The City of Cape Town is currently implementing Level 2 Water restrictions. This is due in part to the low dam levels. It is everyone’s responsibility to save water.
Here are some useful tips on how you can save water:
Save water throughout your home
Ensure all taps are fully closed – a dripping tap at 1 drip per second wastes up to 30 litres a day – that is equivalent to 10 000 litres a year.
Replace tap washers regularly and fit tap aerators to restrict and spread the flow. This saves water yet feels like you are using the same amount of water.
Ensure your plumbing system is regularly checked for leaks and engage a plumber when necessary.
Save water in your garden
Water your garden before 09:00 or after 16:00 (or even later on hot summer days). Avoid watering during windy periods and only water your garden when necessary.
Re-use your bath and sink water to water plants and lawns. Professional greywater recycling systems are also available for purchase.
If you have an overflow pipe that drips into the garden, place a bucket beneath the drips and use the saved water to water pot plants.
Mulching flowerbeds keeps down the weeds and holds moisture in the soil for longer.
Use a mulching lawn mower that allows clippings to be finely cut and blown back into the lawn.
Don’t mow lawns below 4 cm in length, as this reduces root depth and lawns are more likely to burn in summer.
Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you wash your car, and use short bursts of water – this can save up to 300 litres each time. Or, to save even more water wash your vehicle using a bucket of water.
Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you water your garden.
Check and maintain your irrigation system regularly, to ensure no water is running to waste, or that paved areas are being watered.
Adjust your irrigation system for the season and switch it off during rainy weather – even if it is borehole or wellpoint water.
Watering the garden less frequently, but deeper (for longer) encourages a deeper root system, which results in stronger plants. This practice can make water-wise plants out of most established plants.
Save water in your kitchen
Ensure washing machines or dishwashers have a full load before running them.
Rinse glasses, cutlery and vegetables in a basin of water, rather than under a running tap, and reuse the water for pot plants or in the garden.
Rinse water can be reused for the next cycle of washing up before being discarded.
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge so that you don’t run lukewarm water down the drain when waiting for it to cool.
Run tap water into a bottle when waiting for it to heat up.
Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, sunlight or microwave rather than placing them under running water.
Save water in your bathroom
Close the tap when brushing your teeth. This saves up to 20 litres per month. Use a mug of water to rinse your toothbrush.
Plug the sink when shaving rather than rinsing your razor under running water. This saves up to 45 litres per month.
A half-filled bath uses about 113 litres, a 5-minute shower uses about 56 litres. Shower rather than bath, if you have to bath make it a shallow one or share it.
Reuse bath water in your garden.
Install a new water-saving toilet or put a clean, sealed plastic container filled with sand in the toilet cistern. This could save you up to 7 300 litres each year.
A toilet leak can waste up to 30 litres an hour – check if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food dye to the cistern. If the colour seeps into the bowl, you have a leak, which should be fixed as soon as possible.
Install a water-saving shower head, take shorter showers, don’t run the water at full force and turn off the shower when soaping or shaving.
Save water in industries, businesses and schools
Automatic flushing urinals are the ultimate water wasters. If they cannot be replaced immediately, turn off the water after hours and over weekends – schools doing this have saved up to R5 000 on their annual water bill.
Flush valves should flush for just two to four seconds and urinals for six to eight seconds.
Regular maintenance of toilet fittings will save unnecessarily flushed water.
Ensure your plumbing systems are regularly checked for leaks.
Use a broom to sweep forecourts and other paved areas. Do not use a hose for this purpose.
Potable water must not be used to dampen building sand or other building material to prevent it from being blown away.
Every day we make mistakes that leave our homes vulnerable to a break-in. A burglar will always choose the easiest target and that’s good news for you – it means you have a lot of influence on whether you become a victim or not.
Hiding keys by doorways – leaving keys near door ways is very risky as you risk someone duplicating your key and breaking in whenever they want.
Leaving out mail – an overflowing mailbox is a good sign that no one is home as well as it allows criminals to steal your mail and gain personal information.
Open windows – windows are often the easiest entry point for burglars to access your home as doors can be sturdy and deadlocked.
Leaving valuables in sight – valuables should be left out sight so that burglars and stored away as expensive items signal that you have money and is a clear indicator to a burglar that your home is worth targeting.
No visible security – securing your home with burglar bars and visible security measures is a huge deterrent to burglars.
Not maintaining your yard – a messy yard is a signal to a burglar that you are an easy target as untrimmed trees and hedges make for potential hiding places.
Updating social media – avoid using social media to let strangers know your whereabouts as you never know who is following you online.
A lifeless home – leaving lights and the TV / Radio on a timer can signal to a burglar that someone is home.
Level 2 restrictions equate to a 20 percent saving. That means residents could pay more for water.
The city says if customers reduce consumption by 10 percent, their bill should remain similar. However, if consumption stays the same, residents can expect to pay more for water if the proposal is approved by council.
Free allocations will not be affected.
LEVEL 2 RESTRICTIONS: WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
– Residents may not water or irrigate their gardens between 6am and 6pm or fill up their swimming pools.
– Hose pipes may also not be used to wash cars or paved areas.
– Although water will still be available around the clock, pressure in the city’s taps will be reduced.
– If the situation worsens, more restrictions will be imposed, including supply cuts.
Craft workshops at Montebello Design Centre, Newlands.
Join Ciskia Hanekom, former craft and DIY editorial assistant from Ideas magazine, and learn how to create beautiful air dry clay items. It’s very easy to use and you don’t need any special equipment or ovens.
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The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Department has launched a new and improved website, loaded with useful information that may assist residents, learners, students, educators and visitors.
The City is confident that the use of interactive diagrams, video clips, posters and brochures to present information in a more user-friendly way will significantly improve the experience of those visiting the Water and Sanitation Department’s new website, making it easier to access information and to interpret it.
‘For instance, by visiting http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Water residents will be able to access a detailed explanation about water tariffs and how we bill them for water usage, and how to apply for a water management device, or to be connected to the City’s water system. Selling your house? We list a few things to consider and we provide a brochure for new homeowners as well,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
The website is loaded with useful information for those interested in water and the way in which the City manages this scarce resource, such as:
how to report faults
how to log account enquiries
how to prevent sewer blockages
how to apply for a plumber’s license with the City
tips on saving water
latest dam levels and historic levels, dating back to 2011
educational material on the Cape Town water and sanitation system
details of important projects that the department is working on
ongoing commitments to enhancing services to residents in informal settlements