Cape Town is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, inhabitants have been urged to drastically reduce water usage or Day Zero – the day when no water will pour from the taps – will be upon us as soon as May 2018. The city has stipulated that everyone needs to use less than 87 litres per day and introduce water saving measures wherever possible.
As a sustainable company, we had already been practising water saving measures such as collecting drinking water from the natural spring in Newlands, which is not too far from our office, and being water-wise when it came to running the taps.
But now, due to the drought that is affecting the Western Cape, we have decided to implement even more water saving measures with the goal to go completely go off-the-grid and be self-sustainable when it comes to water usage.
One of the ways we have done this is by altering the plumbing throughout the building so that it uses collected rainwater, this is the water we use for flushing loos and washing. When it comes to flushing we also have “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” policy. While there is a drought, we have been fortunate to have quite a bit of rain recently (just not in the much-needed catchment areas) this means that we have a good amount of water in our rainwater collection containers. The used water from the washing machine goes into another container and then this is re-used for washing the vehicles. We have also connected to a well point by our office that other neighbouring buildings are using as well. This is an extra source of water and means that we do not need to rely on water from the city’s overburdened reservoirs.
While this drought is devastating and we are all hoping for rain soon, the slight silver lining of this dark cloud is that people are becoming accustomed to using water saving measures in their daily life, habits that we hope they keep long after the drought is over!