At Metal Windows we pride ourselves on being eco friendly, from keeping our Kombi vans running for literally 10’s of years, to re-using 2litre cooldrink bottles to mix up our waterproofing additive mix. We use a minimum amount of water to clean windows after installation. We use grey water instead of tap water for mixing and cleaning. We stopped washing our vans, many months back, a dry wipe down is the new clean. Small changes in your daily life allow you to save a lot of water, multiply that by all the people in your family; your office; your school and your community and we can make a huge difference and postpone or avoid day zero entirely.
There are three sources of water. Municipal water, grey water and rain water. When it does rain (not often these days), we can harvest and store the water. I spend a lot of time looking at the weather forecasts. This rainy cloud icon is now my favourite image.
Practically what can you do to save water and not break the budget doing so? These are the measures that our Metal Windows CEO Larry Forman has put in place, you can too:
Larry purchased 4 plastic drums of (250L capacity each) available from http://www.bg-servers.co.za/ at a low cost of around R350 each. (Tip dark coloured drums discourage the growth of algea). He then purchased connector fittings for gutter down pipes and placed plastic drums below the down pipe spouts – to harvest rain water. Which was great when we had rain. Ok, but, its not raining now, now what?
Larry says, “We’ve cut down our laundry load to three times per week. Washing of linens & towels only every two weeks. Use the laundry water twice or three times”
“Place a large plastic drum next to the washing machine. Take the grey corrugated hose at the back of the washing machine and place it into the drum. When the washing machine pumps out water, it will be harvested in the drum, instead of down the drain. Now, use the washing machine water to a. flush toilets or b. to do hand washing ( the soap really is diluted remember there is a wash and a rinse cycle) or c. feed this water back into the machine to wash your next load – and then when it is pumped out again, use it to flush the toilets or water the garden”.
But, how do you use the washing machine water or shower water to flush the toilets? What if I have a cistern built into the wall? Larry says “Collect 5L bottles from everyone you know. Buy a short length of hose and use it to siphon the washing machine water into the bottles. Pour this water directly into the toilet bowl (If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown – let it drown), One 5L dumped in does a pretty good flush, if necessary, dump in a second bottle”. That’s a saving of 5 -10L per time you don’t flush.
How do I collect other grey water? Collect empty plastic containers. Larry uses Earthsap laundry powder at home, available from (http://bit.ly/2FwIjkQ )which comes in 2kg buckets. (You can also use 1L yogurt containers). He has placed one in every basin and sink. This way you collect hand washing water and any other water in these, instead of letting water run down the drain. Larry says “Place a number of buckets in the shower, (or one big basin to stand in), to collect shower water (remember shower for maximum 1 minute). Alternately, fill a container with fresh water and use this and a wash cloth to wash yourself down, instead of showering, save at least 8-10L” “Wash with body lotion instead of soap, it rinses of easier and is less harsh on the skin than soap if you don’t wash it all off.
Use the same mug, without washing in between, throughout the day, wash at the end of the day. Let your dishes collect in the sink and wash altogether in one basin of soapy water. Use less dish soap and rinse in a container of clean water (as opposed to running water). Tighten your taps after each use, drips waste water. Be water wise, not only during the drought but, always, water is a precious resource, don’t waste it.
If you enjoy this blog post please like and share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and please share your water wise tips with us, we’re always learning.
You can also use a JoJo Tank for rain water or washing machine water harvesting – find them at Builders Warehouse https://www.builders.co.za/search/?text=jo+jo+tanks
Water tanks are expensive and they are hard to get hold of as the high demand has created waiting lists. A good interim measure is rubbish bins around 120L each which you can install at the base of your gutter down pipes.
*** rubbish bin photo
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