Cape Town - While Capetonians are trying their best to become even more water savvy as Day Zero nears, the country as a whole is learning from the Mother City on how to avoid a Day Zero situation by starting to use water more wisely.
With many tips and tricks being shared online on how to make the most of current Level 6b restrictions that limits residents and visitors in Cape Town to 50ltrs per person per day, we turn to age-old traditions and new inventions in the camping sphere to assist with water saving efforts.
ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Day Zero has been moved, now what?
Here are some camping items and practices that can be used every day ahead of Day Zero to keep water usage at a minimum.
Water saving manual washing machine
You’re probably raising an eyebrow at the thought of a manual washing machine. However, this nifty device – although only able to wash a few items of clothing at a time compared to your standard washing machine – uses little water and no electricity.
There are many brands of water-saving washing machines, so make sure you research the one that best suits the capacity required for you and your family. Here we’ve found the Sputnik Wonder Wash Pressure Washing Machine that takes up to 2.2kg of washing and uses about 6 litres of water per wash in a 2-minute manual spin.
It takes 2 – 3 minutes of turning the handle to do a wash – although you can turn it for as long as you see fit. The grey water from the machine can be easily collected and re-used in your toilet cistern.
Check it out:
ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: How will I flush my toilet after 'Day Zero'?
Water purifying tablets and drops
Water purifying tablets such as Aquatabs are effervescent tablets used to kill micro-organisms in water to prevent water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and others.
These tablets come in different sizes for various volumes of water, from 1 litre to 2 500 litres.
ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: How to secure safe drinking water after Day Zero
Similar water purifying tablets are also available from camping and outdoor gear stores such as Cape Union Mart.
While they are usually used when going on long camping trips and outdoor adventures, these tablets are used in emergency situations and also in households that do not have access to safe drinking water – such as when Day Zero hits and water collected from various sources may not be the best drinking quality.
There are also water purifier drops that can be used to quickly purify water and ensure its safe for drinking.
Personal straw water filter
When Day Zero hits and you’re using water from collections points other than your home’s tap, ensure that drinking water is filtered and free from contamination with a filter straw.
Similar to water purifying drops and tablets, these are used by campers, backpackers and in emergency situations, and is ideal for everyday use to ensure safe drinking water.
Camp shower or water saving shower head
A camp shower is a bag of water that needs to be elevated, and attached to it is a device that allows water to squirt out like a mini-shower. For campers, this product usually comes as a solar-heated bag to ensure you have warm showers. Some bags store up to 20 litres - enough water for 3 - 4 showers.
This device can be bought at a camping store to assist with water reduction at bath time, but if you prefer your 90-second municipal water shower, be sure to fit a water-saving shower head to reduce water use. And remember to keep bath-time short yet effective!
Wet wipes are no longer just for babies. From ideal in-flight carry-on items to help you freshen up during and after your flight, to providing water-saving personal hygiene during a drought, wet wipes have become a modern-day staple for daily living.
ALSO SEE: Long-haul travel: 9 must-have items for smooth travels
Use the wipes to clean your hands after visiting the toilet (dispose in a bin, not the toilet bowl). Or you can even use the special larger-sized wipes to freshen up when Day Zero hits.
Waterless hand sanitiser
Similar to wet wipes, this must-have-in-your-bag invention is ideal for quick-cleansing of your hands before or after meals, as well as after toilet breaks (make sure you have the stronger quality brand for this).
Dry hair shampoo or 2-in-1 shampoo
A life-saver for all those people who are trying their best to maintain good hair days throughout the #WaterCrisis, these two hair care products come to the rescue.
Dry hair shampoo such as TRESemmé’s Instant Refresh translucent dry shampoo refreshes hair without the use of water. Suitable for all hair colours, it absorbs oil, giving hair a fresh look and leaves no powdery residue.
However, you can’t use dry hair shampoo indefinitely and will need to wash your hair – even if not as regularly as pre-water crisis days. In this instance, opt for 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners so you save on multiple rinses after washing separately with shampoo and conditioner.
Capetonians should be all too familiar with the phrase “if its yellow let it mellow” – and if you haven’t heard it before it basically means don’t flush if you're only having a pee. However, urine and its stench isn’t hygienic, so use a spray bottle with water and Thetford Aqua Rinse to keep your toilet smelling fresh and a bit cleaner until the next flush.
Also use a spray bottle when washing dishes to prevent wastage of water when rinsing soapy dishes.
ALSO SEE: This whole family of 4 + their 3 pets only use 49 Litres of water for the day! Here’s how…
Paper plates and cups
Use paper plates and polystyrene cups if possible to avoid washing too many dishes. The same goes for cutlery where you can use disposable cutlery, chopsticks or eat with your fingers and wash off with hand sanitiser.
Bonus tips for meal-time: Cook one-pot meals such as stir fry and curries – avoid pastas and dishes that require a lot of boiling and use of many utensils. Cook on braai or fire for easy cleaning that uses less water. Quench thirst with beer or wine!
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