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Makana at Crisis Point: 90 Days Left

Pearl Munemo 

The water crisis is real and it’s here.

Cape Town recently announced that water supplies have run dry, and Settler’s dam has dropped to 30% water capacity – a level at which water can no longer be extracted. According to acting municipal manager Mandisi Planga, there are approximately 90 days of water left in storage to supply the Grahamstown West area, and little is being done to remedy this.

Students make up a large proportion of the Grahamstown community and have the resources to make a significant impact in leading the way forward to saving water. It is time they stepped up to the plate. It is of great concern that only in times of emergency and when it affects us personally that conservation efforts are given due attention.

In light of the current crisis, Activate is starting the #90DaysAndCounting campaign. Each day on Twitter, Activate will tweet a water-saving tip alongside the 90-day countdown, in the hopes of students joining in the campaign and working towards using water as sparingly as we can.

It may be too late for massive action, but there are still effective ways to save water in our homes. One person using water wisely is not enough, but every drop can make a difference and will contribute to saving water. It is also important to remember that while some have the resources to buy water should their taps stop running, many will be left with nothing.

Water isn’t funny. The joke ends here.

Follow the conversation on Twitter, and take part in some of these small ways to make big differences towards saving water every day. In the meantime, here are some water saving tips to get you started:

Take a five-minute shower

After a long, stressful day a prime way to relax is a nice long shower or bath. Unfortunately, long showers and bathtubs use up precious water resources. There are, however, other ways to relax which don’t use water at all: reading a book, cuddling up in a blanket and watching your favourite movie, or talking to a friend. If you’re going to take a shower – long or short – shower with a bucket and use that water to wash clothing or dishes, or water your plants. If you don’t have the discipline, then just time your shower. Play a couple of songs as you shower so you know when you to stop.

Take a cold shower 

Just the thought of a cold shower sends shivers down one’s spine. If you know yourself and how much you love warm showers, take a cold one instead! Besides cutting your shower time in half, there are many health benefits to taking cold showers. Cold water prevents your skin from drying up too quickly and getting clogged with dirt. It also improves blood circulation and metabolism, promotes tolerance to disease and stress, and energises you. Moreover, you’ll cut your shower time in half!

Take a bird bath

Alternatively, fill up a sink with water and use a washcloth and soap for a quick bird bath that will get you through the day!

Don’t let the water run

While you wash your hands or your face, lather with the tap turned off and then rinse. You can also use a cup of water to brush your teeth, rather than running the tap. Half of the water in the cup is to rinse, and the other is to rinse your toothbrush. If you can, avoid shaving in the shower. Rather, fill a bucket with water, apply gel, shave, and wipe away hair before hopping in the shower to rinse it off. If there’s hair stuck to the razor, swish it in the water and continue.

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” 

Either be sensible about your flushing or get a water weight to trick your toilet canister into flushing less water. The best part is: you don’t even have to buy a device to reduce the water that comes out of the toilet when you flush! A simple 1l plastic bottle filled with rocks, sand or water will suffice. Placing this in the septic tank (away from all the technical bits, of course) will save at least half the water normally used when flushing.

While you wait for your shower to warm up, collect the running water with a bucket: 

This water can be used to flush the toilet or can be boiled and used to wash the dishes or clean your shoes.

Cook one-pot meals: 

There are great recipes online, and using one pot will save water when it comes to washing dishes. PRO-TIP: It’s even better if you eat from the pot as well!

Cook meals in bulk

Another good water saving tip is to cook your meals for the week in bulk. It will save you a lot of time during the week and will save a lot of water. All you have to do at the end of the day is take your meal from the freezer when you come back from school, let it thaw, and then pop it in the microwave for five minutes – voila!

Steam or microwave your vegetables instead of cooking them: 

Boiling vegetables and draining them uses unnecessary amounts of water. If you microwave your vegetables or steam them, it will use up to half the amount of water needed for boiling. You can also steam a lot more vegetables using the same water than you can boiling them.

There are hundreds of other ways to save water, but these are convenient tricks and tips Rhodents can use to make sure that they are not wasting water. Along with this, it is crucial that we close leaking taps, shower heads or toilets, and it’s important to report burst pipes or overflowing drains.


So, “water you waiting for?”



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