We’re in the middle of a heatwave in Gauteng, agitation levels are at an all time high, we’re all hot, sticky and irritated. On Sunday, friends of our came over for lunch, with a boot loaded with empty 5l water bottles because there was no water in Midrand from Friday. Not because of a burst pipe or because of poor service, but because of the extreme drought currently gripping the country.
South Africa is not a water rich country.
Water is a scarce resource, without it, we all suffer, we all die. And yet, I am just astounded by the number of arrogant, ignorant, entitled assholes out there. Despite level 3 water restrictions, there are still people washing their cars, using their sprinklers and carrying on like we’re not in the midst of drought. What infuriates me is the attitude of some that they’ll just pay the fines and exorbitant costs for over using water, because it’s still cheaper than replacing their gardens when the drought ends.
News flash assholes!
This is not a service delivery issue. This is not like the Eskom power issue that can be fixed with more money and infrastructure. This is a drought and without rain and without water, a whole lot more than your garden is going to suffer.
We have taken being water wise very seriously in our home. Like most of you, my garden currently looks like this:
The only reason my grass is green is because of the few days of rain we had a couple of weeks ago. Up until then, our lawn was like a rock hard, sand patch, that hurt your feet if you walked on it without shoes.
Our neighborhood Whatsapp group is also serious about this. People on that group have no issue naming and shaming neighbors who run their borehole sprinkler at midday, or water their grass verges at 6am daily. They will name and shame you and I am 100% behind that!
For the past few months, Joburg Water has been doing estimates and we’ve been paying a hefty water bill each month. Then last month, they came and did a water meter reading and guess what happened?
We got a R650 credit on our water account.
That’s how seriously we’ve taken being water wise in our home. That’s how stingy we’ve been with our water. And we did it by implementing a few simple steps into our daily routines. Nothing fancy, nothing that required altering our plumbing, just simple steps that have less than halved our water usage.
A few of you asked how we did it, so here are our household tips for being water wise:
If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow! If It’s Brown Flush It Down.
So simple really. We’ve been teaching our girls this too. Because toilets use a lot of water! So why flush unless you have to. We now wait until the bowl has been used a few times before flushing, except of course if someone dropped brown bears. Also, no one is allowed to leave the bathroom until the toilet has finished flushing to make sure it doesn’t continue to run unnecessarily.
Fix Leaking Taps.
Usually a simple solution like a new washer in the tap will do this. Don’t ever leave a tap dripping. EVER.
Boil The Kettle For Hot Water.
That’s right. We don’t turn taps on and wait for the water to heat up when washing dishes. We boil the kettle, fill the basin with the kettle water and then add enough cold water to be able to wash the dishes. We also only wash dishes when there is enough to warrant a basin of water.
Only Run The Wishwasher/Washing Machine When It’s a Full Load.
So we wait until the dishwasher is full or there is a full load of washing before running either appliance.
We store a 20L bucket in our shower. We only shower once a day and make sure to shower one straight after the the other. The person who goes first is the one washing hair. The excess water falls into the bucket. Turn off the taps while shampooing and soaping. When the second person gets in, they use a sponge with water from the bucket to wet their bodies, then soap and only then turn on the water to rinse off. Showering like this, we collect in the region of 20L’s of water which we then use to water our pot plants as well as transferring the water into a watering can for the grass and plants which we water in patches using this grey water.
Turn Off Your Sprinklers.
A pretty garden will mean nothing when everything else is dead! I read somewhere a week ago that even using hosepipes is now forbidden. Only watering with a watering can and not between 6am and 6pm.
It’s no longer about sitting in a deep bath of bubbles and playing for an hour. We now put just enough water in the bath to wet and wash the girls. Once they’re out the bath, we scoop what we can from the bath into our trusty bucket and use that water on the garden.
Turn off your taps while brushing your teeth, shampooing your hair or washing your body, you don’t need to have water gushing out of a tap to perform these functions.
Stop Filling Your Pool.
I am so thankful that we had our leaky swimming pool fixed during the winter months and our pool is no longer losing water daily. Having said that, we do not fill our swimming pool. Instead, we rely on the little bits of rain we have had, to top our pool up. And when it runs low, we simply turn the pump off.
Kids LOVE TO Swim!
So, especially on weekends, our girls forego a bath and instead take a swim. We then wipe them down with a soapy cloth and they’re good to go. Heck, I’ve done this on the really hot, sticky days, I prefer to shower in the mornings but when I’m hot and sweaty, I use our pool at night to cool off and rinse off.
Guys, we are so stingy with our water, that I even go so far as to use our water glasses from our bedside tables, to water indoor plants or toss in the pool because right now, every drop helps.
I also really want a JoJo tank for our upstairs balcony to store grey water that can be used for miscellaneous watering.
What are your tips for being water wise?
At the end of the day, these are the small things that each and everyone of us can do to help. Because if I have to choose between a pretty garden and no water for days at a time, or walking km’s daily to collect a bucket of water, well then I choose a dead garden.