• 1. Tips on how to be water wise
    • Home
      • Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
      • We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
      • If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
      • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
      • When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do.
      • Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
      • Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work
      • Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
      • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colours.
      • Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider.
      • Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbours.
      • Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
      • While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
      • Have your plumber re-route your grey water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line.
      • When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.
    • Garden & Outdoors
      • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
      • Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
      • Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
      • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimise evaporation.
      • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
      • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
      • If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
      • Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it's still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
      • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
      • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
      • Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
      • Walkways and patios provide space that doesn't ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
      • Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
      • Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
      • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
      • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
      • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it's needed.
      • Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and you can save 550 litres a week.
      • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
      • Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
      • Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
      • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
      • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
      • To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
      • Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid over watering some while under watering others.
      • Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimise weed growth that competes for water.
      • Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertiliser to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
      • Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
      • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
      • Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
      • Use a rain gauge, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly.
      • Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
      • Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
      • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 2000 litres each year.
      • Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.
      • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
      • Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry it's time to water.
      • If installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
      • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
      • Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with re-circulating pumps.
      • Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
      • Wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your lawn at the same time.
      • Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
      • Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You'll save up to 4000 litres every time.
      • Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains.
      • Plant with finished compost to add water-holding and nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil.
      • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
      • Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
      • Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
      • Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
      • Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
      • When backwashing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
      • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
      • Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your compost.
      • Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
      • When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink basin or a large container and rinse when all of the dishes have been soaped and scrubbed.
      • When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
      • If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
    • Bathroom
      • If your shower fills a 5 litre bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
      • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 600 litres per month.
      • Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
      • Put food colouring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 4000 litres a month.
      • When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
      • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
      • Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
      • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 3000 litres a month.
      • Before you lather up, trade up your current shower head to a water-efficient shower head which helps reduce water consumption by up to 40%. Water-conserving shower heads are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save a family of four up to 66000 litres of water a year.
      • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 1000 litres a month.
      • Bathe your young children together.
      • Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
      • If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank.
      • Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 1200 litres a month or more.
      • Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 600 litres a month.
      • Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 1200 litres a month.
      • To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower
      • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
      • When you are washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather.
    • Kitchen
      • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
      • Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
      • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 3900 litres a month.
      • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save litres every time.
      • For cold drinks keep a jug of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
      • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
      • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
      • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
      • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
      • Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 40 litres a minute.
      • Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
      • Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don't have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
      • Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
      • One more way to get eight glasses of water a day is to re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
  • 2. How much Water do the Different Economic Sectors in South Africa Use?
    Agricultural Use (including irrigation) 60%
    Environmental Use 18%
    Urban & Domestic Use 11.5%
    Mining & Industrial Use 10.5%
  • 3. What is the Percentage Breakdown of Water Use in Households regarding basic activities that make use of water?
    Low-Income Household Mid to High-Income Household
    Toilets 73% 37%
    Baths & Showers 19% 32%
    Washing Machine NA 17%
    Other eg. cooking, washing dishes and clothes, drinking, etc. 8% 14%
  • 4. How much Water do you Think your Family Uses?
    The Mac Drip Family Water Used in the The Van Plug Family
    2 Baths at a depth of 150 mm = 180 litres Bath 1 Bath at a depth of 100 mm = 60 litres
    2 Showers at 15 litres per minute for 7 minutes each = 210 litres Shower 3 showers at 6 litres per minute for 4 minutes each (close taps while soaping) = 72 litres
    Water used freely = 30 litres Wash Basin Water issued freely = 10 litres
    20 uses at 15 litres per flush = 300 litres Toilet Using a 9 litre/4 litre dual flush toilet: 15 uses at 4 litres and 5 uses at 9 litres = 105 litres
    15 litres Cooking & Drinking 15 litres
    Sink filled with water each time = 40 litres Dishwasher Water used sparingly = 20 litres
    775 litres per family (194 litres per person daily) Bath 282 litres per family (71 litres per person daily)

    Which family used water wisely?
    Which family is your family?

  • 5. When is the Best time to Water the Garden?

    In the early morning before 9am, or in the evening after 4pm. It is not good to water after 4pm in winter as the water that stays on the plants could freeze overnight and damage the plants. In winter the best time to water is mid-morning.

  • 6. How can I use Water Wisely when Using the Toilet?
    • You can take a 1 litre plastic bottle and fill it up with water. When you flush the toilet, it will use 1 litre less. Be careful not to put a bottle in that is too big because the toilet needs a certain amount of water to flush down solid waste.
    • Remember only to flush when necessary, for example, if you blow your nose on a tissue and put it in the toilet, it is a waste to flush it down, rather throw it in the bin.
  • 7. How can I use Water Wisely in the Kitchen?
    • Repair dripping taps.
    • Install water aerators or low flow restrictors in the taps.
    • Soak and scrape dishes and pots into the dustbin before washing them.
    • Don't rinse glasses, fruit and vegetables under running water. Plug the sink and reuse the water in the garden.
    • Thaw frozen food in a refrigerator or a bowl of water, instead of under running water.
    • Reuse ice for watering plants and for drinking or cooking.
    • Don't wait for a tap to run cold. Keep a bottle of water in the fridge.
    • When waiting for water out of the tap, place a bucket under the tap so that the cold water can be used later.
    • Only put as much water into your kettle as you need.
    • When boiling water on the stove cover the pot with a lid.
    • Buy a water (and energy) efficient dishwasher.
    • Fully load the dishwasher before use. Use an economy cycle.
    • When rinsing dishes before loading the machine place a small amount of water in the sink and rinse the dishes in that water instead of under running water.
    • If you have pre-rinsed your dishes then run the load on a shorter cycle.
  • 8. How can I use Water Wisely in the Bathroom?
    • Toilet
      • Flush only when necessary.
      • Place a closed, flat-based 0.5 litre bottle filled with water in your toilet cistern, away from any moving parts, to reduce the amount of water used per flush.
      • Fit a dual-flush toilet cistern, i.e. a button for liquid waste (4 litres) and a button for solid waste (9 litres).
      • Don't use the toilet as a rubbish bin.
      • Install a low-volume toilet, i.e. 9 litres.
      • Check if your toilet has a silent leak by putting a little food colouring in your cistern. If the colouring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, there may be a leak.
      • If you have a flush handle toilet, pick up the handle once it's flushed, or bend the float arm downwards, so less water is allowed to refill the cistern.
      • Ensure that the washer in the cistern is fitted correctly to stop leaks.
      • Replace a tray urinal with a demand urinal valve, i.e. the valve needs to be pushed when water is needed to wash away the waste.
    • Handbasin
      • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
      • Fix dripping taps.
      • Don't turn the tap on full. Turn it off after use.
      • Don't leave then tap running while rinsing hair or shaving.
      • Wash your hands with the plug in place.
      • Install aerators or low flow restrictors in your taps.
      • Use cold water to wash your hands instead of hot water.
    • Bath
      • Avoid filling the bath to a depth greater than 20 cm.
      • Keep the water pressure as low as possible.
      • Fix dripping taps.
      • Install aerators or low flow restrictors in your taps.
      • Reuse bath water for heavy cleaning jobs like floors and carpets.
    • Shower
      • Take 5 minute showers.
      • Install a water efficient showerhead (6-10 litres a minute).
      • Switch off the water between soaping and rinsing your body and your hair.
      • Place a bucket in your shower to collect the used water which you can reuse on lawns, shrubs and trees.
  • 9. How can I use Water Wisely in the Laundry?
    • Wash your clothes in cold or warm water.
    • Ensure that you have a full load of washing when using the washing machine this saves water and electricity.
    • If your washing isn't very dirty then you don't use the pre-rinse cycle.
    • Buy a washing machine that is water (and energy) efficient.
    • Buy a washing machine that has different cycle options. This lets you choose a cycle that is more water (and energy) efficient when heavy duty cleaning is not needed.
    • Front loaders are more water (and energy) efficient than top loaders or twin tubs.
    • Select a machine that offers load detection. If there isn't enough washing to do a full load, the machine will only use the amount of water needed.
  • 10. What can I do to my Geyser to Help Save Water and Electricity
    • Insulate water pipes and geyser.
    • Install geysers close to the draw-off points to avoid heat loss from piping water over long distances and this will also prevent large volumes of water being lost while the cold water is flushed out when the tap is opened
    • Install a solar panel for your energy needs in the house
  • 11. If I Waste Water, am I also Wasting Electricity? Why?

    Purified water is a very special and expensive commodity. We are paying a very reasonable price for water in Gauteng if one considers the costs involved in getting purified water to our homes. One of the biggest costs is that of electricity, as every step of Rand Water's purification, from the pumping of water to the maintenance of equipment requires large amounts of energy.

    The less water we waste, the less electricity will be wasted in order to get more water to your home.

    In addition, it is estimated that around three quarters of a household's energy use relates to heating and hot water use, for example, in baths or showers or for washing clothes or dishes. By taking simple steps to avoid wasting water, (especially hot water) families should see a reduction in their energy bill, and those who are charged for their water by meter should see a reduction in their water bill as well.

    The following are a few tips on how to save water and energy at the same time:

    • Replace worn washers on leaky taps. A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and over a year could unnecessarily add over R200 to your annual water bill.
    • Shorten your shower. For every minute you cut off your daily shower you could save between R70 and R100 off your energy bills over the year, or go one step further and install a water saving shower head, which can cut the amount of water used by about 30 per cent.
    • When putting the kettle on to boil, only fill it with as much water as necessary. Two-thirds of us waste energy by boiling more water than we need.
    • Make sure that the dishwasher or washing machine is completely full before turning it on, and avoid using the half load setting. Half-load cycles use much more than half the energy and water of a full load.
    • Washing machines use huge amounts of energy, 90 per cent of which is through heating water. By reducing the temperature from 40 to 30 degrees, energy consumption will be reduced by 40 per cent.
    • The hot water cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C or 140°F. Any higher is a waste of energy and could lead to scalding.
    • Insulate the hot water cistern to avoid wasting energy to keep it hot. Fitting a jacket that is at least 75mm thick could save around R500 each year.

    Source: Absa booklet - Water... every drop counts.

  • 12. What can Consumers do to Reduce Demand for Water?

    Fast fixes for households on water saving:

    • Fix any leaks: A dripping tap losing one drop a second will waste 15 litres of water a day.
    • Save water when washing: take a shower rather than a bath, don't leave the tap on when brushing your teeth and use the plug in the washbasin when shaving.
    • Save water in the kitchen: Use a bowl instead of leaving the tap on when washing up, boil only the amount of water you need in the kettle, and keep cool water in the fridge rather than running the tap to get a cold drink. And don't use dishwashers or washing machines half full.
    • Save water in the garden: Collect rainwater from the roof in a water butt, and give your plants a soaking once a week rather than watering daily. Water your plants in the early mornings or evenings, reducing the amount lost through evaporation.

    Fast fixes for businesses:

    • Take regular metre readings: The majority of businesses are metered. By taking regular meter readings, you can monitor your water consumption. Meter readings can reveal if the amount of water used is too high.
    • Trace and repair leaks: Any leaks occurring in the pipes on a property will waste water and money. Leaks may be difficult to trace, but you can check if there is a leak on your premises by taking meter readings at night or at weekends when water is not normally used. Some water companies will also help business customers to check for leaks.
    • Water efficient taps: Dripping taps can waste a large amount of water over time. You could consider installing self-closing press taps that cut off the supply after a short period.
    • Water efficient toilets: Some workplace toilets are programmed to flush allthe time, even when there is no-one in the building. Reduce waste by changing the settings, or by installing a sensor-controlled flushing system.
    • Appoint a water monitor: Assign a member of staff to walk regularly around the site, checking for any obvious waste or excessive water use.

    Source: Absa booklet - Water... every drop counts.

  • 13. Why must we use Water Wisely if water cannot be made or destroyed and it moves around the planet in the Water Cycle?

    It is correct that water cannot be made or destroyed and the amount of water on this planet remains constant. Many people then ask why we should save water, as it will never run out and will return to us eventually in the water cycle. There are a number of reasons why it is very important that we as human beings look after our water resources and do not waste water or abuse it.

    One reason is that it is expensive and time consuming to purify water and deliver it to homes. If water is wasted in a particular household, then it means more money must be spent to get more water to that household. We must also remember that it does not only cost money and time, but also many other of the earth's precious resources. It takes a large amount of electricity to purify and pump water to our homes, and this has many impacts including coal mining and the water pollution associated with that industry; loss of bio-diversity and useful land where the coal is mined; air pollution and associated greenhouse gases and poverty associated with poorly paid mine workers. So if you waste water, you are not only having an impact on the economy of the country, but all of these aspects, social, economic and ecological, are negatively affected.

    Another reason is that the very problem of global warming that we are causing through our increasing and unending energy requirements, is leading to climate change all over the planet. Melting ice caps caused by global warming can cause ocean currents to change, and therefore can affect climate on adjacent continents. We may be facing a much drier future in many parts of our country with changing rainfall patterns. This will affect our rivers and dams and put severe stress on our cities and overall economy. The price of water may increase drastically and it may not be possible to supply water to many people. There also may be many people that will not have access to water of any kind, let alone clean, purified water. This situation can lead to severe conflict situations not only between countries, but also within countries.