January 23

12 Tips For Saving Water In Cape Town

By Emma Thomson on
January 23, 2018

There’s been a bit of a dry spell plaguing Cape Town and the Western Cape of late. Our precious water is running out and Day Zero approaches like a specter in the night. It is not all doom and gloom though, we here at Rhino Africa have several tips for you to save water and prolong the life of this priceless resource.

1. Embrace the Military Style Shower 

This classic ‘soap and save’ method means turning on the shower, dancing around to get wet and switching it off again whilst you lather up your hair singing along to your favourite song – we all do it, no judgement. Once you’re all foamy, switch the shower on again, rinse and repeat for your conditioner and body wash.

2. Hand Sanitiser and Cream 

Invest in some nice-smelling, non-sticky water-less hand sanitiser to save from having to use potable water and soap. As magical as this invention is, it does have the tendency to dry out your hands after a while so we recommend finding some lovely – or manly and unscented – hand cream to keep the moisture levels of your skin up.

3. Dry Shampoo 

We all know how great it is to have freshly washed, great smelling hair, however, given the water crisis, perhaps prolong the time between washes and whip out some dry shampoo and scented hair spray.

4. Grey Water Washing

Whether it’s yours, or a rental, after some obligatory road trips your vehicle is likely to need a good wash – especially if some dirt roads found their way into your journey. Instead of using a hosepipe, or even bucket, rather take it to a car wash that makes use of non-potable water, not only will you be supporting a local business but saving water along the way.

5. Washing Water 

By using biodegradable, eco-friendly detergents to wash your clothes and then collecting the remaining grey water, you can water any thirsty plants in the garden. Be sure to only do this once the water has cooled down or your plants may be rather unhappy.

6. Buckets, Buckets, Buckets

At this stage, it’s important to be collecting any water, any way possible. Having a bucket in your shower means any water caught before the hot water has come through, and whilst you shower, can be collected and find another use around the house. A small basin in the sink is also a great way of collecting any water coming from the taps before it reaches washing temperatures – this will be perfectly good drinking water so store it up any way you can!

7. Make Clothes Last Longer

If clothes have been lightly worn, don’t put them in the wash bin, instead whip up a solution of vinegar, water and fabric softener, give the clothes a light spray and hang them up to air.

8. Wipes Aren’t Just For Babies 

These are your water-saving best friends. If you’ve been out and feeling a little grimy, but haven’t participated in perspiration-causing activities, instead of hopping in the shower, a quick once over with a baby wipe will still leave you feeling fresh.

9. Cooking Alternatives

Although boiled veggies can be delicious, the amount of water needed to do so is not ideal at the moment. Instead, consider using a steamer as it requires a much lower level of water in order to be effective. Bonus points – the water can easily be reused to water those thirsty flowers in the garden.

10. Yellowing And Mellowing 

This phrase seems to be everywhere at the moment – and rightly so! Although grey water can be used to flush, try and prolong the ‘mellow’ time by using products such as ‘Wee Pong’ to break down ammonia and leave your loo fresh and hygienic.

11. Leftover Life

In order to reduce the overall amount of water being used, make meals that leave a fair amount of leftovers, not only does this mean you’ll use less water, but it gives the cooks of the household a well-deserved break.

12. Paper Versus Water 

Paper plates seem like a great alternative to using and washing crockery, however, they’re not overly eco-friendly – unless used to start a fire or stoke the braai after eating. A great alternative is to make up a bottle of rinse free dish soap and water, spray and wipe down lightly dirtied dishes. For heartier meals that this can’t be used for, try and stack the dishwasher to the absolute brim – in the majority of cases, this in fact uses less water than washing in the sink.

If everyone does their bit to reduce water consumption to less than 50 litres a day, we can postpone Day Zero. For updates and more information, click here to visit the City of Cape Town website.


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About the author 

Emma Thomson

South African born and bred Emma says she's happy to be back on home ground after spending a few years in the UK. An avid coffee lover, equestrian enthusiast and self-proclaimed cat lady, Emma hopes to travel and experience as many cultures, countries and food types as possible. A love affair with language sees her wanting to continue writing and learn as many foreign languages as possible.

  • This is such a brilliant and helpful article and I would very much like to share it on Facebook so my friends in Cape Town as well as Zimbabwe can see it. I am sure they will find it extremely useful.

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