Residents find innovative ways to save water

Hettie Felaar, 64, of Rocklands is pictured in front of her grey water pipe which she uses to water her garden.

Mitchell’s Plain residents are using innovative ways to save water as Level 3b water restrictions are enforced across the province from today, Wednesday February 1.

At the weekend, levels of the Wemmershoek Dam and the Berg River dam were at 37 percent and 50 percent capacity respectively.

Rocklands couple Avril and William Isaacs have transformed their barren backyard into a lush garden while still managing to conserve water.

Sandi Lewis, a trainer for Soil For Life, said the couple attended the organisation’s three-month programme where they were taught how to sow seeds; dig trenches; plant in containers; vertical planting as well as how to make organic pesticides and they were also shown how to harvest their crops.

“The course accommodates 15 to 20 people at a time and they host sessions at various members of the group’s homes each week.”

The pair started growing their own vegetables after seeing a What’s On notice in the Plainsman in March last year placed by Soil For Life about cultivating gardens at home.

Ms Isaacs said that her husband, a recovering alcoholic, had “become a changed man” since he started flexing his green fingers.

They have grown tomatoes, spinach, beetroot, brinjals, spring onions, basil, broccoli, broad beans and potatoes.

Mr Isaacs has also been filling and storing two-litre plastic bottles with grey water from his washing machine, bath, basin and sink since July last year which has resulted in a drop in his water bill from R900 a month to less than R20 a month.

Hettie Felaar of Rocklands and her husband Cornelius, are collecting grey water from their washing machine and using it to water their garden.

Ms Felaar also took part in the Soil for Life programme and went from planting flowers to vegetables which has helped to decrease her monthly food bill.

“It’s more affordable to eat from my own garden than buy vegetables at the supermarket,” she said.

Mr Felaar said residents should take the water restrictions seriously. “We also collect the rain water when it rains. I think the water restrictions are justified,” he said.

“I have a grey water pipe running through to the backyard which I use to water the garden. I also have a 1 000-litre water tank, in the backyard, which I also use to store water.”

Pensioner Arief Adams, who lives at the CPOA Yvonne Parfitt Place in Westridge, also started his garden after completing the Soil For Life programme.

“I garden to keep myself occupied. I save water by placing a bucket in the shower to collect excess water which I then place in five-litre plastic containers.”

The City’s Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg, urged residents at the start of the week that water consumption is again above the collective water usage target of 800 million litres a day.

“At usage levels of 807 million litres, we are still seven million litres above the daily water usage target, irrespective of the recent rainfall that has been experienced. I warn residents not to feel emboldened by our recent rainfall. This is not the time to relax your efforts and to become complacent.

“We need those great water ambassadors out there to continue to work with us and to save water.”

She said during this time of drought, the area-based Mayco members would engage with the 20 000 high water consumers to bring culprits to book.

Call Sandi Lewis of Soil For Life on 073 159 2128 to learn more about the three-month course.

To report contraventions of the water restrictions, residents can contact the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089, send an SMS to 31373, or send an email to or