I am quite certain that we all have felt the influence of the Western Cape water-crisis in some or other way. Video's of how empty our dams are, are doing their rounds on social media and drone footage isn't exactly something that we can argue with. The fact of the matter is that we truly are in trouble and although a big part of South Africa has experienced this for some time, it is really alarming when the drought is staring you straight in the eye. Yet some people choose to ignore this.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, the Western Cape's Dam Water Levels are declining by the week, with the Theewaterskloof Dam at 30.8% (measured on the 13th of February 2017). With all of this being said, there has been calculated that we have enough water for more or less 135 days - IF we adhere to the water restrictions.
D'Olyfboom Family Estate is blessed with two natural springs that yield top grade water. Due to these natural springs, our farm is not being influenced by water restrictions but we do feel strongly about saving water and using it wisely. As far as we can, we are changing our irrigation system and lowering our water usage because we are sensitive to this drought and the effect it has on our community.
With education being an important part of our vision, we are encouraging everybody that reads this blog-post to strongly adhere to the water restrictions (Level 3B) as confirmed by the Klein Drakenstein Municipality.
As with any other restriction, it will only mean something if everyone buys in. We can't throw a blind eye to this crisis any longer.
Here are a few (small) things that will make a (big) difference:
1. Check taps and pipes for leaks A small drip from a worn tap washer can waste 75 liters of water per day. Larger leaks can waste thousands of liters.
2. Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, the usage can be 18 - 26 liters.
3. Check your toilets for leaks Put a little food colouring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the colour begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.
4. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
5. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow taps.
6. Insulate your water pipes. It's easy and inexpensive. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
7. Take shorter showers. One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 75 - 150 liters of water.
8. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush. There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
9. Rinse your razor in the sink. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.
10. When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing. If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water.
11. Don't let the tap run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a bowl of clean water.
12. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge. Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle. Better yet, invest in a water subscription at The Well and save municipality water.
13. Don't water the gutter. Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
14. Water your lawn only when it needs it. A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering.
15. Water during the early parts of the day. Early morning is generally better than in the afternoon since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation.
16. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Clean the car using a pail of soapy water.
17. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
18. Install a grey water system if it is at all possible. This post shows you how! (Remember to use Eco-friendly household products - especially when you are making use of grey water systems. Earthsap is a range of organic household products and is available at The Well.
Water conservation comes naturally when everyone in the family is aware of its importance.
Parents! Take the time to teach your children some of the simple water-saving methods around the home which can make a big difference.