Conservation an effective way to save water

2016-04-20 06:00


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ACCORDING to the Water Research Commission (WRC), a dripping tap wastes up to 60 litres per day. This adds up to 1 800 liters per month.

A leaking cistern can fill up three full baths everyday and this could waste up to 100 000 liter per year.

Leaking taps and spilling sewers are a common sight in most townships and sometimes go on unattended for days.

It is these factors that contribute to 36% of South Africa’s treated water that is lost through leaks, costing the country more than R7 billion annually.

The country is still in the grip of a terrible drought that has plunged many households and farmers in dire straits.

This message was clearly echoed by the minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane.

She said: “South Africa is going through one of the worst droughts” and she called on every South African “to save water”.

All the factors mentioned painted a bleak picture for the country. A lot can be done to mitigate the effects of water lost through leaking taps and burst pipes.

It is the responsibility of each of us to fix leaks in our household environment.

There is no other message: Water conservation is the way to go to ensure water for both current and future generations.

Treating water is expensive and this treated water is allowed to go to waste through leaks.

A dripping tap is most likely caused by the failure of a small washer which costs less than R5. But failure to fix a leaking tap could cost you thousands of rands, and the country billions.

Government is also giving free basic water which is affected by leaks, as the free 6 000 litres of water per month per household are lost through leaks.

It remains the responsibility of the householder to pay for water consumed over and above the free basic water allocation, whether the water was consumed legitimately or as a result of leakages.

During door to door campaigns by the Department of Water and Sanitation, its officials shared water-saving tips with residents. Most of the residents, however, pleaded ignorance regarding whose responsibility it was to repair burst pipes on private property. The consumer is fully responsible for any leaks that occur within the household property boundaries.

I stumbled upon a book produced by the WRC, How to save water Z A householder’s handbook.

It is a very practical book, taking you step by step from the identification of leaks and how to fix them by doing it yourself (DIY).

According to the WRC, water-loss problems can be solved at home by changing small water-use habits such as taking a short, quick shower instead of a deep water-filled bath, reducing shower time to five minutes and replacing shower heads with water-efficient ones.

Letting water run while brushing teeth is the most common water loss practice many of us are guilty of. Many litres are wasted this way.

Geysers often drip through the overflow pipe of the pressure control valve, which is normal as the water in the geyser heats and cools. It can, however, waste up to two litres of water per day. Why not use this water and water your plants?

Through the War on Leaks Programme, government is training 15 000 water agents, plumbers and artisans to eradicate water leaks. Massive volumes of water are expected to be saved through this initiative.

On average toilet flushing uses up to 31% of overall household consumption and it is therefore one of the highest consumers of water in the house. The Department of Water and Sanitation is currently rolling out the Drop-the-block Campaign countrywide. It is an eco-friendly innovation of placing a block in a toilet tank or cistern to save water. Once installed, the device is out of sight, out of mind and requires no maintenance.

Let us all be conscious of the water scarcity in our country and continue to use water wisely.

Leaking taps and spilling sewers are a common sight in most townships and sometimes go on unattended for days. It is these factors that contribute to 36% of South Africa’s treated water that is lost through leaks, costing the country more than R7 billion annually.

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