Water usage spikes by 5%

Like many things in life, the weather is unpredictable and to ward off Day Zero, when the taps will run dry, the winter rains must fall, and hard.

In the meantime, we must continue to save every drop but it seems some residents have eased their efforts to beat the drought.

Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson issued a statement on Monday to say water usage had spiked by 5% to 542 million litres a day.

Collective consumption over the past week was 542 million litres of water a day, up from an average of 516 million litres a week before. Dam levels have declined a further 0.5% to 20.9%. The City said the fall in dam levels could be attributed to environmental influences such as higher temperature and evaporation, but also an increase in usage by residents.

“Although the majority of our water users are doing their best to lower usage to 50 litres per day, there may be some whose usage still fluctuate according to the weather,” said Mr Neilson.

“We need to reduce our total consumption to 450 million litres per day to keep within the allocation provided to the City by the National Department of Water and Sanitation. This requires individuals to use no more than 50 litres a day,” he said.

One wonders whether some people are no longer worried about saving water because Day Zero, and the threat of having to queue for water, has been put off until next year.

On my home-front, my container garden is a diamond in the rough. I have basil and mint growing. I have also taken to putting vegetable peels and food scraps in a heap, where I can pour excess grey water.

I look forward to collecting my free composting bin from my local council office at the weekend.

I may also need another bucket to collect and reuse water. I already have two five-litre buckets. I hope the price of buckets have settled down after the last mad rush for water containers.

My family has been fortunate to able to collect water at Newlands spring. This water is used to do the laundry.

I have also found more uses for my spray bottle, like rinsing dishes and cleaning up small spills. There are no more uneasy silences in conversations when friends and family speak about not flushing the toilet.

The old “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” has become the phrase that pays in the true sense of the word, as we try to save every cent from being siphoned off through the water bill.

There are capped bottles and two 5-litre buckets (with lids) of grey water in the toilet for guests to use to flush.

The council’s flooding and storms task team has completed its annual flood risk assessment.

They recommend that homeowners clear the gutters of debris like leaves; ensure roofs and chimneys are waterproofed; trim tree branches that could potentially fall and cause damage or injury; have chimneys and fireplaces cleaned as accumulated debris could pose a fire hazard; and ensure that personal and building insurance is up to date.