Welcome to the ih blog.
My name is Margaux, a 20 year old intern from Belgium. I arrived here about two months ago. I appreciate the earth and the environment, but I wouldn’t say I ever counted how many liters of drinkable water I use per day. That’s why a maximum of 50 liters a day seemed like a very vague and intangible restriction. After two months I’ve gotten a hold of life within these restriction and give some more information to all of you who are wondering about this topic.
As a school that hosts a lot of students from all over the world, we often get questions relating to the water crisis that is currently hitting Cape Town. A lot of students are concerned that life here will be very hard to adjust to, and that we have to deal with unlivable situations daily. I’m not going to lie, I was in the same situation as many of you, listening to the media and expecting the worst. Luckily, I’ve been having the time of my life the last two months, and I’m clearly still alive and well. In this blogpost I will give my experience on living with the water restrictions, and some tips and tricks to get used to it as soon as possible.
Before I came here my perception was that I would have to go get water down the road to drink, shower, do dishes etc. I couldn’t even imagine what my daily hygienic routine would look like. Luckily there are only a few things in your routine you’ll have to change up to be a water saver while staying healthy and happy in Cape Town.
Now that I’ve been here for a while, I can honestly tell you that living in the water crisis is not as hard as it is depicted by the media. The only thing that really changes is the thought and the care you develop for the earth and the environment. Otherwise the changes you’ll have to make are small, logical things, like taking a quick shower instead of a long soak.
If the water crisis is keeping you from coming here to enjoy the beauty of Cape Town, don’t be scared! Underneath you can find a list of all the things you’ll have to change up in your daily and weekly routine, and as you’ll notice as you read along, these are small and easy changes that you will get used to in no time.
First of all; the shower time is restricted to about 2 minutes per day. If you’re like me and don’t mind taking a cowboy shower at the sink every other day, this means you earned yourself a slightly longer shower the next day! If you don’t wash your hair every day and close the tap while soaping yourself, a two minute shower is all you need.
What you maybe didn’t realize before, is that every time we flush the toilet, there is a good 10 to 15 liters of drinkable water going to waste, so what to do about it? The best thing is to let your small bathroom visits mellow in the water, without flushing. All of the restaurants and bars in Cape Town even hang up posters to encourage this! Of course your bigger ones can be flushed away immediately. At home, you can shower with a bucket in between your legs, to later fill up the basin of the toilet, or to flush manually, some houses are even equipped with a water saver toilet flusher that only flushes about 3 to 5 liters, or a grey water system that connects the shower drain to the toilet.
Other small things like washing hands can be done by using sanitizer, and during teethbrushing and shaving, you can use a cup of water instead of letting the water run.
The hardest thing for me to adjust to was doing the dishes. For the dishes you can use a bucket with just the slightest bit of water and soap, and if necessary a second bucket to give them a final rinse. Obviously you can also fill up your sink instead of a bucket, but this is the way my house owner thought me, so she can then water the plants with the dish water. When it’s time to wash your clothes, it’s best to wait until you have a full load, and you’re advised to only wash about once a week. Other household tasks like cleaning can be done by using alternative products, try to minimalize cleaning with water.
I hope this blog answered some of your questions. Don’t be afraid to contact us if you’re still wondering about some other things regarding the water crisis.
Get more information from the City of Cape Town: click here