What would you do if you were told you only have one litre of water to use each day?
One litre means about two or three sachets of ‘pure water’.
No one is talking about how you will bathe, or use the toilet, or wash your clothes. Because you would have to sort yourself out.
So, take a moment to think about what you would do.
This is the reality of many people in the world. It’s easy for us to maintain indifference, because we’re not in the category of people who find it difficult to get water, not to talk of getting clean drinking water.
The earth surface consists of 71% water and 29% land. 97% of that water is found in oceans – which are too salty to drink or grow crops. This leaves humans with just 3% of the fraction to survive.
Water sustainability is a topic of global concern, as the supply and consumption of this natural resource are unequal.
It is the most prized natural resource on earth; a human being can go days without food, but not without water.
About 1 billion people in Africa do not have access to clean, potable water, and this keeps them in a cycle of ill health and poverty.
Several factors affect the availability of water, such as climate change, pollution, increased demand, overuse and wasteful use.
We should consider it a great privilege that we do not have to travel long distances before we fetch water, or ration our intake. Contrary to beliefs, not everybody in urban centres has access to clean water, and some rural areas have it worse.
It is expected that water as a utility should be provided by the government of any state, city or township, through waterworks, but many have resorted to digging private or communal boreholes to solve the problem of water availability.
Yet again, not everyone can afford to dig a borehole and get clean water.
Here are 10 helpful tips to conserve water.
- Take shorter showers:
An average shower takes five to ten minutes and consumes between 5 and ten gallons of water each minute. You can turn on your shower only when you start, in the middle, and when you want to rinse your body, instead of leaving it on throughout.
- Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth and while shaving
You don’t need to keep the tap running while you spit into the sink. If you can, fill a cup with water and place it beside you, that way you don’t use more than you need.
Shaving is an important part of grooming for both males and females. You can conserve water by filling a container with water for your grooming needs. It gives the same results.
- If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
You can fetch the water in a bowl or basin, and rinse after washing the dishes. This way you avoid using excess water to do the task.
- Use your washer and dishwasher for full loads,
Your washer will use the same amount of water to wash 1kg of clothes, as it will use to wash 7kg. washing in bits will ensure that you repeat a cycle for a process that can be done once.
- Don’t leave the water running while you wash your car,
you can fetch water in a pail when you soap down your car and use a hose when you want to rinse or apply pressure to caked dirt in your tires.
- Caution children not to play with taps or hoses
Children have no limits when it comes to playing, or expending their energy, a tap with running water can spark their creativity. You can caution them by educating them on the importance of conserving water and providing more economic ways for them to play.
- Check for leaking pipes and faucets
When pipes leak, water wastes. It might not be a burden because it is not causing discolouration in your house or on your walls, but it means you will have to pump water more often than you usually do; which in turn means you spend more on electricity than you should.
- Use a broom to clean your driveway, sidewalk or steps,
instead of pouring countless pails of water on the ground, use a hard broom to clean your environment. This makes the ground safer to walk on, avoid slips and ultimately injuries while conserving water.
- Catch rainwater.
Rainwater saves up to 5,000 litres of water a year. If you have an empty container, you can make use of rainwater to run recurrent household chores and sanitation needs.
- Avoid food wastage.
Prepare and eat only as much as you need. Water makes up for 92 per cent of agricultural products every year, and dumping it in the trash is not a good way to appreciate the efforts put into making food available.
These are steps we can take that will not force a change in our lifestyle, but help us to live with more empathy, as well as educate others on the need to use water with compassion.