With water restrictions here to stay, we’ve got 29 ways to save water at home. It’s good for the environment and your back pocket — win-win!
If you live in Cape Town, you should definitely bookmark this page. However, the plea to save water goes out to the whole country, even Joburg which is still under partial water restrictions.
Even more reason to use these easy ways to save water…
Ways to save water in the garden
- Our top tip is to mulch, mulch, mulch. Put a nice thick layer of plant matter on top of all your beds to help slow water evaporation. It doesn’t matter what you put down — think grass cuttings, wood chips, pebbles or even pine needles.
- Leave all clippings in flower beds and rake grass cuttings around plants — it’s the lazy girl’s way of mulching and one of the easiest ways to save water by far.
- When you cut your grass, set your mower to leave the grass a little longer. Taller grass shades roots and helps keep moisture in.
- If you’re really looking for ways to save water, consider replacing your grass. Pavers with water-wise ground cover planted between them will save water and look chic.
- Any water that lands on paving is a waste; when you do water, make sure that not a drop hits the paving.
- Don’t water when it’s windy — a lot of the water gets blown away on the wind before it even hits the ground.
- If you can, water at night to minimise the amount of water that evaporates before the plants can get it.
- Water plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and heat tolerance. This should save water and give you healthier plants.
- Group plants with similar watering needs together. That way you won’t be wasting water on succulents while trying to keep your arum lilies alive!
- As far as possible, choose indigenous plants for the garden. Take it a step further and go for plants that are endemic to your area. Not only is this a great way to save water, but the plants are basically guaranteed to thrive because they’ve evolved to make the most of weather conditions in your area.
Ways to save water in the kitchen
- Instead of washing veggies in the sink, keep a shallow basin in the kitchen dedicated to the task. After washing your vegetables, use the leftover water to water your plants.
- Leftover ice cubes? Don’t chuck them in the sink to melt, rather pop them in your pot plants.
- Keep water in the fridge for drinking. This means you don’t have to run the tap — and waste precious water — waiting for cool water.
- Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are full before turning them on. There’s no point having a water-efficient appliance if you don’t use it properly!
- Before washing up or packing the dishwasher, scrape bits of leftover food off dishes instead of rinsing them.
Ways to save water in the bathroom
- One of the best ways to save water is to install low flow shower heads. They’re inexpensive and can save a family of four up to 30 000 litres of water a year. Impressive!
- Turning off the shower while you wash your hair is one of the easiest ways to save water. In fact, one person can save 550 litres of water a month just by switching off while you lather up.
- Incentivise the kids to have shorter showers. Time them and offer rewards if they meet their target for a whole week.
- By now we all know that we should be turning off the water while we brush our teeth, but turning the water off while we soap up our hands is another zero effort way to save water.
- Keep a bucket in the bathroom. Use the bucket to collect water from the bath or shower while you wait for the water to get hot. You can also keep the bucket in the shower to catch any water that falls while you shower. Use the water in the garden.
- Keep a jug in the bathroom near the basin. Use the bucket to collect water from the basin while you wait for the water to get hot. When we tested this, we noticed that leaving the cold water to run while waiting for hot water wastes 3 litres of water! Use the water in the garden.
- If you have an older toilet, place a bottle filled with water or a brick in the cistern.
- Only flush the toilet when absolutely necessary — and definitely don’t flush tissues, rather throw them in the bin
General ways to save water
- Keep an eye on your water bill, it’s often the first indication that you have a leak, especially if it’s an underground leak or caused by one of the garden taps.
- If you’re not sure whether you have a leak, a good way to check is to find your municipal water meter and make sure no water is being used inside your property. If the meter is still running when it shouldn’t be, you have a leak.
- Fix leaks — no matter how small. A tap that drips once every second adds up to nearly 20 litres a day, and often the fix is as simple as replacing the washer.
- Cover your pool with a solid cover. Not only will this save water by drastically reducing evaporation, it will also stop pesky leaves from falling in.
- Install a rain water harvesting system and use the water in the garden
- Go a step further and go for a grey water harvesting system. These systems collect used water from places like the shower and washing machine, filter it and then distribute it to your garden.
Looking for more ways to save money? We’ve got tips to help you sort your debt in your lunch hour.