As the water crisis in the Western Cape reaches increasingly worrying stages, it’s become evident that #DayZero is almost inevitable. As a result of this South Africans have been sharing advice on how to coordinate the change in lifestyle that some will be facing – a lifestyle that, as many have pointed out, has been the norm for the majority of South Africans for generations. The Daily Vox compiled a list of useful advice for people undergoing the lifestyle shift that goes along with not having easy access to large amounts of clean water.
2. Collect all water used for washing, laundry and bathing. Buckets around the house should be a norm. Use this (grey water) to fill up your toilet cisterns or elsewhere for gardening purposes.
3. Where possible, seriously consider a rainwater harvesting system. While some of these can be more complex systems, it is also possible to simply arrange for a large container with water catchments feeding into it. Even a few hours of rain can add additional litres for individual and communal usage.
4. If you have an effective rainwater harvesting system – consider opening it up to communal use for your community. In times of scarcity, community solidarity fosters collective well being.
5. Dry shampoo and locally developed dry bath options were created specifically considering water shortages globally.
6. When #DayZero hits – as it inevitably will – a change in mindset which necessitates consideration for others in your community will have to be adopted. Think about the elderly around you and engage on possible schedules for collecting water together via carpooling.
7. Consider digging a communal or personal pit latrine if you own a plot of land. Such system are used throughout South Africa.
8. While there’s still water flowing from taps, get used to bathing with a bucket, sponge and cup – if you grew up in a rural area, farm, township or experienced this as a child, this isn’t anything new for you. If this is new for you, practise minimising the amount of water you use so that nothing is wasted.
9. A compost or sawdust toilet are also viable, environmentally friendly, clean and non-smelly options if done correctly. There are local artisans in Cape Town who make and sell these, but you can also make one yourself.
10. Biodegradable paper plates and paper cups for desperate times.
11. A solution of vinegar and water or Stay-Soft and water gets rid of odour if you spray clothes and hang up to air . When drying, vinegar dissipates completely removing household odors as it does.
12. Stock up on non-perishables and canned food that can be eaten directly from tins.
13. If using toilet for just peeing, throw toilet paper away and not in toilet (in a separate lined bin that’s cleaned daily). This will cut down on backing up of toilet paper in the toilet allowing you to extend time between flushes with grey water. In many countries, such as Brazil, it is already the norm that used toilet paper are put into bathroom waste bins which are then sealed and disposed of.
14. Baking soda can control toilet paper odours if throwing toilet paper away.
15. Fill toilet cistern with water rather than pour into toilet, use grey water collected from bathing, laundry and washing eating utensils for this. Use vinegar in the toilet and drains to help with any odours and bacteria.
16. Eat straight from the braai, pot or pan that you cooked in – minimise things that need washing.
17. Line plates with plastic so you can peel off plastic and have clean plates.
18. You can use apple cider vinegar to naturally deodorize your armpits and go without bathing.
19. If you do have to wash plates, pans, cutlery, etc, wipe residual food off with paper towel, to make water less dirty and thus reusable.
20. Collect all water used for washing, laundry and bathing wherever possible. Use this (grey water) to fill up your toilet cisterns or elsewhere for gardening purposes.
21. Clean counters with disposable wipes where possible.
If you would like to learn more about saving water, the City of Cape Town has more info here.
Featured image via Flickr