Over the past few years, South Africa has experienced its worst drought in three decades. Cape Town narrowly avoided Day Zero, when the taps were set to run dry, and that’s been a wake-up call to many South Africans to better steward our precious water resources. With South Africa being listed as the 39th driest country in the world, we all need to do our bit.

Here are five ways you can play your part:

  1. Check and check again for leaks: Up to 37% of South Africa’s water supply is lost due to leaks. Check taps and pipes for leaks. To make doubly sure you have no leaks, switch off your water at the mains and check your water metre. If it’s still ticking over, you have a leak somewhere.
  2. Choose a decent dishwasher: It sounds counterintuitive, but modern dishwashers with good energy ratings actually use far less water and power than washing dishes by hand. In fact, if a dishwasher is Energy Star rated, it can use less than half the energy as hand-washing and only 11 litres of water for a full load. New leading dishwashers designed for home connectivity can also be activated remotely, making it easy to wash during non-peak hours, which saves on peak energy tariffs too.

If you have an ancient dishwasher, on the other hand, the older technology may be less far less efficient, and in need of an upgrade. For example, dishwashers from pre-1994 can use up to 45 litres of water per load.

  1. Use tap aerators: High-efficiency tap aerators attached to the spout of existing basin taps can save between 45 and 65% of water, cutting flow substantially.
  2. Put a brick in the loo cistern: This gives you the same flush pressure, but uses substantially less water per flush.
  3. Put cooking and washing water to good use: Use the water from your washing machine or from boiling or steaming vegetables to water the plants. Make sure you choose a biodegradable washing detergent and that you allow cooking water to cool before reusing.