How to save water

Be a hero and do your bit for the water crisis

By Hugh Upsher

You’re just a little old private citizen, what difference could you possibly make in the big scheme of things? The short answer is a significant one. But more importantly, when the topic of water saving inevitably comes up in conversation, you can be first in line to gloat about how much effort you’re putting in. Here are my water saving tips for this current water crisis in Cape Town, as well as every other one that will certainly occur over the next few years.

Put your plants on diet

Plants are living, breathing proof that you are indeed a responsible adult of some kind. Having plants is similar to having children in many ways, if those children were more like pets, and those pets didn’t move at all and only required a little water once a week. Anyway, when times get tough, you have to tighten the belt a bit. All plants are designed to go through fluctuations of water scarcity, otherwise they would be pretty useless in the wild. With this in mind, cutting down on your watering schedule shouldn’t cause much harm. Be sure to only water them in the evening or early mornings to avoid having half the water evaporate out before hitting the roots. Also, if you’re not using grey water from the shower to water your plants, now is a fantastic time to start.

Never wash your jeans

Washing machines use plenty of water each time you turn them on, so the less you have to use it the better. I’m 100% for washing clothes that are dirty or smell quite obviously of your essence, but if neither are the case, then think twice about tossing it in the basket. Wearing an item of clothing once or twice shouldn’t necessarily warrant an automatic wash. Jeans are an example of clothing that aren’t meant to be washed much at all, with the Levi’s CEO himself claiming that machine washing your jeans is completely unnecessary. I bought a pair of Levi’s in December and have yet to wash them even once, because they are specifically designed to be pummeled into the ground. Many garments actually age much faster because of how many times they’ve been washed.

Don’t ponder about how to save water while showering

A morning shower is unquestionably a fantastic way to start any day and I would never want to take that away from you. Everyone loves that steamy moment of privacy that lets you slowly bring yourself into full consciousness. It’s a great space to have fresh ideas, sing that Rihanna song that’s been stuck in your head all week or just stare blankly at the spaces between the tiles. The reality is that those ten-minute showers are a complete extravagance, especially if you’re having them every single day. The time you should be aiming for is four to five minutes tops. If the concept of time is an abstract notion to you at half past six in the morning, I suggest setting a timer on your phone to remind you when you’re heading into the danger zone.

If you think you’ve got no part to play in this crisis, then you should seriously reconsider. I guarantee that this is not the first, and will not be the last water shortage you will be hearing about in the coming years. Being responsible with water is an ongoing struggle that everyone should be considerate of, no matter where you are in the country. Remember to be bold in calling out people and businesses that are guilty of excessive water usage, and share your water saving techniques with friends.