* Published March 2017.
Water levels in Western Cape dams continue to drop and authorities are urging residents to cutback on their usage.
Some citizens have been doing the best they can to save water and put their water to good use, two times over. Some have even gone as far as to install grey water systems, which probably cost a pretty penny.
We've been teaching our kids that the water crisis isn't something to take lightly. On a daily basis, we remind them they need to be saving water. And as usual, they remind us.
These tips are the results of many an "on the fly" brainstorming session at our home.
1. Air and re-wear clothing:
Yes, wearing dirty clothing may feel (and sometimes smell) terrible, but there are a few items of clothing which can be worn a few times before they go into another washing cycle. Hoody tops, jeans, jackets... and the likes.
Remember Febreze? I can't find it on the shelves any longer, but I found a hack online: take a spray bottle, pour in water and add some bicarb (to neutralise smells) and a tiny bit of fabric softener. You'll hang out your jeans and tops to air and spritz them with your mixture.
2. Pee in the shower:
Flushing your toilet uses about 13 litres of water. This is for the older cisterns, but for the dual-flush cisterns, you'd use about 4 litres for a "half" flush and 6 litres for a "full" flush.
While wetting yourself with a sprinkle, why not take a tinkle. Even though you may think it's gross, there are much more disgusting things in the world. And you'll be catching the shower water in a bucket to flush the toilet with anyway.
3. Stop shaving:
While my better half can't stop shaving because it's work policy, guys, if you don't have anything standing in their way, why the hell not? The seasons are changing, so using "but it's summer" as an excuse doesn't really fly anymore.
4. Work towards having fewer washing loads:
This ties in with the first point. Don't do lots of small loads. Get together a big enough bundle, including towels and bedlinen, before you switch on. If you rinse out your underwear in your shower water, the laundry bin will stay hygienic for a bit longer.
5. Quick washing:
While the weather is still warmish, wash yourself with the shower turned off. All you need to do is wet yourself, swith off, lather yourself up and then rinse yourself off. You don't need to have the water running for the entire process.
6. Bath out of a basin:
Why not tap some water into a basin? Use a jug to wet yourself, lather yourself up and rinse using a jug once again. It uses even less water than a quick shower! Remember, top to bottom: start with the face and end with the bum-bum and feet.
7. Shower together:
Ever heard the saying: "Save water, shower together"? Well, do it, but remember to do it "quick-washing" style.
8. Invest in dry shampoo:
If you have the type of hair that gets greasy a lot quicker than others', invest in some dry shampoo. Some even say baby powder or cocoa powder does the trick.
9. You will not be judged for your dirty car:
Quite frankly, you're more likely to be judged if you have a squeaky clean car!
10. Invest in water bottles for the family:
Kids get thirsty, they want water. They get some water, but only take a few sips and toss the rest. Water bottles ensure that all water is consumed. Keep it in the fridge within their reach.
11. Do your dishes in a bucket:
Don't look for a massive bucket so you can fit in all your dishes at once. Find a bucket that fits into your sink, run some warm water into it and do your dishes. It makes it easy to toss the grey water in your toilet cistern (if you're in Cape Town) or on your lawn or plants.
12. Lick the plates clean:
Messy, saucy food? Let manners take a seat and lick your plates clean. Or if you don't want to, let your dogs lick the plates clean. It makes for easier dish washing and keeps the water a little cleaner to water the plants. Of course, you could use paper towels too, but why add to the already overflowing landfills?
13. Do a leak study:
Check your water meter and then check it again in 2 or 3 hours. The only catch is that no water is to be used in the time between the two checks. Best time to do it may be on a Saturday before heading out to the shops to do some grocery shopping or when the kids need to go to their extramural activities.