Water, the source of life that we all take for granted. That is until we don’t have any or the supply becomes severely restricted. In the Western Cape, we are facing an unprecedented crisis with an ever-diminishing supply of fresh water as the dams are slowly but surely running dry and the rainfall just seems to get less and less every winter.

 

This has forced us all to take measures that help preserve what we have left and make the anticipated rainfall last longer until a more sustainable long-term solution has been found and implemented. Among the measures that we have to take in our own homes are things like the bath ban! Only showers are allowed in most homes and even then, the taps only run while one wets oneself enough to get the soap to lather and have a good wash. Then the taps go back on to rinse the soap off.

Most people shower in buckets these days in order to catch the waste water which either gets used to flush toilets or water plants. Toilet usage has also changed and the common saying now is, “If it is yellow, let it mellow but if it is brown, flush it down!”

 

We all now look at ways that we can conserve this precious resource and stop being so wasteful. Most houses have water tanks that catch rain water that can be used in the home for washing hands, washing laundry and flushing toilets. We have a large bucket with a tap on next to the sink that we use for general kitchen use. This bucket we fill from a rainwater tank or with a jug from the tap when we are running a tap till hot water comes through. I am amazed at how much water we manage to save by doing these few small things. As a family of 4, we have reduced our water consumption by 75% to bring ourselves in line with the target of less than 50 liters per person, per day. It just goes to show how wasteful and unappreciative we were off this precious resource until there is a very real threat of it drying up.

Article and photos by Paul Vermeulen.