Water crisis: It’s all up to you

Above: Brenden Sivparsad, the municipality’s acting manager for Water and Sanitation

Surviving the drought and having the luxury of running water from your tap in the next few months all depends on how much water you, as the consumer, save on a daily basis.
The Msunduzi municipality has appealed to its customers to use water sparingly, as this will enable the city to negotiate its toughest winter in many years.
Brenden Sivparsad, the municipality’s acting manager for Water and Sanitation said that water levels had reached critical stages.
“There is no doubt that if all our residents cut down on the water consumption there would be enough not only for households and industry, but there would not be any need for cuts,” said Sivparsad.
He added that reducing consumption would not mean drastic changes in lifestyle.
“People will still meet all their hygienic requirements in the process, so there is no need for people to panic about this,” he said.
Aside from residential areas, government centers such as schools, prisons, hospitals are required to save water as a means to avoid water shedding.
By August this year all of the households in Pietermaritzburg will have water restricting washers inserted as part of the strategy to cut water wastage in the municipal area. As part of the water saving plan the municipality has approved a multi-million budget for fixing of ageing infrastructure.
Sivparsad also appealed to residents to save water and to report any leaks at the call center.
He said the department was pleased with the public’s response to the use of water restriction washers that have been rolled out in areas such Thamboville and Copesville.
“We have been able to attend to 987 homes and 2808 leaks were identified and fixed and we have seen the water consumption dropping by almost half,” said Sivparsad, who indicated that Ashdown was next in line for the rollout of the washers.
• Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – this can save 6 litres of water per minute.
• Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush. You can get one of these from your water provider.
Take a shorter shower. Shower can use anything between 6 and 45 litres per minute.
• Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher – this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.
• Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year.
Install a water butt to your drainpipe and use the water collected to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows.
• Water your garden with a watering can rather than a hosepipe. A hosepipe uses 1,000 litres of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.
• Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge. This will mean you do not have to leave the cold tap running for the water to run cold before you fill your glass.
Install a water meter. When you’re paying your utility provider for exactly how much water you use, laid out in an itemised bill, there’s an incentive to waste less of the stuff.
• Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now buy water-efficient showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products.

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