Did you know that South Africa is the 39th driest country in the world and that we have less water per person than Namibia due to our large population? We live in a dry country and have spent the last few years trying to manage a prolonged drought, that has affected many provinces in our country and is still being experienced in certain areas. Even with recent rains, most of the dams in South Africa remain only 75% full. cThe seriousness of a severe drought was highlighted recently when Cape Town was unable to supply water to all its citizens. The first time this has happened to a city of this size anywhere in the world. However, as South Africans, we all came together and made the adjustments that were needed, and the crisis was averted.
As citizens of this water-strapped country, we all need to play our part and become water intelligent, starting with educating our children. Children are our future and need to have understanding and respect for all our natural resources. By instilling an awareness of environmental issues, we can develop a society of caring ‘Water Warriors’ who not only take water conservation seriously, but have ingrained in them a passion for caring for our earth which will impact their future and that of future generations.
How as parents can we do this?
Children learn through constant repetition and actions are fixed into long term memory by physically doing the activity. So get them involved with your water saving programme! Make it exciting, with positive reinforcement and always ‘practice what you preach’!
Play your part, be ‘WATER SMART’!
Here are some tips to begin your water saving programme and turn your family into Water Warriors!
Tips for the bathroom:
- Make a 4 minute shower (30 litres) instead of a bath (80 litres). (Save 400 litres per week!) Better still, shower with a bucket and save all the water to flush your toilet or water plants.
- Turn off the tap while soaping hands, shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Always check taps and toilets for leaks. (a leaking toilet can waste 100 000 litres per year!)
- Install a water saving toilet or place a cistern displacement device (i.e. a brick, plastic bottle) to reduce the volume of each flush. (12 litres wasted for every flush!)
Tips for the garden:
- Plant indigenous plants as they save water.
- Install a water tank on to your drainpipes and use that to water the garden, wash the car, clean windows and top up the swimming pool. (save up to 5 000 litres a year!)
- Water the garden with a watering can and always do this early in the morning or at dusk to prevent evaporation and water loss.
Tips in general:
- Always use full loads in the washing and dishwashing machines
- Invest in water efficient goods and appliances.
- Only fill the kettle with enough water to make your cup of tea, etc.
- Educate your whole family, big or small, as well as helpers working in the home and garden.
Jill Searle (Primary School Teacher)