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Let’s be water wise together

Let’s be water wise together

14 February 2017

On 1 February, the City of Cape Town implemented level 3B water restrictions in an attempt to further mitigate the water crisis. It is crucial now that all residents and businesses play their part by reducing consumption and saving water.

At the time of writing, the overall level in the dams supplying Cape Town was just 36.2%. To keep track, click here.

At the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), we have taken the situation seriously since the first water restrictions.

Says Richard Beesley, manager of Urban Management at the CCID: “Since we don’t have large green spaces to maintain, we didn’t feel the impact in a big way. Nevertheless, we began to use watering cans and buckets in our garden services instead of hosepipes. And we always strive to plant water-wise plants only. In our Spin Street traffic island garden, for example, we planted spinach, onions and cabbage, which do not require a lot of water. The garden is also well shaded by trees to minimise evaporation.”

Since the introduction of level 3B, the department has halted all watering until it can formulate a sustainable supply. In the interim, our gardening shifts will be concentrating on weed removal.

The Urban Management department has also conducted an audit of leaking water meter drains in the CCID area. It has reported its findings to the City’s water department for repair.

The private sector is setting an example too. Says Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID: “Some Cape Town CBD developers are really getting in on the action when it comes to water saving. The Twinell building redevelopment, for example, has dry water urinals, and grey water is recycled for irrigating the building’s plants. FEDISA fashion school is another great example. It has a stunning rooftop garden with a fountain. The school’s director, Allen Leroux, personally designed a system that distributes waste water from the fountain to the entire garden. No hosing is needed.”

The Townhouse Hotel in Corporation Street has set an example for water saving in the CBD in 2017. In a bid to do their bit to help alleviate the pressure of dropping water levels in Cape Town, the hotel now places buckets in each room and encourage guests to place them in the shower when they use it. The staff then collect the water and use it irrigate the trees around the hotel (as pictured above).

Says general manager Jacqueline Williams: “Every small effort will accumulate and together will result in a big effort.”

Other Central City stakeholders implementing water-saving initiatives include Tsogo Sun, Around About Cars and The Carpenter’s Shop. To find out more about these, read the Autumn 2017 issue of our newspaper, City Views, which will be out in the second week of March.

Tips for water saving

Small changes in your behaviour can make a big difference. Here’s what some of the CCID’s staff is doing.

  • “I use the water from my kids’ bath to water the garden, and I haven’t washed my car in what feels like forever.”
  • “I monitor how long we shower. The rule is no one is allowed to shower longer than two minutes. Wet your body, turn off the tap, soap and rinse. It works.”
  • “I place a large round Tupperware with water and dishwasher inside the sink. I use this all day to clean the dishes. If the water get dirty I replace, but I normally end up using one container per day.”
  • “I don’t refill my pond until the water level is halfway. This happens only once every couple of months.”
  • “We have placed buckets in the basins in the bathroom and the kitchen, and in the shower. Grey water is then used to water plants. We are also conscious to switch off taps sooner, and reduced the frequency of washing machine and dishwasher cycles. Our water costs are down to R200 per month for four people. It’s also important to appoint a monitor or ‘enforcer’ in the home to ensure compliance.”
  • “I use a bucket to capture the water that comes out of the shower while waiting for it to get warm. This is clean water and can be used for washing of clothes and dishes.”
  • “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”
  • “I’ve been making a very conscious effort to not just let taps run. I’ve become very aware of how often we do this – while brushing teeth, washing dishes, waiting for the shower water to heat up. I only open the tap now when I’m actually ready to use the water. I reckon just through that alone, I’m using less than 50% (if not more) of what I used to use in the past.”
  • “I report leaking drains not only on my property but in our community and surrounds. I also place a bucket underneath our geyser overflow pipe and use the water it collects if for plants.”

For more tips, go here and here on the City’s website.

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