The water crisis in South Africa has reached breaking point this year, with some of our dams dropping to a critically low level of 30% due to lack of rainfall.
We've all been urged to conserve as much water as possible to prevent further water shortages.
Water conservation starts at home, where an estimated 250 litres of water is used by the average South African family every day, according to Cape Water Solutions.
Teaching your kids about how to save water can have a big impact on conserving water.
Fun facts about water:
- 70% of the Earth is made up of water, of which only about 3% is not salty water.
- Of the 3% of fresh water, we only drink and use 1% of it. The remaining 2% is in the form of ice.
- The fresh water we use now has been around since the days of the dinosaur, millions of years ago.
- There are three forms of water: liquid (that we drink), solid (ice) and gas (vapour).
- Some scientists have suggested there could be water in liquid form on the red planet.
- Next to air, water is our most precious resource and we need to make sure it lasts - for our children's children too.
How to conserve water with kids in the house:
- Teach your kids to close taps tightly.
- Don't leave the tap running while you're brushing your teeth or shaving.
- When needing to clean your hands, use waterless hand sanitiser. Only use soap and water when absolutely necessary. Even then, only open the tap when you need to rinse them and not while you're applying soap to your hands.
- Toilets use 29% of household water. If you don't have a dual-flushing toilet system, you use about 13 litres of water per flush. Low flushing or dual-flushing systems only use about 6 litres of water per flush.
- Only flush for a number 2.
- When the kids are thirsty, pour half glasses of water. Kids seldom finish a full glass of water.
- Let your kids share a bath, fill it up only enough to cover their knees (if that), or let them take quick showers.
- Don't overfill the pool. Lots of water goes to waste each time the kids splash and jump into the pool.
- Water the garden early in the morning or late evening so most water isn't evaporated in the heat of the day.
- Running through the sprinklers is a memorable part of every childhood. Move the sprinklers to the driest part of the grass where water is most needed.
- Ensure the dishwasher and washing machine's child-lock is activated when it's not in use, so little ones don't turn it on by mistake.
- When you rinse vegetables, catch the water in a container and use it to water your plants.
In short, make every drop count!
Teaching your kids about the importance of our water supply might seem mundane, but you can make it fun by setting a few goals for them. Check your rates bill to see what your monthly consumption is, and see if you can bring it down month on month.
Reward the kids when the family's consumption is down or when they start to show initiative. Then they'll be more likely to understand how much of a big deal it is to conserve our precious resource.