Water is a precious commodity in South Africa and with the recent water shortages; every bit of water we can save is a must. We explore the many ways to do the right thing and save water, as well as the water saving technology and home updates available to help you save on your utility bill. Being water wise means thinking about every milliliter you use – every leak, every running tap, every bowl or bucket of water that you throw away.
First check for leaks
- Your water meter can help tell you if you have any hidden water leaks. Here’s how: take a reading on your water meter at a time when no water is being used. Check it again two hours later. If it doesn’t read exactly the same, there is a leak.
- Leak detection system: Invest in a device with an inbuilt control valve which automatically shuts off the water supply if a leak or a burst pipe is detected. Products range in cost from R1 250 - R4 500.
- Here’s a nifty way to check if your toilet is leaking: add some food colouring to the tank and if the toilet is leaking, the toilet bowl will have changed colour within 30 minutes.
- Did you know: if a tap is dripping at a rate of 1 drop per second, you could be wasting up to 10,220 liters per year? Repair dripping taps by replacing the washer – this video explains how.
- Check if your toilet handle stays in a downward position. This means that water is constantly running which indicates that it’s time to replace or fix the handle.
Water saving in the home
If you can change your habits in every area of your home that uses water, you can achieve big savings on your bill as well:
Kitchen: Use a plugged sink to wash dishes instead of washing them under a running tap. Don’t thaw frozen food under the tap and use clean water in a container instead of a hosepipe to water your pot plants.
Bathroom: Wherever possible, shower instead of taking a bath and place a bucket in the shower to collect water for your plants. Don’t let the tap run while brushing your teeth and wash your hands with the plug in.
Laundry: Only do washing when you have a full load. If you are shopping for a new washing machine, choose a water-efficient model – e.g. front loaders are more water wise than top loaders. Invest in an eco-wash ball – these innovative balls claim to eliminate the need for washing powder and hot water washing altogether.
Swimming pool: Don’t fill your pool too high as it will mean more water splashing out of it, and keep it covered to reduce evaporation. You can also look into getting a poolside tank which clarifies backwash water and returns the water safely to the pool.
Car: This won’t save you money but a reputable professional car wash uses far less water than your DIY version. If you must, wash your car with a bucket and sponge only – not a running hose.
A water wise garden
- Choose water wise indigenous plants where possible. Ask a plant expert at your local garden centre for advice.
- Attach a water tank to your drainpipe to collect rainwater. You get all kinds of versions these days starting from R1 999: horizontal, vertical, slim line and even submerged, so there really is no excuse not to!
- Don’t overwater your garden. Look out for dark mushy roots, brown spots on flowers and fungal growth – all signs of too much water.
- Apply mulches to soils and garden beds to reduce water loss.
- Switch off irrigation when it’s raining or attach a rain sensor.
- Choose a sprinkler system with a large droplet size and low spray angle.
Water saving technology and home updates
- Low-flow showerhead: This update to your shower will reduce the amount of water used. Less water used means less water that needs to be heated, saving you electricity as well.
- Investigate using your grey water –that’s the water from washing clothes, cooking, bathing and showering which can be used to irrigate vegetables and herbs as well as gardens. Please note: the content of grey water must be carefully monitored to prevent the spread of diseases such as E. coli. We should also mention a fresh water system, it harvests rain water http://www.waterrhapsody.co.za
- Swap old toilets for dual-flush toilets, which use about a quarter as much water for a small flush.
- Insulate your water pipes: This will mean you’ll get hot water faster, avoid wasting water while it is heating, and also save money on electricity.
Some nifty tips and ideas found on social media:
Redirect your drainage system
For your garden: Add a ball valve to your drains to relay bath/shower etc. water to your garden.
The valve allows you to direct the water to either the garden or drain. It costs less than ZAR 100 per connection.
For your swimming pool: Add a 1 liter bottle cut in half and 25mm irrigation pipes to your rain gutter pipes and it will keep your swimming pool topped up for when it rains.
Keep your pets drinking water cool: Put a 2Liter bottle of water in the freezer and when you leave for work put it upright in the dogs or cats bowl. It keeps their water cool and after a full day it will still be iced up (where if you put ice in their bowl it melts fast, with this bottle method it doesn’t). Their bowls of water heats up so fast, keep their water cool by doing this. They will really appreciate it in this heat.
Take the quiz to see how water wise you actually are: http://www.waterwise.co.za/site/fun/quiz.html
Content taken from the following:
www.waterwise.co.za / facebook