Raison D'etre for this site

A compilation of hints and tips on how to handle living in a severe drought scenario. These hints and tips are willingly shared by the people of Cape Town, and are aimed at whoever is in need - now - or in future, in order to ease their stress when faced with water shedding / shortages due to a drought


To find entries about specific subject please either use the search box or click on the appropriate label under the "Labels" section.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Easy Reusable Disinfecting Wipes DIY

Easy Reusable Disinfecting Wipes
Prep Time
10 mins
  • 2 Old T-Shirts I used two women's medium shirts
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dish Soap
  • Airtight Container I used a Glad Tupperware container
  • Lemon or Tea Tree Essential Oil Optional

  1. Cut the t-shirts into washcloth sizes (or any size that you'd like for cleaning)
  2. In the container, mix the three ingredients (water, vinegar, and dish soap) and stir.
  3. Add in the essential oil (optional) and mix thoroughly.
  4. Set the wipes in the container and, if need be, press until the mixture soaks up into all of them.
  5. Seal the container and pull a wipe out whenever you need it.
  6. Once used, toss in the washer and wash then dry as usual and repeat the process.
Recipe Notes
I always have a plethora of old t-shirts with stains or tears so this is a great way to reuse them. If you don't though, you can buy the t-shirt rags from most hardware stores or even just use washcloths.
As for the container, it just needs to seal so the wipes retain the moisture.
You may need to increase or decrease the amount of the mixture you use in the container depending on the size and amount of shirts used. The rags should soak up the entire mixture and be completely damp.
If your wipes start to feel dry overtime, add more of the mixture into the container.
Use Tea Tree or Lemon Essential Oils for added disinfecting properties.

Source: https://www.hellonatureblog.com/easy-reusable-disinfecting-wipes-diy/

DIY well point

The average Capetonian is short on two things: Money and water. Installing a wellpoint appears to require a lot of both of these... But does it have to..?
Let me start by saying I'm in IT, and while I have been known to be somewhat proficient in DIY and get moderate exercise, my brain is my most prized asset i.e. Im not a physical powerhouse by any definition of the word 
After being stood up by a local wellpoint installer, I decided to take matters into my own hands and install my own, but with the aim of spending as little as possible and not using water to drill it. I read up extensively on diy wellpoints, looking for viable solutions and finally ended up buying myself a sand and clay auger with a handle and enough extensions to get down to 6.5m. It took me an hour to hit the water table, another hour to get down to a decent depth into it and probably one more to do the installation. Switched on the pump this morning and lo and behold, we now have a wellpoint 
Some factoids:
- The area is Goodwood, Northern Suburbs
- The drill used was a Burrowman Hand Auger, manufactured and sold by a chap that stays in KZN.
- I surveyed the area by speaking to my neighbours and other residents of the suburb to get an idea on whether they had wellpoints, what the depth was and what yields they were getting. This gave me a pretty decent idea of what to expect. I then picked the greenest corner of my otherwise dead, unwatered garden for the drilling location.
- The ground was sand, followed by a thin hard clay layer, followed by thin light coloured layer, followed by loads of dark brown water bearing sand. I was pulling runny, sandy mud out at the end.
- The water table (i.e. point at which drilling deeper requires drilling under water said sandy mud) was at 2.5m
- The total well depth was 3.5m, 1m below the water table
- The wellscreen was made from 25mm poly pipe (irrigation pipe), some slits cut with a hacksaw and covered with a stocking (lekke tappit)
- The pump is a DAB 102M I got off Gumtree for R500. Hello bargain.
I'm in the process of documenting the entire experience in detail, at which point I'll make it available for download from my website at martipedia.org so you can do the same if you choose. Granted not all areas are created equally, but it's worth a try!
UPDATE: Following many requests, please DM me if you'd like to rent my drill to have a go at drilling your own wellpoint. Its way cheaper than buying one.
Know this people: You can do anything you set your mind to.

Friday, 2 March 2018

DIY rainwater storage

Earlier this morning I posted about alternative ways of catching rainwater - especially for those unable to afford rainwater tanks. 

I now have another proposition / idea for you.

Long term, water scarsity is going to figure prominently in Cape Town - if not South Africa as a country. Going forward everyone will need to become more water self-sufficient and plans need to be made by EVERYONE - NOW - for your futures. Budgeting, making plans and actioning those will stand you in good stead and ensure that you can help yourself to at least provide some of your water.

So, my suggestion is this - build you own rain water container ðŸ˜œ

Option 1: Either budget to buy a couple of cement blocks a month and, when you have enough, make a partially submerged rain water storage tank - as in pic 1.

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Option 2: Alternatively, collect as many plastic bottles (of the same size, naturally) as you can, dig a small-ish / shallowish hole (aim for either a finished structure of approx. 1.0 X 1.0 X 1.0 mtr [ = 1kl storage] or 1.15 (w) X 1.15 (b) X 1.0 (d) mtr [ = 2.25kl storage] in a corner of your garden (where previously you had lawn), and then use that sand you extract from the ground to fill plastic bottles and use them as "bricks - as in pic 2. ( the idea comes from https://insteading.com/blog/plastic-bottle-homes/ )

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Both would obviously need "plastering" inside, as well as the addition of a coat of pond paint to make it watertight. (Pic 1 is going to cost you - not only for the bricks, but also for the cement plaster. Pic 2 option is not going to cost you that much - just mainly for the plaster. Both will cost you some time though ðŸ˜‰
Both "containers" would also need a very secure lid to prevent animals / small children from drowing.
Please note: I am merely supply a concept / idea for an affordable water storage vessel - it is up to you to establish if you are legally allowed to do this.
My last hint is: decide what is going to be your secure lid, and work around that. There is no point in making something that you are unable to fit a secure lid to ðŸ˜‰

Alternative ideas for capturing rainwater

Bemoaning the fact that you can't afford a rainwater tank? That your rainwater can't be captured because of the downpipe, or lack thereof?
Here a two simple ideas to assist you:
Pic 1 - dig a hole in the ground, and line it with builders plastic (gunplas) or a plastic tablecloth you already own. Make sure that you are able to securely cover the hole / water in order to keep animals / children safe)

Pic 2 - create a water funnel - again using builders plastic (gunplas) or plastic tablecloth attached to and slung over a wire between poles (i.e. washing line and posts?) to direct rain water into a bucket which can then be decanted into rain water storage bottles. It will require two shorter posts being installed / devised for the lower end.

Do you have any innovative rain water catchment idea's that you are using that you would like to share with the group?   https://www.facebook.com/groups/watersheddingsa/

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Suzelle on 50 ltrs / day

Waterless hygiene

Remove the pong from grey water # 2

Nola Parsons added 4 new photos.
1 hr
So maybe this will help others who want to use their washing machine grey water for flushing the loo. The water collected is generally very dirty (mine is mostly black!) And smells if it stands for a day or two. I use a flocculant to separate out the particles and collect the clear water, which doesn't smell, and use this for flushing. Tips in photo descriptions. PS this is a low tech method that involves carrying buckets!!

Comment on this post:

I have been using the same method, have a 200 liter drum outside the laundry, water gets pumped in there (we only wash when there is a full load) add alum powder, sediment settles at the bottom (below the tap in the drum) draw from there for the loo. Also ad shower water to that so soap etc also settles no clogging in cistern and no smells. I dump about 1-2 liters of gunky sediment at the end, no mess no fuss

Remove the pong in grey water

Simple to set up, easy to use and effective on the pong 😏

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Saturday, 24 February 2018

Water from condesation

Apart from providing a simple air conditioner, this could also be used to create drinking water.

Merely place a bottle of frozen grey water into a container.  Allow the water inside to melt.  Water will be formed from the condensation on the outside of the bottle.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/twomatoes/

DIY Water from air Turtle edition.

Power consumption: 1 pc fan, plus already running freezer to freeze salt water inside Coke bottles. The fan must force air into the container. 

Sidekick Condensation deliver 500 ml in 11 hours.

Added advantages:

1. Can be solar
2. No costly maintenance
3. No filters or membranes to be replaced.


Simple rainwater harvesting

Every drop counts

To watch it in action please click the link below:


Friday, 23 February 2018

Transporting 50ltrs of water

Catch and move your cold shower water, rain water, washing machine water... and save your back 😁

This baby has saved my back from a whole bunch of aching. Got it at Makro. It can take 50 lites of water and cost R299 . Just thought I would share and hopefully save some members a trip to the physio.

Brigette Kuypers It's called the Keter easy go breeze. Apparently keter are not making them anymore but makro still has stock.

Using marbles to clean water containers

Tip: When the water containers start to go green...get glass marbles and Milton sterilizer to clean from the inside. We collect spring water weekly so its fresh and store water in dark area out of sunlight to prevent growth.

(The marbles will act like an abrasive 😏)

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Converting a cistern for grey water

Fixed wooden cistern lid with funnel for recycled water ðŸ’§
No more lifting, dropping or falling over heavy porcelain lid ðŸ˜‚
No more open cistern ðŸ‘

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

50 lt dustbin solution

All you need is 2 x 50 liter dustbins.

Recycle plastic bottles # 3

TK added 2 new photos.
This made my day! This is what I found when dropping off my eco bricks at Montebello today. A whole mountain of eco bricks! Love that so many people are now making them. Saving tons of plastic from the landfill. Yippeeeeeeeee

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Recycle plasic bottles # 2

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Here is an updated list of all the drop-off spots for this project. You can still become a drop-off spot by leaving your address in the comment section below.

A few reminders:
We collect ALL plastic bottles and plastic containers (and caps too).
The Plastic is granulated and then melted and molded to manufacture conservation products like Owl Houses, Bat Houses & Bee Hives.
Only 2% of all plastic in SA is currently recycled - help us to change this.

• Bibi Rouge, 256 Bryanston Drive Johannesburg
• Holistic Education Centre, 63A Mount Pellan Drive, Glenvista Johannesburg
• In the Forest Venue, 2 Aloe Ridge Drive, Walkerville Johannesburg
• Martins Academy, 2 Matilda Street, Brackenhurst, Alberton Johannesburg
• Northcliff Office National, 189 Smit Street, Fairlands Johannesburg
• Owl Rescue Centre Storage Container, 32 Elsacar Street, Northgate Self Storage Park, Block E, Unit D Johannesburg
• Print Factory, 7 Lenchen Park Johannesburg
• Rainbow Books, 126 Golf Avenue, Clubview, Centurion Johannesburg
• Seeff Properties, 13 Linksfield Road, Edenvale Johannesburg
• Tactical Guarding, 2 Karen Lane, Kyalami Johannesburg
• Helping Hands Nursery School Kempton Park
• Blendwell Chemicals, 35 Richards Drive, Midrand (Judy Nankervis)
• Professional Child Care College, 27 2nd Avenue, Melville (Bev Wilson)
• Avalon School, 81 Pierre Road, West Rand, Ruimsig (Jennifer Anne Fourie)
• Vtec Trailers, 19a Michelin Street, Vanderbijlpark (Tobie Venter)
• Handy Hardware on 14th in Fairand, Shop 3, Fairland Centre, Cnr 14th Ave & Johannes (Robert Janbroers)
• 14 Hendrik Potgieter Street, Dalview, Dalvet Animal Clinic (Debbie Pledger Yannakakis)
• 159 Republic Road, Gozone Water, Fontainebleau, Randburg (Garth Young – 0711379314)
• Kiddilicious, 25 Nicol Road, Bedfordview (Lisa Lowth – 0763586003)
• Lido Supermarket, 38 Anstruther Street, Discovery, Roodepoort (Chane Wolmarans – 0116741400)

North West Province
• Hannie van Zyl , 7 Roma Street, Flamwood, Klerksdorp North West
• Owl Rescue Centre Farm 448 Bokfontein Hartbeespoort North West
• Maple Tree Private School, (Eco School), Farm 882, Chris Hani Road, Klerksdorp (Louise Olivato)

• Plants At Preller Garden Centre, Graff Reinet Street Bloemfontein

Cape Town
• Capricorn Business Centre, Ukama Unit 6 The Village, 87 Capricorn Drive, Cape Town
• De Poort Heritage Village, Turk Street, Paarl Cape Town
• Highland Riding Academy, Tygerburg Valley Road, Durbanville Hills, Cape Town
• N&R Office Supplies, 68 Sunbird Crescent, Durbenville, Cape Town (Nicole Retief)
• 14 Tijgerhof Street, Milnerton, Cape Town (Debbie Gray Boyes)
• Timefreight Building, Unit 12, Cubenco Park, 13 Industria Street, Vredenburg (Su-Marie Human)
• 59 Main Road, Sedgefield (Ronnie Maingard)

KwaZulu Natal
• Beanstruck Coffee Roastery, Ballito Durban
• Charity Hop Shop, 121 Helenjoseph Road, Glenwood Durban
• Leap Frog Properties ,18 Sutton Cresent, Morning side, Durban
• Meditrax EMS, 40 Biyela Street, Empangeni Durban
• Ngweny Coffee Shop, 5 Butts Road, Pinetown Durban
• Plants a Plenty, 33 Maryvale Road, Westville Durban
• Unit 59 Ivy Park, 3 Ivy Road, Gate 1, Pinetown Durban
• 34 Laburnam Road, Glenwood Durban
• Sylvia Paul, 136 Mark Street Vryheid KwaZulu Natal
• Port Shepstone Girl Guide Hall, Mitchell Street, Port Shepstone, (only on Thursdays from 17:00-18:30) (Jolene Evans)
• One Stop Auto Centre, Unit 5&6, 1 Platina Drive, Kuleka, Empangeni Rail (Tania Heuer Holgate)
• Scarecrow Gifts and Antiques, Rosetta Hotel, Old Main Road Rosetta, Mooi River (Nadine Moody)
• Wakefield, 38 Hilton Avenue, Hilton (Michelle Main)

Eastern Cape
• Bushwillow Primary School, Kenton on Sea, Eastern Cape
• Pebble Spring Farm, Kraggakamma Road, Port Elizabeth Eastern Cape
• Lyn Beriman, 77 Bourke Street, Graff Reinet, Eastern Cape
• Ikhala Veterinary Clinic, 3 Strowan Road, Grahamstown (Emily Baxter)
Northern Cape

• 84 Pretorius Avenue, Lyttleton, Centurion (Daphne Megannon)
• Pure Joy Lodge, Kameeldrift East, Pretoria (Lu-Anne Dodgen)
• 973 Olympus Drive, Faerie Glen, Pretoria (Chantal Steenkamp)
• Seeff Properties, 7 Amatola Street, Doringkloof, Centurion (Rochelle Steyn)
• 230 Petunia Street, Doornpoort, Eco Pilots (Jolandi Gouws Swart)
• Highveld After Care, 53 Turnhouse Street, Highveld Centurion (Sharon de Beer)
• Osizweni Combined School, Old Braken Mine Bldg, Brendan, Evander (Isaac Thanjekwayo)
• Scarlet A Café, 70 Beyers Naude Street, Middelburg (Sue-anne le Roux)

Recycle plastic bottles #1


With the increasing severity of the drought in the Western Cape, the storage and consumption of bottled water is expected to increase, and PET plastic bottles are a safe and convenient way to do this. Here are PETCO’s tips for the reuse and recycling of your PET water bottles during the drought.
Press release – February 2018
Cheri Scholtz, CEO of PETCO, the PET Plastic Recycling Company, says that PET bottles are 100% recyclable and can be used over and over again. “PET bottles are not “single-use” bottles and are not trash. When they are recycled, they are made into new bottles for water or beverages or recycled into many new and useful products such as polyester fibre for duvets and pillows, jeans and t-shirts, and re-usable shopping bags.”
PETCO’s tips to Capetonians include:
  • If collecting from a water point, it will be helpful to re-use your PET bottles, especially the 5 litre bottles.
    When re-using PET bottles for water storage, please ensure that they are clean. PET bottles are safe for use and reuse so long as they are washed properly with detergent and a little water to remove bacteria, as you would any other container.
  • When dropping PET bottles off for recycling, there is no need to wash them.
  • Please do not throw the bottles away when you are finally finished using them – bottles should never be sent to landfill sites or end up as litter in the environment. PET bottles are fully recyclable when basic design principles are followed. Take your bottles to one of the City of Cape Town drop off facilities where they will be sent to PETCO Member Companies for recycling.
  • Please leave the caps on, as these are also recyclable, and we don’t want them ending up as litter in our beautiful city.
PET bottles are safe to use. “There has been a lot of confusion about what is in our plastic containers since concerns were raised about the safety of polycarbonate products containing Bisphenol-A (bPA). There is no connection between PET plastic and Bis-phenol A. Bis-phenol A is not used in the production of PET material, nor is it used as a chemical building block for any of the materials used in the manufacture of PET,” says Cheri.
Scholtz also appealed to manufacturers generously assisting with bringing bottles of water to Cape Town to help with drought to please use PETCO Guidelines for Recycling to ensure that the PET bottles they are bringing do not negatively impact the recycling stream – no metal caps, no dark colours of PET (clear is the first choice and light blue second choice) and no printing directly onto bottles.
Did you know:
  1. We have two state-of-the art PET bottle-2-bottle recycling plants in South Africa? Here bottles are recycled so that they can be made into new bottles. As they are blended with virgin material in various proportions, they can be recycled again and again. Watch the video here: youtube.com/The PETCO Bottle-to-bottle Film
  2. We have three state-of-the-art fibre producing plants where PET bottles are recycled into polyester staple fibre? This fibre fills our pillows and duvets, goes into our reusable shopping bags, goes into jeans. We don’t need to import polyester staple fibre into SA anymore – we are self-sufficient.
  3. We have an industry leader that manufactures industrial geotextiles in South Africa from recycled PET bottles? This geotextile is used in lining of landfill sites, tunnel construction, and power station construction.
For more information:
  • See here for Frequently Asked Questions about PET.
  • See here for Frequently Asked Questions about Packaging.
  • See here for a list of water brands approved by the South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), and therefore getting their water from sustainable groundwater sources: www.sanbwa.org.za/membershiplist.asp
  • See here for PETCO’s Guide to Designing Bottles with Recycling in mind.