Saving Water

Cape Community newspapers, which publishes SOUTHERN MAIL, ran a competition last month asking our readers what they were doing to save water and keep their gardens healthy during the water restrictions. Here are just a few of the 63 entries submitted. The two winners each received a R500 Stodels voucher.

Elton Johnson, Grassy Park

I save every useable drop be it from washing water or a dripping bath tap and have even relocated the washing lines so that the water from wet clothing drips into the soil. I cut two-litre plastic bottles in half and punched them with holes and put them around the plants to collect water.

I’m also attempting to start a rockery patch but I hope it takes because then I will cut down even more on watering and focus more on my new vegetable garden… I’m really proud of myself since this is all very new to me and I’m going about it through trial and error and seem to be becoming more environmentally conscious.

The last project I did last year was with my mother, Carol Jane Johnson who passed away in July. She loved garden work and it rubbed off on me too.

Karmiela Baboo, Wynberg

I catch my washing and rinsing water from my washing machine for my garden and to keep my dog’s section clean.

Also when I’m in the shower, I have a bucket to collect water and I use that to refill my toilet cistern.

Margaret Gillian van der Berg, Zeekoevlei

All my grey water gets put in the garden. When I rinse and change my dog’s water bowls, I water my plants with that water.

I mulch with grass cuttings and autumn leaves as I have many trees in my garden and that also helps with shading my plants in extreme heat. As my front garden is mostly shade, I only water once or twice a week. I use a lot of grey water to water my pots in the garden.

Alfred Small, Grassy Park

For months, my dripping water bottles have been supplying my plants with water, saving hundreds of litres of water every month.

Charlotte Maloney, Retreat

I save water by throwing my washing machine water on my grass and when my kids shower we first wet our bodies, then put the shower off, soap up and wash soap off in less then three minutes.

Sharon Swanepoel, Muizenberg

As you know, in Muizenberg, with its sandy soil, the wind, and current water restrictions, growing plants (even indigenous) and keeping up the grass is quite difficult. I recently got a friend to help me recycle my bath and shower water. All we needed were a couple of pipes and fittings, and a spare flexible pipe from a vacuum cleaner which I attached to the end of the pipe to direct the water to where it needs to go. That part of the grass is now a lot greener than anywhere else. I still need to get some extra length fittings to reach other areas of the garden.

It was a pretty simple exercise but has saved a lot of water and definitely improved the grass. It is also a lot easier than hauling out buckets of bath water to water the garden, which I did at one point.

Saneeya Adams, Muizenberg

We’ve been doing small, sim- ple things to make our most precious commodity go fur- ther.

Often, a tap will drip slightly even after you’ve closed it. I save these little bits by putting an ice cream tub under the tap at the kitchen sink and then using this water on the house plants or those outside. In our bathroom, the hand shower usually drips quite considerably after closing it. I’ve put a plant next to the tap (directly below the drip) and it seems to be very happy there.

My kids have been conditioned to save the water that we’ve used to wash rice, len- tils, etc on the plants out- side. Instead of throwing the water down the drain, we save it in another bowl and they take turns to throw the water out.

Before showering, and while waiting for the water to warm up, we hold a jug beneath the shower to save the cold water and either put this in the cats’ or dog’s bowl, or save it in our istinja jug (used to perform ablution after going to the toilet).

Farouk Martin, Rondevlei Park, Mitchell’s Plain

My tip is that you need to mulch your garden. This will save water as it will not evaporate. You can mulch with organic material such as bark, compost, etc, or with stones.