It's World Environment Day and the Western Cape continues to battle severe drought. Residents can do their part by employing these water-saving tips to help ease the strain on dams' dwindling reserves.
Tips for the bathroom
One of the simplest tips to follow would be to spend less time in the shower. While a half-filled bath can consume up to 113 litres, a 5-minute shower uses roughly half that amount at about 56 litres. A low-flow showerhead can also prove to be a worthwhile investment as it reduces the flow of water to roughly half the amount produced by conventional ones.
An efficient tip for showers would probably be to take a "naval shower" - wet your body under the shower. Turn off the water, Soap up and then turn the water back on and rinse. Simple as all that.
When brushing your teeth, be sure to turn off the tap. This can save up to 20 litres of water per month. Also, use a small cup of water to rinse your mouth instead of running water from a tap.
Using the toilet
Minimising the amount of water in a toilet's cistern can reduce the amount of water consumed during a flush. Displacement produced by adding a brick would also help in achieving this. Another option would be to restrict flushing to the removal of solid waste only. For those willing to go a step further, installing a compost toilet could also be considered.
Tips for the kitchen
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge instead of waiting for water to cool by letting it run from a tap.
Defrost frozen food in the microwave by using the appropriate setting instead of placing it under running water. Planning ahead by defrosting food in a refrigerator a day ahead of planned cooking can also be done. Thawing frozen food should not be done at room temperature nor should it be done by using sunlight as this may lead to food-borne illnesses.
Using a bowl to rinse dishes or produce allows that water to be reused in the garden or for other household plants.
Steaming food requires less water than boiling and also helps to retain more nutrients. However, water used to boil food can still be reused. After cooling and draining it into a bowl, it could be used to make soup or stocks, for example.
Car washing tips
When it comes time to give your car a good wash, the natural tendency is to hose the entire car down with water, then scrub until it's covered in bubbles and rinse again.
That, however, requires a lot of water. A standard garden hose can spew out roughly 38 litres per minute, which means a 10-minute car wash can use up to 380 litres of water.
That's a big problem in these drought-stricken times. As an alternative, there are ways to clean your car with much less water or no water at all. An example is waterless car wash products that you spray liberally and lets the liquid work its magic, then wipe it down with a towel that will grab dirt particles. Washing your car regularly will avoid dirt piling up.