With the Western Cape’s water supply at critically low levels, the City of Cape Town has escalated water restrictions to Level 4, which limits residents to 100L of water per day. Effective from 1 June, residents will not be allowed to use municipal water for outside or non-essential use.
Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, who is a resident of Cape Town, says that if the water crisis continues along its currents path, the city could decide to takes matter even further by implementing Level 4B in the next two months. “While water usage levels have dropped, they are still not aligned with the daily goal of 500 million litres. Households are urged to be vigilant with their water usage, as the resource continues to dwindle to dangerously low levels. Where possible Cape Town residents need to reduce their household water consumption to try to sustain the little water we have,” says Goslett.
He notes that there are several ways that homeowners or tenants can save water in and around the home, which reduces water usage. Goslett provides a few tips that will assist people in lessening their impact on the water crisis:
It is important to make sure that after a tap is used, it is closed properly. While this seems like a relatively small thing to do, a tap dripping at one drop per second will waste as much as thirty litres of water in one day, which equates to around 10 000 litres of water a year. That is a lot of water from one single dripping tap.
Ensure that tap washers are replaced regularly and fit aerators to restrict and spread the flow. An aerator will reduce water usage creating a no-splashing stream delivering a mixture of water and air. Remember to turn off the tap when brushing teeth, as will save around twenty litres of water per month. A mug of water can be used to rinse the toothbrush after use.
Showering will use far less water than bathing, provided that the shower is short. Cut shower time to two minutes or less. If there is only the option of taking a bath, the bath should be as shallow as possible and water reused to water the garden, flush the toilet or wash the car. Installing a water-saving shower head will also aid in reducing water usage. Ideally when showering the water should not be in full force, and it should be turned off when soaping or shaving. When opting to shave at the basin, it is best to plug the basin rather than rinsing the razor with running water. This will save approximately 45 litres of water a month.
Much like a leaking tap, a leaking toilet can waste vast amounts of water. Installing a water-saving toilet is an option, but for those who don’t wish to spend money on the outlay, adding a brick or sealed container of sand to the cistern will reduce the amount of water used during each flush. A few drops of food colouring in the cistern will help to determine if any water is leaking from the toilet. If the colour seeps into the bowl, the system is leaking and should be fixed without delay.
If possible only use washing machines and dishwashers when they are fully loaded to avoid unnecessary water usage. Rather than rinsing dishes under running water, opt to rinse items in a basin of water and then reuse the water elsewhere. When running dishwater to heat up, run the tap into bottles to use as drinking water. By keeping bottles of drinking water in the fridge, there is no need to let lukewarm water be wasted when waiting for the tap water to cool. Move food from the freezer to the fridge to defrost naturally, rather than placing it under running water.
“Water is a vital commodity that we require to survive. Without water, the environment we live in could not survive. With the lack of water in Cape Town becoming water-wise in the household is essential,” Goslett concludes.