Is South Africa heading for water wars? Will we end up with the terrifying scenario in which populations are forced into warring tribes haggling in dusty, desert-like terrains, over a bucket or two of precious water? Let’s hope it never comes to this, and that we can prepare for a comfortable future with good recycling and resource management.
It will take a concerted effort by all to shift our approach to the precious commodity that is fresh water. How can we learn to truly appreciate every drop? Here are 5 easy steps to becoming water wise. What is great about them is that you can implement them in your own home!
1.Local is Lovely
A good place to start is in the garden. Take a look around your flower beds and ascertain how many of your plants are indigenous and how many how exotic. The foreign plants are almost always very thirsty. Why not consider re-landscaping your garden to include a majority of, if not completely, local, indigenous water friendly plants? What you will realise when you do is that your garden not only requires far less water, but it also looks incredibly beautiful.
When watering your garden, ensure to do so only in the early morning or in the late afternoon, otherwise most of what you give to the garden will be evaporated. This can be up to 90% of the water at times. It is also imperative to aim the nozzle of the hosepipe, or pour the bucket of water directly onto the soil. By doing this, you will ensure that the water goes to where it is meant to go: the roots.
Did you know that the South African government currently has an initiative to encourage all South African households to only use 25l of safe water per day? You may think that this is impossible, but as soon as you begin to meticulously watch your water usage, you will realise it is the only way forward. A creative way to get your household involved in this fabulous initiative is to make a competition or game out of it. See who in your family is the most water conservative.
As a family you can track your daily water usage by reading your meter at the same time every day, on a regular basis. Make your kids realise that every drop used has an effect on their lives.
3.Get Lost Leaks!
Did you know that a leaking toilet can waste thousands of litres per day? This is a terrifying statistic. You can check whether your cistern is running by placing a piece of dry toilet paper at the back of the bowl and checking whether it gets wet. Then while you’re at it, check all your taps. Do they drip when switched off, or leak unnecessarily when you switch them on? If so, contact a plumber and get them sorted!
This is a sure way to save hundreds of litres per day. A full bath will use up to 120l of water. While a shower, when fitted with a low-flow showerhead can give you as little as 5l per minute. This is more than enough time to get wet and lather up. Then in your next minute or two you can rinse off and be done. If you really do refer to bath, then share the water and don’t make it as full.
5.No Rain in the Drain
Install a rain-water tank in your garden. It is easy enough to connect yourself, or contact your local plumber. By catching rainwater from your roof, you are creating a fabulous, easy-to-access, resource of water that can be used to water your garden, wash the car or pets, and you can even begin to use it for showering and bathing. Just speak to that plumber and see what he can set up for you.
The Best Time to Start Is Now
In order to avoid the possibility of water-wars, why not try to adopt at least 3, if not all of these ideas today. You will see the difference in your water bill almost immediately. And nowadays, who doesn’t want to save money in all ways possible? Plus, you will begin to have a far more appreciative attitude for all those drops of water that flow seemingly effortlessly from your taps every time you turn them on. Water is precious. Start saving it, today!