Saving water is on everybody’s lips, also in Stellenbosch.
Any change in lifestyle is something to get used to, but when the initial discomfort wanes, saving water can become a fun challenge and a great way to involve the kids in raising awareness for environmental issues.
If you haven’t read it yet, look at Stellenbosch’s water restrictions here, including what you may and may not do with potable (drinking) water.
If you want to step it up another level, consider one of these extreme water saving challenges!
5 water saving challenges!
Measure out 50 litres in a large container and have a Day Zero rehearsal. Close your stop valve, imagine Day Zero has arrived, and feel what it feels like when your taps have nothing in them.
Maybe you haven’t even considered what it feels like to carry 50 litres of water to your car from the nearest store – weighing as much as a 50kg bag of cement. Now imagine not having a car to transport that water home.
Even if we manage to sort things out before Day zero arrives, the convenience of tap water shouldn’t be taken for granted. Get a renewed sense of appreciation for water and save as much as you possibly can!
Doing the laundry is a necessity, right? But you can still save while doing it. Most of us don’t realise the amount of water we really spend on day to day chores (or we purposefully avoid finding out!) A figure on a screen is one thing, but actually seeing that water quite another.
If you feel up to the challenge, put your washing machine’s outlet pipe into a container and see what happens. When one of our friends tried it, he was shocked to see how much water is used!
Front loaders generally use less water than top loaders. If you have a very old machine (which might use up to 150 litres per wash!) look for a newer model that consumes between 37 to 45 litres per wash.
During a recent drought in Australia, citizens were encouraged to wipe out their dirty plates with paper towels before washing. Dishwashing consumes a lot of water. An average dishwashing machine uses 40 to 75 litres of water per wash, although some very efficient machines can use as little as 13 litres. Set your machine to “rapid” or “half-load”, even when it is full.
Alternatively, opt for paper plates and paper serviettes, especially when braaiing, as greasy plates require a lot of extra soap and water. (P.S. Although soiled paper plates cannot be recycled, they can go to your compost heap or a composting bin.)
Folks have for centuries used a small basin of water for their daily bath – probably your great grandparents as well. If you haven’t done it yet, try watering down with a basin and cup instead of taking a shower. The average shower uses about 22 litres of water per minute, while ‘low-flow’ shower heads use about 10 litres per minute.
Instead of rushing through your daily shower, fill a basin with 10 litres of hot water, light a candle, and bath for as long as you want. On a warm South African summer evening, a quiet, meditative bath is a perfect relaxation.
Dry shampoos are a real winner when it comes to saving time (and of course water) in your daily routine. Talc and baby powder also work for greasy hair!
Phone up your grandparents (or great-grandparents) and ask them to tell you stories about water when they were children. Probe them on about how many taps they had, how often they used to drink coffee or how and when they did the washing.
Many of our comfortable (sometimes wasteful) lifestyle habits are only two or three generations old, and there’s no shame in older or more traditional ways of doing things. Try and get a few tips from your thrifty grandparents.
When joining the movement to save water this February, look beyond the frustration and let the process awaken you to what really matters. Slowing down and nurturing the small things might be two of the best thing you can learn in 2018. Like the American poet and Novelist May Sarton wrote:
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Here are some more famous quotes on water to inspire your this February:
No water, no life. No blue, no green.
If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.
It’s easy for people in an air-conditioned room to continue with the policies of destruction of Mother Earth. We need instead to put ourselves in the shoes of families in Bolivia and worldwide that lack water and food and suffer misery and hunger.
Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.
Happiness is a simple everyday miracle, like water, and we are not aware of it.
When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.