By: Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand

Water is the word on everyone’s lips as the Western Cape braces itself for the arrival of #DayZero

The drought crisis has sparked both a political war of words, with blame being assigned to everyone from government to the weather gods themselves, and an inspiration for locals to develop new and creative ways to prevent the onset of disaster.

Although many may argue that the onus is on governmental organisations to steer the country in the right direction, the reality is that each of us has the power to reduce pressure on the water grid, simply by employing savvy water-saving techniques.

Here are seven easy ways to delay the day the taps run dry, and to help you prepare for this eventuality, should it occur:

1. Keep the showers short

Bathing has long been seen as a faux pas by Capetonians, but even showers are coming under scrutiny as the crisis worsens. One minute under the shower head should be enough to cover your basic needs and make sure to catch all the run-off in a bucket, to be used to flush your toilet. Aim to limit showers to one a day.

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2. Stock up

The sad reality is that being water-wise isn’t cheap, but you may have to put aside a few extra rands in the coming months to prevent being without our most precious natural resource. Stock up on bottled water (ensure that it’s not produced in the Western Cape), and buy paper plates and hand sanitisers to avoid additional water usage. Extra buckets and wheelie bins will come in handy when the rains eventually do come, enabling you to capitalise on any unexpected showers by creating a surplus.

3. Recycle

Grey water (sourced from washing machines, dishwashers and showers), can be effectively used in your household to reduce your overall impact on the water grid. By implementing grey water systems and attaching pipes to all run-off points, you’ll be able to stock up on water that can be used for general cleaning and flushing.

4. Check for leaks

You might be wasting water without even knowing it! Leaks are commonplace, particularly in toilets, and by identifying and rectifying the problem quickly, you’ll be better equipped to save. If you find any inexplicable costs on your water bill, call in a plumber to perform a full audit of your water systems.

Preventing Day Zero is up to us, and it’s time to get used to what authorities are calling the ‘new normal’

5. Use appliances wisely

Appliances like washing machines and dishwashers can be great guzzlers of water, so it’s best to ensure that you keep usage to a minimum, or do it by hand. When washing dishes, make sure the machine is set to ‘eco’ mode, and set it on a half-load cycle where necessary. More water-economic hand-washing machines are also widely available, which use significantly less water.

Read more: How to keep clothes clean during a water shortage 

6. Braai more

Summer’s still in full swing, so make use of the great outdoors and save water in the process. By using paper plates and wiping down your braai between uses, you’ll save plenty of dishwashing water, and give yourself a good excuse to enjoy evenings around an open fire.

7. Water less

Brown lawns have become something of a status symbol of late, but it needn’t be the case. Keep maintenance to a minimum by investing in ground cover solutions like synthetic grass, or using mulch to maximise water uptake. Removing invasive plants will also help you to keep water use to a minimum.

Preventing Day Zero is up to us, and it’s time to get used to what authorities are calling the ‘new normal’. By getting creative with your water use, you’ll be able to help avert disaster and maintain quality of life in the process.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).