Soaring temperatures and sunny days in Pretoria can strain the water supply system in the city as residents’ water use rises.
It’s not just the amount of water in our dams that we should worry about, high water usage can put a strain on the supply system, depleting reservoirs.
This system also uses power for pumps at various points along the network, so power outages can affect the water supply.
Plus, according to the Centre for Environmental Rights, Southern Africa is experiencing warming at twice the global rate due to climate change, with water scarcity being one of the most pressing issues caused by the phenomenon.
Make a difference with these tips:
In the home
– Only use appliances that use water when they are full. Washing machines and dishwashers often use the same amount of water regardless of how full they are, resulting in more frequent use and more water wasted.
– Take short showers, or a bath. A bath will use less water than a shower that is longer than five minutes, but a quick bath could use more water than a short shower. A good rule of thumb is to think about how many litres per minute will be used. Usually, about 10 litres per minute come from a standard outlet in your home.
– Use buckets in your home to manage water when cleaning. Washing cars or large objects with a hose can use more than a bucket of water per minute. Stick to a bucket system and keep one for rinsing and one for detergents and cleaning products.
In the kitchen
– Keep a jug of water in the fridge. We often waste water letting the tap run before pouring a glass of water to get the cooler water that hasn’t been sitting in the pipes.
– Plug the sink or use a large bowl in the sink to retain water when you are working in the kitchen. This grey water can often be used in the garden too.
– Don’t run water over your food when doing cooking preparations. A bowl of water can just as effectively clean peeled vegetables as running water over them. Remember to keep meat products and vegetables separate until cooking for good kitchen hygiene.
In the garden
– Turn off your irrigation timer and turn it on manually when needed. It may also help to give plants more water, but less frequently, as the water goes deeper after a good soak, lasting longer and reaching the roots where it is most needed.
– Use garden refuse as mulch. Leaving a layer of organic material can help slow down evaporation and add nutrients back to the soil, just as nature intended. It can also help with reducing weeds in your garden beds.
– Get rid of your lawn. Large lawns need a lot of water to keep them green and healthy. Indigenous water-wise ground covers and natural gardens can be stunning and a point of pride in your home.
If such a drastic change is not for you, cutting your grass longer than usual can reduce evaporation as the long grass blades shield the soil. Water during the coolest parts of the day, with mornings being best as this can reduce the chance of damaging fungus.
– Set aside time for maintenance. Maintaining your water pipes, taps, and fittings to reduce dripping and leaking can make a big difference. It can also help with spotting improvements that you can make, such as installing water aerators on your taps that can reduce the flow from the taps drastically.
– We often throw used water down the drain that could be used for some cleaning or to water your garden and plants. However, it is important not to keep grey water for more than a day as it can breed bacteria.
– Don’t just leave checking your meter to city officials to track your water. Remaining conscious of how much you are using can help you identify times that water might be wasted.
– Guests, kids, and employees will all use water, so get them involved or leave reminders to conserve water. You can even make it fun by making it a competition with your kids.
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