Melissa Brink, who works at Rabie Property Administrators

shares with us what she and her family are doing to save water.

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Date 31 January 2018
Author Tatum Sieni
Contact Email info@centurycity.co.za
Contact Telephone +27 21 552 6889

Mom of two kids (under two!) + water restrictions = utterly unobtainable and ridiculous and results in sheer panic …  Or so I thought.

We are all doing the best we can to conserve water during this severe crisis. Water restrictions and Day Zero has had me in a panic and keeping me awake at night. I have two tiny kiddos (and 4 big dogs, a couple dozen fish, 2 love birds and a lizard), and as such I did not see how we could possible further reduce our average consumption of around 10KL per month.

Then I put my mind to it and I am proud to say that now our family of 4 humans (and the zoo) uses on average 369L of water per week which equates to 52.74L per day or 13.1L per human

How do we do this? My kids play outside in the sand (at some point I vaguely remember calling it a garden) from the moment we walk in until they are forced to come inside and bath. They are always filthy, so a “voeltjie bath” or “wetwipe wash” is definitely not an option. They bath in 12L of water. I scoop about 1L of that water out and set aside for later, to wash my hair. The rest goes into buckets for the loo (quite scary that it is only actually good for 2 flushes). 12L x 7 days = 84L

Shower: (roughly) 5L per person (that’s including the water that goes to “waste” while you wait for the water to warm up). We’ve set our geyser really low, at about 35degrees, so we don’t need to use much if any cold water in the shower. Washing hair .. no problem, I use that 1L of water from the kids’ bath – I dunk my hair, lather up and rinse in the basin (if you don’t have kiddos, same rule applies, you can just use 1 extra Litre of tap water and save for later). I apply my conditioner and run for the shower. Quick spritz of water to get the body and my loofa wet and the shower goes off. I lather up, shower goes back on and I rinse body and hair. Time spent: about 2 minutes max. 5L x 2 people x 7 days = 70L

Hot tip: put a kiddies pool in the bottom of your shower (you can purchase a non-slip mat for about R25 from PEP to avoid any accidents), that catches every single drop! I see quite a few people are making use of camping showers, or even pressure sprays: which is next on my ‘to do’ list.

Dishes: 6L – admittedly I run my dishwasher once a week, it uses 6L of water on the Eco Cycle – I cannot wash that amount of dishes and use that little water. The only additional water I use is for the kiddos’ bottles – I wash them once a day and use 1L for that (that water I caught in the shower while it was warming up .. is super clean, so that’s where that gets used).  6L (dishwasher once a week) + 1L per day for bottles = 13L

Washing: 37L – yes, that is a large number, but again, I have 2 small kiddos, who get very dirty, every.single.day! So washing is not optional, while the adults clothes can be hung out to air and re-worn, I cannot afford the same luxury for kids. But again, all that water gets caught and I have enough water for the loo for about 4 flushes. As mentioned, where applicable, adults’ clothes get dosed with babypowder and aired in the South Easter. 37L x 4 loads of washing a week = 148L

Cooking: I don’t even have a number here, my solution: BRAAI (and eat off the fire or on special occasions, off recyclable paper plates), so let’s call it 5L per week for “ad hoc”. 5L

Drinking water: 7L (2L per adult, 1L between the kiddies and 2L between the animals). We try make a family outing out of going to fetch water from the Franshhoek spring, if we don’t get there weekly, we purchase water – usually Nestle brand as it is bottled in Gauteng). 7L x 7 days = 49L

Toilets: The “necessary” flushes are flushed (all with grey / recycled water) and for the rest, each toilet is only flushed once a day, always only with grey / recycled water).

Level 6B restrictions kick in this week with the new limit being 50L per person per day. Not only do I feel this is totally ‘doable’, it’s more than ‘doable’, 50L per person per day, is quite a luxury in fact!