Tips for the sustainable use of water in the home and garden

WATER.....There is NO alternative....(let this sink in for a while)

Everyone is aware of the current water shortages right through our country, and if you haven’t already changed your daily behaviour and routine regarding water use in general, you need to start doing it today!

Remember that even if your water savings are small, every drop counts at the end of the day! It’s every proud South African’s duty to make a personal effort in conserving and saving water.....and it starts in your very own home:



1. Shower, instead of bath. You will save up to 400 litres a week! 2. If you need to bath, use the least amount of water. Do you really require a half full bath tub to get yourself clean? (Taking a bath can use between 80 and 150 litres of water per bath5.) 3. Take a shorter shower - showers can use anything between 6 and 45 litres per minute. 4. Get out of the habit of leaving the water running when you shower: turn off the water while you soap yourself or wash your hair. 5. Install a slow-flow shower-head that will use less water. 6. Do you turn off the tap when you brush your teeth? By doing this you can save 6 litres of water per minute. 7. Every household have a toilet - by simply placing a brick or water filled soda bottle in the toilet cistern, you can save 20% of our total water consumption! This way everyone can contribute to save water! 8. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily (“if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down”). 9. Rather dispose of tissues, insects and other waste in the trash rather than the toilet. 10. Fix dripping taps or toilets immediately. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day! 11. Divert your bath and basin outlets (grey-water) onto your lawn or garden. Remember to use bio-degradable cleaning products. There are quite a few products on the market these days. Cape Garden stock a natural range for this purpose. *For more info on DIY options on how to convert your drain pipes for grey water use; as well as info on greywater systems (and to view the demo model), please visit the Joostenbergvlakte branch. 12. If you don’t have a grey water system in place, put a bucket in the shower and re-use the water in the garden or for the toilet.


1. Always use a plugged sink or bowl – this way you can re-use the water. Don’t ever just let the tap run! Once the water’s in the drain, it’s gone and can’t be re-used. 2. Re-use the water you used to rinse fruit and veggies to water plants. 3. Simply fill a jug with tap water and keep it in your fridge for drinking – to avoid running the tap until the water is cold. 4. Put only as much water as you need in your kettle. This will reduce your electricity bill too. 5. Only run the dishwasher when it’s full. 6. Before placing your recycling items in the recycling bin, do you rinse it? Wash it in the same water you do your dishes in, before re-using the final water in the garden.


1. Only use you washing machine if it’s for a full load. 2. Read your appliance (washing machine & dishwasher) manuals for water saving cycles.


1. Read your water bill, set your household a target, find and read your water meter. It’s important to motivate all the members of your family to work together towards the target. 2. Know where the tap to your main water supply is located and make sure you can shut it off when necessary. (if a pipe burst, this could save litres of water) 3. When ice cubes are left over from your drink, don’t throw them out! Pour them on a pot plant! 4. Go vegetarian! (or practice Meatless Monday at least) Did you know it takes over 9400 litres of water to produce a mere 500 g of beef. Just imagine how many veggies could be watered with all that water!


1. Mulching your plants (whether it’s bark chips or a layer of compost), will keep moisture in the soil for longer. This way your plants have a better chance of making it through the drought. 2. Water when it’s cool – early mornings and evenings are recommended. Early morning is the best time, as it allows plants sufficient water to get through the heat of the day. (Between 10h00 and 15h00 one can lose up to 90% of water to evaporation!). 3. Don’t water when it is windy. Wind results in increased evaporation. 4. Remember that no watering of the garden within 24 hours of rainfall (that provides adequate saturation) is allowed. (Facilities/customers making use of boreholes, treated effluent water, spring water or wellpoints are not exempt.) Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. 5. Remember that (according to restrictions) ornamental water fountains/water features must be operated only by recycling the water or if using non-potable water. Check regularly for cracks and spillage. And rather turn of your water feature during very windy times – a lot of water gets blown away! 6. Remove invasive alien plants (that use a lot of water) from your garden – rather focus on drought tolerant, indigenous plants or succulents. 7. Consider replacing water thirsty lawn that is not used often with gravel, stones or indigenous plants. When using pavers and stone, place a porous material* underneath to ensure the drainage of rainwater (so it goes back to the soil). *Enquire about such products at any of our branches). 8. Or replace water-thirsty grass types (like Kikuyu) with hardier types (like Buffalo or Cynodon). 9. Remember to get the appropriate signage: All properties where alternative, non-potable water resources are used (e.g. rain water harvesting, grey water re-use, wellpoints and boreholes), must ensure they display the appropriate signage to this effect clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. This way it’s easier for us to identify water wasters and to report them. 10. Install rainwater tanks to capture as much of the rain water that comes our way!


1. Check your pool for leaks, especially if it is covered and the level still drops. 2. Invest in a pool cover to reduce evaporation.


1. Use eco-friendly soaps and cleaning products (bio-degradable). 2. Support hotels, restaurants, and businesses that are clearly making an effort to conserve water. 3. Buy one less t-shirt and save 2,700 litres of water! Make yourself aware of ‘virtual water’. 4. Invest in water-efficient goods (showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers) when you need to replace household products. 5. If you don’t like drinking tap water, install an under-sink filtration system rather than buying bottled water. 1 litre of bottled water can take up to 3 litres to manufacture!


1. Report public water leaks and those ignoring water restrictions to the Municipality. (Cape Town: 0860 103 089, SMS 31373, or email with the issue & address) 2. Get everyone informed and involved: share water saving tips with your social media contacts. 3. Join the Water Shedding Western Cape group on facebook and stay informed and get motivated by other members of the public. 4. Join the Smile 90.4FM Water Warriors group (on their facebook page)

NEVER throw water away! If you have water left in a glass, pour it into your pet’s bowl, water a plant or add it to your kettle! Don’t ever let water just run down the drain – RE-USE!

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