Teaching tots to save water

Sibongile Mxabo and Noma Balman are pictured with pupils at Nomas Baby Care in Samora Machel last week.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in Mitchell’s Plain and surrounds are promoting the saving of water among their pupils as the drought in the province continues.

The City of Cape Town implemented Level 4 water restrictions last week.

Principal of Noma’s Baby Care in Samora Machel, Noma Balman, said they use a minimal amount of water and even reuse the grey water.

“We make small holes at the top of plastic two-litre bottles and use that to rinse the hands of our pupils. I also re-use dishwashing water to water the garden and clean the floors.

“This water crisis is very scary because I am a diabetic and I almost fainted on a hot day recently. Water was the only thing that helped me to feel better. If we run out of water in the province, I don’t know how I will manage my chronic illness,” she said.

Principal of the Potter’s Kids Academy in Rondevlei, Amanda Williams, said the drought is very sad.

“We, however, have to adapt and teach our children to do so too. Water-saving measures is not a new thing for me as I grew up poor which is why I am very aware of wastage. Due to my upbringing I learnt to appreciate the big and the small things and not take anything for granted.”

Ms Williams shared some of her water-saving measures.

“I turn off the water in the cistern of the toilet and we only flush when necessary and that is at the teacher’s discretion. At the end of February we asked parents to give their children two- litre bottles to bring to the creche. We sometimes use the water in the garden when necessary. We don’t use running water from the tap at all. At home, we wash in a bucket and use that water to also water the garden.”

In a bid to save water she also only cleans floors on a Friday. “At home, I tell my children to wash their odds and ends in their bath water.”

Ms Williams said the proof is in the pudding and showed the Plainsman last month’s water bill.

It revealed that she only consumed 0.276kl of water each day and her water bill came to R33.07.

She also awarded her pupils with certificated as an incentive to bring more bottles of water to school.

Michael Damon, 5, brought a whopping 350 bottles of grey water to school and received a gold star. In second place was Mvuyo Ndika, 4, who walked away with a silver star.

Principal of Little Doves Educare in Rocklands, Marcia Fortuin, makes use of grey water to keep her water bill low. “To save water we use hand sanitiser on our pupils instead of water and soap and we encourage parents to bring along baby wipes,” she said.

Principal of L A Tiny Tots Educare in Eastridge, Lena Africa said, their water-saving measures also included the use of hand santiser; bottled water and baby wipes.

Her campaign centres on the principle that saving water makes sense.

Principal of Little Flowers Day and Aftercare in Portland, Marcia Williams, also makes use of grey water around the centre. In addition to this, she encourages her pupils to be water wise.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said in a press statement last week that in line with Level 4 restrictions, water pressure is being lowered to the point where supply interruptions in higher-lying areas of the City’s supply zones will be experienced for short periods during the day.

Ms Limberg said residents should aim to consume less than 100 litres a person each day.

“Key to reaching this level is ensuring that showers do not run for more than two minutes a person, toilets are flushed only when absolutely necessary and with grey water, and all internal plumbing and plumbing fixtures are checked for leaks. One leaking toilet wastes between 2 600 and 13 000 litres of water a month, depending on the flow rate of the leak.”

According to Level 4 water restrictions:

No irrigation or watering with municipal drinking water is allowed;

Private swimming pools may not be topped up or filled with municipal drinking water, even if they have a cover;

Commercial car washes may apply for an exemption which will only be granted if wash water is recycled or waterless products are used;

Water features may not use municipal drinking water;

No hosing down of paved surfaces with municipal drinking water is allowed; and

The use of portable play pools is prohibited.