Don't waste a drop!

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"Filling a pool with water"

Throughout the past few months of summer we’ve all seen the images of a worsening drought in South Africa, dropping dam and reservoir levels and whole towns running  dry.

One often wonders if adhering to water restrictions are enough? 

Level 2 and 3 water restrictions have been implemented in many municipalities across South Africa and Level 2 restrictions commenced in Cape Town on 1 January 2016.

If consumers do not try to reduce their water usage per month by 20% (Level 2) and 30% (Level 3), they will be facing higher tariffs per kiloliter or even fines.

Users of 20kl or less won’t notice a significant increase to their monthly accounts, but significantly steeper rises will affect owners of large properties with high water consumption.

Most of the larger district municipalities have water restriction guidelines on their websites*, so if in doubt you can find out when your suburb’s watering days are or whether the use of a hosepipe in the garden or for car washing is allowed or not.

So where does one start to decrease water consumption by 20 or even 30%?

Apart from the obvious water saving tips like watering the garden in the early morning or at night, or not washing individual items under a running stream of water, there are very helpful websites that provide excellent tips on water conservation.

I found some of the most helpful tips on wateruseitwisely.com and was surprised to find new tips that I haven’t heard of before.

Just as with energy saving, a good place to start is to avoid wasting and paying for what you aren’t using.

Equipment becomes outdated and perhaps it’s time for the installation of new shower heads, taps or toilets in your home.

A pre-1980’s toilet takes more than 18 litres of fresh water to flush, while a modern day toilet could use as little as 6 litres.

Such a replacement will not only save water, but also money in the long run.

If replacement is not an option, try to decrease the toilet’s water capacity by placing a full 2 litre bottle of water in the cistern.

Recent dishwasher and washing machine models tend to be more water efficient than their predecessors.

Top loader washing machines are also notorious for higher water consumption than front loaders, although more recent top loader models do come with water adjustment settings.

There is new tap and shower head technology available that allows the incorporation of air into the stream of water which reduces the amount of water used each time the tap or shower is opened by as much as 60%!

It is therefore possible for South Africans to save millions of litres of clean, fresh water that would normally go to waste each year.

While water leaks are a serious problem that has to be tackled at municipal level, there are so many small adjustments households could make that would cumulatively make a big difference.

*Links to municipal websites:
Durban: www.durban.gov.za
Cape Town: www.capetown.gov.za
Johannesburg: www.ekurhuleni.gov.za