even better yet – use paper plates. This is water-saving at its best.
4. Fix any leaks.
Get someone who knows what they’re doing to fix any leaks in your house. Because if leaky taps drip constantly they can waste up to 40 000 litres a year. That’s a lot of water!
5. Water your garden when the sun is down
Watering your garden in the early morning or late evening allows the grass and plants to soak up water without it being evaporated by the sun. This can save up to 100 litres each time. If you have a dog, you can make washing your dog and watering the garden the same event.
6. Water your plants with recycled water
If the ice in your drink has melted or you have water left in the pot from making some pasta, you can use this to water your plants (wait for the pasta water to cool down first though). You can actually use any water that doesn’t have poisonous chemicals in it – this is called grey water. Find out more about it on the Greywater Action website.
Recycling plastics and other household waste actually saves water. (Why? Because creating new products requires water and if you recycle then companies don’t have to create new materials from scratch).
You can get some cheap plastic bins –they don’t have to be colour coded, just label them for plastic, paper, tin and organic waste and start recycling. If you live in a complex, you can usually speak to the trustees about getting communal recycling bins.
8. Use greywater to flush toilets
If you don’t have a shower or enjoy baths, you can use the water from your bath to flush your toilets. After you’re done bathing, fill a bucket with your bath water and pour it in the toilet tank or bowl. If you take a shower, you can use a bucket to collect water while you shower – just stand in the shower and let the water collect as you do your regular shower routine. This method also gives you a free arm workout – carrying buckets of water back and forth is actually a lot of work. #freegym
9. Only wash full loads of clothes and dishes
This one is simple. Don’t start the cycle if the machine isn’t full. This goes for your washing machine and dishwasher.
10. The ol’ brick in the toilet
Now it doesn’t have to be a brick – you can use a plastic bottle or a cup (there’s space here to be creative). The idea is to displace water inside the tank so that it then fills up with less water. For each use, it refills and flushes with less water.
Be a water warrior
These are only a few of the ways you can save water. There are many more ways on the Internet. You can even speak to your friends, schoolmates, parents, family or community to see if they have any creative ideas. Or you could be more hands-on and create a D.I.Y. water saving device (this sounds like a good way to productively procrastinate to me). Just remember – water is love, water is life. Save our most precious resource.
The Western Cape and surrounds is in a dire situation with the water shortage. With less than three months of water left, it’s time to really pull up our socks and make a noticeable effort to save water.