With the current drought that we are experiencing in the Western Cape, there are desperate measures in place to try and save as much water as possible. And it requires quite a big adjustment from how we’ve been used to carelessly using water. But it’s not an impossible task and if you’re worried about how you’re expected to stay within the water restrictions when it comes to doing your home chores, here are a few ways you can save water while doing so.
There’s a lot of discussions around whether washing dishes by hand uses less water than if you were to use a dishwasher and it’s time to put that discussion to rest.
It also comes down to the number of dishes you have at the end of a day and how often you need to do dishes. If you’re a large family constantly using dishes that need to be cleaned and placed back in the cupboards for the next round of use, then having one of these amazing Bosch dishwashers is what you need to control your water use as well as your sanity.
But other practices you can start incorporating to decrease the number of times dishes need to be done in a day is to limit each person to one glass and/or mug a day and use paper plates when possible.
Cleaning the floors and countertops isn’t a home chore that happens every single day (maybe a wipe down every day but not a full-on clean). But when the time does come around to clean make sure you do it with a water-conscious mind.
First of all, the water you’re going to use should be the grey water that you’ve collected from your warming-up shower water and hand-rinsing buckets in the basins. Next, you need to make sure you don’t use an excessive amount of soap or cleaner on the floors and countertops because that will require more water to rinse it all off (and that’s not a water-smart idea).
And if you manage to squeegee your mops water back into a bucket, you can even further use your grey (now murky) water to water what’s left of your garden. When every drop counts, it really counts.
Another large ding on your water bill will likely come from doing your laundry – another inescapable home chore (whether you or your laundromat do it). There are ways to efficiently use your washing machine (which should already be a water-wise appliance) that can make the most of this household chore. The goal is to not wash clothes unnecessarily and wait until your laundry basket is past overflowing. Then you need to fill your washing machine to its maximum capacity – no half-loads allowed – and then, if you can, before you hang it out to dry or put it in the tumble dryer, ring those washed clothes out and collect any bits of water you can to be used elsewhere around the house.
But if you cannot afford a water-efficient washing machine or your water usage is still too high when it comes to laundry, there are more old-school ways to wash your clothes without using too much water.
And the final chore we’re going to look at is cooking meals. Now, a recipe is a recipe and certain amounts of water are absolutely necessary to make a meal. Where the water saving comes in is the rinsing and straining.
You should have buckets catching water in all the sinks of the house, including your kitchen sinks. This will catch all the water from rinsing fruits and vegetables, defrosting meat packets and utensil rinses. More than that, when you strain pasta, rice or anything that was cooking in water, you do that straight into the sink-bucket. These actions are another source of grey water that can then be reused to flush the toilet, clean the floors or water the garden.
Wherever you can save even a little bit of water to reuse, you’re making a huge difference in the Western Cape society as a Day Zero Hero.