Meeting The Challenge Of Reduced Water Supply

South Africans face several challenges but how do we deal with the new challenge of reduced water supply looming on the horizon?






South Africans are forced to deal with increasing challenges on a daily basis and yet again we are looking at even more in the future. We live under the ongoing threat of rising prices, fewer jobs, load shedding, storm damage and heatwaves so what else can dampen our mood? Well, now we may have to face reduced water supply or water throttling since many municipalities are unable to pay outstanding bills to Rand Water.



Water shortages are nothing new to South Africans and we constantly deal with penalties imposed for excess water usage during periods of drought. We have also become accustomed to a lack of water supply due to our old or failing supply lines and we are even used to being without water when load shedding affects the main pumping stations in our region. But reduced water supply is something new and for this, we need to have a few strategies in place.







A change of lifestyle

Over the last 4 years, we have had to face more than a few lifestyle changes due to the Covid Pandemic and our failing governmental structures. We were locked in our homes and learned how to survive and be more of a family unit, we looked at price-saving ways to reduced our monthly expenses and we swapped out inefficient items in our homes and replaced these with battery or solar-powered options to meet load shedding. Now, we need to look at ways to change our lifestyle to manage the water supply in our homes with as little disruption as possible and as South Africans - we can do it! Here are a few lifestyle changes to make:



1. The benefits of showers rather than baths

We have long known that bathing uses far more water than showers and when you have a family of 3 or more, showering will allow you to have enough water on hand for everyone to use. A 5-minute shower uses approximately 80 litres of water and that is more thanhalf of the capacity of a 150 litre geyser. Two 5-minutes showers and you have exhausted the geyser and will need to wait for it to refill. That is all fine and well under normal conditions but when the water supply is reduced it will take far longer to fill and mean less water for other household tasks.






Where there are young children in the home, go back in time to when a bathing tub was used for small children. This tub only uses around 40 litres depending on the size of the tub and the remaining water can be used to water the garden once you are done!



2. Cleanliness in a bottle

Recycle 2-litre plastic bottles to hold clean water that can be placed in the bathroom. This water can be used for brushing teeth, washing faces and hands and for other hygiene tasks in the bathroom. This way, you know you will only use 2 litres of water per day.






Purchase a few 5-litre bottles of drinking water and refill these with fresh filtered water once empty. These can be kept in the refrigerator as drinking water and as an extra water supply in case of emergency.







3. Don't throw water down the drain

invest in a large barrel or tub with a lid that can be filled up regularly to use for watering the garden. Drain water from boiled foods into the barrel as this is great for your veggie garden or plants. Instead of throwing water down the drain, put this in the barrel for use in the garden when you need it.






Fix any leaks immediately as these can waste a huge amount of water. A leaking hose pipe or sprinkler, dripping taps, continuously running water in a toilet, all these amount to water being thrown away.



4. Invest in a rainwater harvesting tank

Harvesting rainwater has become more of a need than a want and as we head towards possible reduced water supply, any rainwater collected can be used to flush toilets, fill a swimming pool or water the garden. Builders have a selection of rainwater collection systems from small to large and you can even fit a small one on a balcony if you live in an apartment or townhouse.



5. Be a sensible gardener

I love my garden and dread to think that a reduction in water supply might affect the plants and lawn. I decided to replace my lawn with artificial turf over 15 years ago and haven't regretted it once. I am also one of those gardeners who believe plants should be able to survive on their own or be drought-resistant and my garden is filled with plants, shrubs and trees that are only watered out of necessity.






Having a rainwater harvesting tank will alleviate problems related to lack of water supply, as will a large barrel or tub as mentioned above, but the best advice is to only water early in the morning or late in the evening and only use a watering can so that water can be aimed directly at plants that need it and not go to waste.



Reduced water supply is going to be a challenge for everyone but it will also be a lesson on how to change your lifestyle to rely less on abundant water, something we may need to face sooner than we think.







back to top