News24 states that Capetonians are experiencing the worst drought in Cape Towns’ recorded history. Level 6B water restrictions are effective as of from 1 February 2018. This means that less than 50 liters per person should be used per day at home and at the office. There are some experts who believe that day zero is inevitable. They predict that the water in the Western Cape will run out by April 2018 before the plans that were made are properly put into place. The fact is that although our leaders are trying to resolve the water issue, it remains the responsibility of our businesses and citizens to help fight this crisis. They are communicating the crises, we need to listen and act.
The fact is that water wastage is sometimes just a bad habit and a mind-shift around this situation should be made to prolong day zero. You will be surprised with how little water you can go throughout the day if you are continuously aware and make a real effort to save water.
The Mindspa Institute opened their Cape Town branch at the beginning of 2017. Since then we have done everything from a business’s side and encouraged our employees to do the same at home. We as a business realized the need to adapt in order to survive this water crisis. Let’s take hands and do this together.
Herewith some water interventions that we strongly advise small and medium businesses to undertake with us, to combat this problem:
At the office we are using the following techniques to save water:
- We installed a prepaid water meter that regulates our water usage. At the moment we use a total of 20 – 25 liters a day for our entire office.
- All taps have been closed and replaced with Wet wipes and hand sanitizer.
- We filled 500ml bottles with sand and placed them in our toilet cisterns.
- Bring your own water for coffee and drinking.
- We know this is not pleasant, but when you go to the loo, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.”
- It’s OK to drive a dirty car, and on rainy days, which don’t happen often, we park our cars outside and wipe them off.
- Employees are encouraged to bring their own dishes to and from work.
- We use grey water to water the office plants.
- We have put up signage as reminders that all office personnel should help us save water.
- Our office floors get sprayed with tile cleaner and wiped off with a mop once a week.
- Dishcloths and bathroom towels get send home (rotating employees) to wash with a load of their washing.
- Measures we use at home and encourage our employees to do as well to use between 76-85 liters for an entire family of 3-4:
- We catch up shower-water that runs while waiting for hot water, in a small rubber baby inflatable pool or bucket, then jump in the shower to get wet, immediately close the tap, wash, and then quickly turn shower on again to rinse off – all while standing in the inflatable baby pool we bought at the crazy store. This grey water is used in the toilets or to bath our pets.
- Husbands and wives and small siblings shower together.
- We also only open the shower tap halfway instead of a full blast to save more water.
- We wash our underwear in the shower as well.
- We wear the same clothes, if not dirty or smelly, two to three days in a row.
- We catch all our grey water in a Jojo tank, and the grey water is reused in the toilet.
- We use a spray bottle with tile cleaner and water to wash and clean our floors and don’t use buckets with wet mops.
- We use the pots we cooked in or smaller containers to wash dishes in every second day.
- All taps have been closed with elastic bands and replaced with 500ml water bottles for hand washing, teeth brushing and dishes. This helps us to control the amount of water we use.
- Front loader washing machine that uses less water than top loader (56 liters per wash) and we only do laundry once a week.
- We don’t fill an entire container with water for our pets to drink from. We have smaller containers and fill them when empty. This helps to prevent water evaporation etc.
- We put a swimming pool cover to prevent evaporation and don’t fill up the pool.
- We don’t irrigate plants at all.
- We don’t defrost food under running or warm water – we use a microwave or defrost it naturally.
Although these are all excellent tips on how to reduce and conserve the water during this crisis, we are also communicating and educating all our employees, visitors and children on this issue. We believe that everyone should be made aware of how precious this resource is and how severe this crisis has become.
*For more information on what uses how much water visit: http://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Procedures%2c%20guidelines%20and%20regulations/Smart_Living_Handbook_Eng_03_Water_section_4thEd_2011-05.pdf which is an audit system on the City of Cape Town’s Smart Living Handbook.