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5 Water-Saving Tips

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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With less than 100 days of water left in Western Cape dams, for those who haven’t already implemented water saving tips into their household, the time to do so is now.

Greywater usage may take some getting used to, but, when implemented with other water saving measures around the house, can be beneficial to not only the environment and water preservation, but kind to your pocket as well.

Here are 5 simple water-saving tips for your household

  1. For your Bathroom
  2. Save water in the bathroom by reusing your shower water for the garden or to wash clothes.
    Make use of a 15-18 litre bucket which you can put underneath the showerhead to catch all water.

    Take it a step further by purchasing a water-saving showerhead for as little as R130. To control how much water is used every time you flush a toilet, tighten the small tap at the back of your toilet.

  3. For your laundry
  4. To wash clothes, feed your laundry machine water pipe into your bucket so it can suck up the water to fill the barrel of the washing machine. If possible, make use of eco-products as well as Epsom salts (can be used as a softener) as it is very good for plants. Epsom salts aid nutrient absorption, improves seed germination and greens up foliage with its high magnesium levels.

    Greywater from the machine can be fed back into the bucket and used in your garden.

  5. For your garden
  6. Many homes have made use of a greywater system which feeds all ‘gently-used’ water into flowerbeds in the garden.

    An automatic irrigation system may also be a good idea and can effectively control volume of water and time you spend irrigating your garden.

    Reuse your greywater manually by emptying out the buckets in your shower and sink into the flowerbeds and all your thirsty plants.

  7. For your swimming pool
  8. As the City of Cape Town has officially been in Stage 3B water restrictions since 1 February 2017, there are certain water restrictions for your pool as well.

    The manual topping up of pool water is only allowed if you make use of a pool cover which slows down surface water evaporation. The use of portable play pools is not allowed.

  9. For your taps
  10. Have you recently experienced a sudden splutter of water from the kitchen sink tap that consequently drenches you in the process? This is a sign of a high-pressure tap and can be wasteful. Fit your kitchen sink and other taps with a low pressure tap in order to help you use the amount of water you actually need.

What is greywater?

Greywater is gently-used or recycled water that comes from sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines. It does not come into contact with faeces and, even though it may “look” dirty, it is safe to use for irrigation.

Reusing your greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, thereby reducing the chance that it will pollute local water bodies. It also reconnects urban residents and our backyard gardens to the natural water cycle.

Basic greywater guidelines

Greywater is different to fresh water and requires different guidelines when reused. Here are three basic guidelines to follow when using greywater.

    1. Greywater should not be stored for more than 24 hours. Storing greywater breaks down nutrients and creates bad odours.

    2. Minimise contact with greywater as it could potentially contain a pathogen if an infected person’s faeces get into the water. Your system should be designed for the water to soak into the ground and not be available for human or animal consumption.

    3. Make sure all greywater seeps into the ground and does not pool up or run off. Knowing how well water drains into your soil (or the soil percolation rate of your soil) will help with proper design. Pooling grey water can also create mosquito breeding grounds.

Final thoughts

Saving water does not have to be a difficult task to undertake. Once you get the hang of preserving water, it will be difficult to go back to old water usage habits after witnessing just how much water is wasted on a daily basis.

Start today with a couple of the above mentioned tips and make greywater usage part of your daily household routine.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a general guide and not specialist advice. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.