Five clever ways to save water

South Africa has always been a naturally water-stressed country. Water restrictions aren’t unusual here and, as demand increases, we can expect them to become more common. It’s time for us all to find ways to save water and to make them part of our daily lives.

The Level 5 water restrictions now in place in the Western Cape may seem severe. But, to anyone who loves the environment and is aware of our impact on it, they can also be welcomed as a chance to embrace less wasteful water use.

The government has put together a list of the top ways we can save water at home, which everyone should be following. Here are five more simple, clever – and even fun – ways to save water at home and outdoors.

1. Limit your shower water

Have you tried the Think Water online water calculator to calculate your daily water use? If you have, you’ll know that showering can quickly use up most of your 87l per person daily water allowance. Some ideas to help you limit your shower water use include setting a timer or showering to your favourite (short) song.

But, even better might be to set a hard limit on your shower water consumption by using a bucket shower. The Blue Sky Solar shower has an 18l capacity, which is less than what’s used by a normal two-minute shower according to the Think Water calculator. However, thanks to its water saving nozzle, it’s enough for multiple showers – so you can more than halve your shower water use. A built-in handle makes it easy to hang up indoors or outdoors.

2. Shower outdoors

If you have a garden, it could suffer this summer. Since you can’t water it with municipal water, you’ll need to find water wise ways to keep it alive. One idea is to collect your shower water in buckets. However, some of the water will still go down the drain, and it can be a pain to keep carting buckets from your bathroom to the garden.

So, why not find a private spot in your garden (or put up a screen) and set up an outdoor shower? Using the Blue Sky Solar shower helps you save water and electricity, while enjoying nature and a warm shower. Just fill the bag with water and place it in the sun for a few hours. The black material absorbs heat, giving you a lovely warm shower. And, of course, it’s also perfect for using in the bush.

3. Use available water when hiking or camping

Instead of carting gallons of drinking water from home, or buying bottled water on your travels, make use of water from natural sources such as lakes and streams. Water purification drops or tablets are inexpensive and kill any nasties within 30 minutes. Cape Union water purification tablets cost R45 and purify 50 litres, while 30ml of One Drop Water Purifier costs R60 and purifies up to 150 litres.

If you want a completely hassle-free way to purify the water you collect outdoors, the Source Convertube and Sawyer filter turns almost any bottle into a hydration system, giving you the ability to drink on the move without taking the bottle out of the pack.

4. Use a water bottle for drinking and brushing your teeth

How many water glasses do you use a day and how often do you wash them? If you use a water bottle to drink from instead, you’ll cut down on dishes. And, if you use water from your water bottle to brush your teeth, you’ll automatically avoid running the tap while you do – which just happens to be one of the quickest ways to reduce water waste.

A water bottle is also an excellent way to stay hydrated throughout the day, as you can still drink water while driving or on the go. To keep your water nice and chilled, try an insulated water bottle like the Polar Sea Breeze insulated water bottle.

The dual-wall construction keep liquids cool twice as long as other water bottles. It’s BPA free, dishwasher and freezer safe, and has a removable carrying strap. The wide mouth with removable drinking valve easily fits ice cubes and makes it easy to clean.

5. Don’t buy bottled water

You’re kidding yourself if you think buying bottled water helps save water. One plastic bottle takes up to 26l of water to make – not to mention the transport involved in distributing it and the landfill created by empty plastic bottles. If the taste of tap water doesn’t turn you on or you’re worried about water quality in your area, use a personal water filter like the Lifestraw.

The LifeStraw is a straw-like tube that filters water straight from the source. It was originally developed as a way to provide drinkable water to disaster areas in emergency situations. It’s instant and easy to use: simply suck unfiltered water through the LifeStraw and the filter inside the tube delivers fresh, filtered drinking water.

One LifeStraw filters about 1,000 litres of water and costs R399. That’s less than 40 cents a litre – so you’ll save plenty of money too. There’s even a LifeStraw Go Bottle Filter, which we like to think of as a bottomless supply of bottled water. The Lifestraw is also brilliant for hiking, camping and travel.

Want to know more about how you can be smarter about water in South Africa? Download the Smart Living Handbook for free here.

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