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.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Greywater system - especially for wheelchair bound people

I setup this grey water system at my house with some 40mm plumbing pipes and a few boxes from Game - under R1000,00 rands - thought I'd share ,

When you are wheelchair  bound its not always easy to put some grey water on your lawn or plants - Institutions could do the same

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Hygienic handwashing at schools

Western Cape schools update :
Water will be trucked into the WCape schools, DHL offered to help move the water. School teachers will get their personal daily ration also brought to them at school so they do not need to queue at the PODS (Points of Distribution)
There are 811 schools in the #Cape Town metro, 695 rural schools. There are 712,111 pupils in metro schools, 404,405 in rural areas and 32,000 teachers. WCED will get 20l ppp day at school, so 23M litres per day for schools is needed.
407 schools have boreholes but 99 of those aren’t functional. Only 58 have drinking water, 349 have non-potable water which can be used for fire safety and sanitation

Comment on the above article: A week ago I asked my grandson what his school will be doing regarding DAY-O and he’s said that a bucket of water will be placed in each classroom for learners to wash their hands πŸ™ˆI hope that the school has in the meantime come up with a better plan.

Elena Burrows Sochugova For the whole class to wash their hands in the bucket is very unsanitary. Rather make something like this for the class. Surely dads can help make these for the schools?

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Increase rain water storage in your tank(s)

The amount of water stored in your tank is "restricted" by the position of the overflow outlet.  Doing this will increase your storage to just below the lid  πŸ˜‰

Easy way to expand the storage capacity of any water tank, this is on a 2500 liter tank and using this simple mod it increases the capacity by 200 liters. Just make sure the lowest surface of the extension is slightly below the lowest part where the lid fits. 2 tanks that's an extra 400 liters when the rain comes.

Dishes with a trickle of water

Leanne Hewitt https://www.facebook.com/justin.hewitt.cpt?fref=ufito and Justin Hewitt   WATER SHEDDING WESTERN CAPE.
2 hrs

Thank you for the inspiration Oom!!!! Rinsing a load of dishes took 200ml - going to get a press lid thermos to keep water hot all day to do dishes. Spray bottle of ProBio diluted dish soap has also reduced water considerably.
Left tub is yesterday’s rinse water for today’s soaking. 
Spritz with dilute soap & transfer dishes to rinse sink.
Rinse with Oom’s inspired bottle (will try thermos when I get one).
Tomorrow am throw out 2nd use soak water on pot plants & transfer today’s rinse water to tub.
Thank you for making my Oom inspired rinse bottle Justin πŸ˜˜❤️😍

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Humanure course for composting loos

Sign up for the course, or follow Freefarmers Facebook page 


What is Faeces?

Most people think faeces is mainly materials that the body could not digest or use, yes these materials make a portion of faeces, but what most might be surprised about is that 80% of the dry weight of human faces is bacteria. The NPK value is 6-4-2, C/N ratio averages on 7.5 and moister content is 75%
Now for compost.  Nerds like myself you will already realize if you compare the high moister content to the low C/N ratio faces will immediately start to anaerobic decompose, followed by a not so lekker smell, calling fly’s far and wide to come visit. 

There are many different ways to stabilize human faeces; the obvious course of action would be to adjust the C/N ratio in an aerobic environment that is done thermophilically-but not everyone is a compost nerd so this is why our next “cheap and nasty course” on the Green Guerrilla farm will be “composting human faeces for dummies”. 

For those who follow us, but live far and away, I will dedicate the next few posts on how to stabilize human auxiliary surplus in easy understandable methods, systems and cheap and effective methods.

I will also be praising, worshiping and giving full credit to the best creature on the planet: The compost worm, with these lowly, blind, toothless hermaphrodites we are going to take care of your business with no fuss and no smells-Green Guerrilla style. 

And now a word for our sponsors: Green Guerrillas are running a special for the next few weeks- buy 1 kg of composting worms R850 and receive 50kg worm farm for free.
Cheap and nasty course -“composting human faeces for dummies”
Sunday 4 Feb from 10-12h
R25 pp (booking essential)
To book your slot at cheap and nasty or to book your 1kg of worms incl free worm farm contact Anki: anki@etadv.co.za
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Rehearse Day Zero now

Not the worst idea at all. At least you'll have some idea of what life is going to be like after Day Zero

"So, rather than waiting helplessly for the City to carry out a rehearsal, Capetonians should take responsibility for conducting their own Day Zero rehearsals. For instance:

- Go out and buy as many 25 litre water containers as there are members in your household (and some spares);

- Shut off your property’s water supply at the incoming municipal main, and only open it once each day to fill the water containers where you park your car;

- Either carry or use a delivery trolley to take the containers inside, or organise someone strong to assist you;

- From there, experiment with various methods of decanting and distributing water to different parts of your home by means of more manageable 5 or 10 litre water containers; and

- Condition the members of your household to get by on their respective daily quotas of water.

- By running your own rehearsals for your home and/or your business before Day Zero actually arrives, you will be better positioned than most to deal with the days, weeks and potentially even months of hardship that will follow."

General hints & tips # 1

How to use less water:
The greatest consumption of water and where you can make the quickest and biggest difference to your water consumption are your bathroom activities:

Shower less often. There are no negative health consequences to not showering every day. It doesn't matter that you don't smell like a rose every day. If your man has gone all "cave man" embrace it.

A drought shower is a shower for which you don't continuously run the water. After getting into the shower and getting wet, switch the water off and apply soap and shampoo. Now switch the water on again, rinse off and get out. Not as nearly pleasant as a long hot steamy affair, but there are more extreme showering options, such as using a 5 litre spray can. Timing your shower is a good place to start.

Bathing in a full bath is another special pleasure many are now missing. If you only have a bath at home and no shower, bathing is far less glamourous affair with a bucket and a plastic cup. It is about getting clean, not having fun.

The water you used to clean yourself is useful. Grey water (not fit for drinking) can be used for many things, the most obvious of which is flushing your toilet. Toilet cistern designs to vary, but simply replenishing the cistern when you've flushed saves 9 litres of water. Grey water does tend to smell if stored, particularly if not filtered. A few drops of ProBac or Jik (added by admin of this page: and white vinegar) does make a difference.

If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down. For smell suppression and toilet staining use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Washing the dishes requires water, so try use as little as possible. Dishwashers should only be run when they're totally full. Wipe the plates before loading the dishwasher or washing by hand.

Wearing clean clothes every day results in a lot of washing which requires a lot of water. The waste from the washing of dishes and clothes are the other sources of grey water.

Plant indigenous plants in your garden. We live in a unique floral environment for which the plants are perfectly adapted to. Planting local plants makes sense both waterwise and environmental sense.

A child's hands can work a tap just as well as an adult's. Keep an eye on your children. Better yet, educate them. If you're honest with them they will appreciate it. Situation critical and a little dangerous for us all. Don't scare them, just be honest.

If you are responsible for a water meter check the reading regularly and monitor your consumption. Check your plumbing. If you have a leaky tap, fix it. Close all the taps on the property and monitor the water meter over 15 minutes to ensure there isn't a leak on the property.

Do your best to save water and keep saving. Educate others. Have a clear conscience that you're not the cause of the problem. Get used to the lifestyle required to save water and soon saving water will not feel like having to make sacrifices.

Saving yourself - Preparing for Day Zero (more to follow...)

This is the first draft of advice for people new to saving water. The "more to follow" story isn't ready yet. Your suggestions are welcome. Have I missed something important?

Storing grey water # 1

Catching water from shower with a tap to use on toilet. No more endless buckets everywhere. Perfect option for who is renting and don't have space (and money) for the famous JoJo. Husband got inspired (and tired of so many buckets) today 

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Composting loos not smelly

Bernelle Verster self proclaimed 'Water Maverick and Shit Stirrer' has developed a dry toilet in her home and it really works.

Composting toilets use the natural processes of decomposition and evaporation to recycle human waste, and typically use no water for flushing, hence the name "dry toilet".

She explains to John Maytham how she has developed a lifestyle that is ecologically friendly and in harmony with nature.

We can build these things into our lives without them being so weird.
— Bernelle Verster self proclaimed 'Water Maverick and Shit Stirrer'
At most the toilet has an 'earthy' smell, she says and friends who have also installed dry toilets are surprised at how they don't have an unpleasant odour and are easy to maintain.

Message from CToC re: Newlands spring

Deon Smit shared a link.
Admin2 hrs
31 JANUARY 2018

City works to improve access to the Newlands Spring in Springs Way

We want to thank residents for their efforts to improve the city’s water security by collecting natural spring water for their personal use.

Unfortunately, due to the number of residents wanting to access the site to collect water, there is a great deal of congestion and this is making it more difficult for people trying to access the spring. Earlier this week, a physical conflict broke out and a person was arrested by SAPS. The surrounding neighbours and particularly the adjacent old age home are also being adversely affected. The congestion and noise from cars and persons visiting the site at all hours of the day and night is causing many complaints from the surrounding community and often Kildare Road and Springs Way, which are simply not wide enough to handle the volume of vehicles trying to access the springs, are blocked.

In response to these complaints, I conducted a site visit with officials from the Traffic Engineering Services and the Traffic Department to ascertain how the site can be better managed. That visit was followed up yesterday with a meeting with local councillors, enforcement services, the Water and Sanitation Department, Parks and Recreation and the local subcouncil.

In the interest of improving the management of the site, the following arrangements, which will be applicable from Thursday 1 February, will be put in place at the site:

• Springs Way will be managed 24 hours a day by City enforcement departments
• Traffic Services will be on-site daily to manage congestion and parking and to assist vehicles entering and exiting Springs Way
• The site will be accessible to vehicles between 07:00 and 22:00
• A Venue Operations Centre will be established and personnel will be posted at this site 24 hours a day to ensure that it is managed optimally and that people are safe
• In the interest of speeding up the queues and allowing everybody fair access to the spring water, each person will be requested to only fill containers of up to 25 litres at a time to ensure that no one person holds up the queue – people are welcome to re-join the queue to fill more containers, but it is becoming essential that all those visiting the site be given a fair chance to collect water without some delaying the queues due to filling up hundreds of litres at a time

We want to be clear that limits are not being set on the amount of water that people collect, we are simply trying to manage the queueing and congestion better and to ensure fair access to all.

The above is just a short-term arrangement to try and manage the increasing tension and congestion at the site. It is clear that the short dead-end street, the narrow access via Kildare Road and lack of parking are not suitable to support the large number of vehicles trying to access the spring.

Therefore, in the next month we will be RE-ROUTING the spring water from this spring to the NEWLANDS SWIMMING POOL site 700 meters down the road, which is located on Main Road and which has much better parking and space available. This arrangement will also reduce the impact on the old age home. This location is far easier to access and has ample parking, and will allow for easier management as well as faster and more convenient access for all people collecting water.

Note to broadcasters: audio clips are available for download
For English: https://soundcloud.com/ct-media/310118-smith-springs-way
For Afrikaans: https://soundcloud.com/ct-media/310118-afr-smith-springs-way
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Media enquiries: Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1311 or Cell: 083 675 3780, Email: jean-pierre.smith@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za).

Recycling rinse water from a top loader

Many people have asked about recycling rinse water from a *front loader*. I went to Brights Stikland this morning and with the assistance of Roger McCarthy came up with the following suggestion.
What you need is a "Y-shut off valve" (R155) which, under normal operation, will divert water to one of the two outputs, or to both simultaneously. You connect this between the municipal supply and the washing machine hose. The other end is then connected to your rainwater tank or gravity feed container.
Remember to use threading tape (PTFE tape).

In the photos I show a setup which allows for both the municipal supply or rainwater tank supply.

== The following is intended for individuals who don't have rainwater tanks or other sources ==
For the *Rinse* cycle use municipal water with the valves as shown in the photo. Collect the used water into a container. For the *Wash* cycle use the collected water from a gravity fed container or pump. Switch off the municipal water supply and open the valve to allow water through from the one output into the washing machine hose via the other output. (It may sound confusing, but use the photos as a guide.)

I am not really familiar with pumps or front loaders. If some pressure is required by the machine's input valve then I wonder if a fish pond /fountain pump could work. They usually have flow, max height and pressure graphs on the box.

Should you want to buy a pump to try it out, go for something which you may be able to reuse somewhere else if this doesn't work. Good luck!

I don't have a front loader and have not tried this. I cannot take any responsibility for leaks or damage to your washing machine. Apparently some front loaders do require some pressure from the hose - let us know. I am not promoting the use of municipal drinking water over rainwater or other sources. I forgot to place PTFE tape in the photos. If it doesn't work, please inform us.

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How to make a composting toilet


Please - watch the video

Ways of capturing rainwater

Heidi Smulders shared her first post.
I live in East London and can do little from afar other than participate in the water drive (which is massive here), but I have spent many years working on water harvesting and conservation projects, so I thought I'd put together a few ideas for people who want to maximize the amount of water captured on their property when rain does fall.

1 Example:
Place the bags so that water is diverted to the side instead of being lost down the driveway.
Place the bags so that water is diverted to the side
 instead of being lost down the driveway.

More of these brilliant kinds of idea's can be found here:


Using 25ltrs / day # 1

Earlier today I asked if anyone used 25 or less ltrs of CoCT water per day.Karen Cronje was kind enough to inbox me and has agreed to allow me to publish her water usage detail.

Karen Cronje's family have gone one better - they are using just over 26 ltrs / day - FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! (coffee / tea at work not included, but they try as far as possible to use the home loo, not the work loo.)
She manages to re-use 14 ltrs of her water usage to flush her loo.

She has no Jojo, she has no pressurized shower container, no pool, no borehole and no gadgets. Her only additional water is collecting 10 - 20 ltrs from Newlands spring every so often to supplement her water supply.

I'm blown away. Way to go Karen - you can be justifiably proud of that achievement!!!! πŸ˜

(Reference: 1 drop of water in image = 1 ltr of water.)

We're a family of three (2 adults + 7year old) + three cats I take the water reading every morning when we wake up....only way to keep tabs on it. I can't afford a jojo, and all the other stuff, so low budget. 2l shower - turn off style, for the man. Grey water saved in bucket for toilet. 2l bucket bath and clothes wash - for the lady. I use gel soaps, so use the water for rinsing underwear, the odd t shirt, socks etc. The clothes are squeezed dry of excess water, but left in the bathroom for rinsing later in the afternoon. Grey water collected for toilet flush. 2l bucket bath and clothing wash - for the child. Water used to rinse clothing washed earlier in the day. Cooking 2l - depends on meal....but keep all water for toilet flush, of if oily....plants. Food hygiene 1-2l - kept in container, which is also used for rinsing hands etc. Cats - 1l topped up morning and afternoon. Water not used goes into toilet flush bucket. Toilet - inlet tap is closed. Only grey water is used. Some rain water has been used on the occasion that there is an extra unmentionable - this was caught using old storage crates (56l). Only flushed if brown! Toilet paper in sealable, repurposed, lined bucket for the girls. A dash of jik in the morning sorts out odours. Drinking water and coffee machine - about 3-5l a day. This I try to source from Newlands when I can...so for us this is off grid. I can carry 2 x 10 l, and generally go twice a week. The cats prefer this water too. Dishes 3-4l dishes are done once a day. Water collected for flush. Washing machine: 36l, run once a week for a full load. Water caught for flushing toilet.

Generally....we run out of water for flushing the toilet 😁
I really tried to see if we could get to 25l per person. It normally averages out on between 18-25l per day for the three of us.... so one of those big containers of water.

I have long hair. It took me awhile to adjust to this, but grey water is not dirty. Once you get over this, you realise that water can be repurposed again! Shower water can be used for the shampoo part. Maybe a l or two for the rinse. Wash once a week. Keep it plaited and up. 😁

Oh....should mention that we try to do our loo business at home. So no cheating at other places. At work we have the mellow yellow policy.

In terms of house cleaning, this is done once a week. My cleaner is great - she plugs the sink, and washes surfaces down like that. For floor water, I make sure that she has grey water to wash with. I take on the toilet these days....I'm in there if there's been a good flush with the toilet duck and scrub brush!