Friday, January 13, 2017


Even more severe water restrictions are in the pipeline for Cape Town residents as dam levels hit a dangerously low 20%. Earlier this month, residents were urged to minimise water use but it seems these warnings have fallen on deaf ears, with consumption at 890 million litres per day at the end of last week, when the aim was to reduce it to 800million litres a day. There is also no sign of relief in the near future with weaker rainfall than expected, despite the La Niña phenomenon that should have resulted in increased rainfall.

 “There is accountability on the part of every individual and business in the area to help curb what could become a water shortage crisis. It is only by working together and being considerate of one another that we can hope to bring an end to these water shortages,” says Graham Craggs, spokesperson for Budget Insurance. “From a financial perspective it also pays to decrease your water usage, helping to reduce your monthly costs,” Craggs adds.

To try and increase compliance, Level-3 water restrictions have been put place throughout the Western Cape. These restrictions include: water cut-offs at specific times or even complete water cut-offs in areas of continued non-compliance. There is also the possibility of banning all watering of gardens.

In addition to the impact on residents, there are multiple other ripple effects of the water shortages. If consumption continues at the current rate, dam levels could decrease further to just 10%. This comes with its own complications, including poor water quality due to there being less water available to dilute impurities. 

Here are some day-to-day water-consumption tips from Budget Insurance to ensure better water usage, and to prevent extra tariffs:

  • Fix faults in plumbing throughout your property. A leaking tap can waste thousands of litres of water each year. 
  • Put a brick in your toilet and leave it to mellow. Toilets use more water than is necessary, and flushing can be unnecessary. A brick will substantially reduce water use. Don’t flush the toilet unnecessarily, and rather dispose of tissues, cotton wool, trash, etc. in the rubbish bin.
  • Save electricity. Eskom uses 3% of South Africa’s water, so saving electricity will ease that burden on the environment. 
  • Shower instead of bathing, and shorten showers and teeth brushing.
  • Get the kids to shower together instead of separately.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth. After brushing your teeth, use a glass of water to rinse your mouth
  • Don’t refill the swimming pool, and rather use a pool cover to prevent evaporation.
  • Only water your garden when it is absolutely necessary.
  • When scrubbing dirty dishes, don’t leave the water running.
  • When shaving, use water in the washbowl to clean your razor between strokes, or use an electric razor.
  • When using washing machines and dishwashers, make sure they’re on the most water-efficient cycles, and avoid pre-washes.
  • Consider long-term “investments” such as dual flush toilet mechanisms and low-flow shower heads.
  • Collect rainwater when it rains. Collecting it in buckets or with a JoJo tank can give you a water source for cleaning your car or watering your garden.

“If every person uses at least some of these tips on a daily basis, it would have an immense impact on conserving our precious and dwindling water reserves,” Craggs concludes.

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