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Irresponsible Water Usage In South African Households

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South Africa is a country with a vast number of resources, however water is not one of them. Out of the 193 countries on earth, South Africa is considered to be the 30th driest country. Adding to this alarming statistic is the irresponsible use of water in South African households. South Africans aimlessly waste water daily in a variety of ways, this habit starts in the home. As a result, locally and internationally water wastage has become a prevalent issue, however, with a few minor lifestyle changes irresponsible water usage in South African households can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated.

Current trends and habits, and how they can be reduced or eliminated

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Due to inadequate environmental education, there are a variety of trends and habits that have become characteristic of many South African citizens which result in the wastage of water in many households. These trends and habits are irresponsible and must be put to an end in order to increase South Africa’s overall water sustainability so that in future our country does not run out of water which is an everyday essential which is vital for survival. Here are a few of those trends and habits and how you can effectively stop or limit them in order to reduce their effect on the environment.

Leaving the tap running while brushing your teeth, waiting for it to heat up, cleaning fruit and vegetables. This wastes water as up to 16 liters of water can be wasted in just 1 minute of leaving the tap running. This also increases your water bill significantly over a long period of time. To eliminate water wastage, turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth and only turn on when you are ready to use it. In terms of when you are waiting for your water to heat up, put a dish under the tap to catch the running water then use that water for either rinsing dishes, to water the plants or to be fruit and vegetables.

Individuals with lawn sprinklers must rather water their lawn and garden in the evening because during the day most of the water is not used effectively as it is lost quickly due to evaporation caused by the sun. Low pressure sprinklers are also more effective as they not only use less water but are less harsh on the plants. Owners must also not leave the sprinkler on for more than 20 minutes in a remote area as the immediate surroundings would’ve received adequate water in approximately 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the type of sprinkler.

Taking a bath uses a lot of water so rather take a shower as less water is used because water is used as needed and there is no deep tub that needs to be filled for an effective wash.

Households with swimming pools should invest in a pool cover as this allows for significantly less water evaporation. Draining the pool during winter and spring is also a good idea as no large amounts of water are used and lost during the water filtration cycle

Using a hose to wash your car. To reduce the effect of this habit of the environment, rather use a bucket when warming your car and during rainy reasons, leave your car outside so that the rain can wash away the dirt and then simply polish your car once the rain stops for shine.

The environmental effect of water wastage in South African households

The irresponsible use of water is bad for the environment because all living organisms require water in some way, shape or form for survival. Without water all living organisms would perish. The water that South African citizens waste essential for the future and must be sustained and used thoughtfully because only 1% of all water on earth is fresh water and billions of people rely on this water. In South Africa water wastage means that water reservoirs become empty which thus results in water sanctions, limits per household and a big increase in water bills, all in an attempt to make people use less water. A lot of water down the drain causes an increase in wastewater volume that must be treated by septic tanks and sewage treatment plants. This ultimately leads to higher bills for energy, water, and sewer services which the municipality simply adds on to rates. With less fresh water, alternative water sources must be explored however the process of making other types of water safe to consumption is not environmentally friendly. The filtration process uses a large amount of energy which feeds back into the environment in the form of carbon dioxide which overtime accumulates in the atmosphere thus contributing to our carbon footprint as well as global warming.

Current local news on the effects of water wastage

Cape Town found itself in a water crisis due to a significant decrease in rainfall which would not have been detrimental, however, in addition to that was water usage. With high water usage there is also high water wastage. All these factors resulted in a 3 year drought in Cape Town. To limit and to conserve the little water that was available in dams, the municipality of Cape Town was forced to place water restrictions on households, and in the townships water was not even available for many. Water restrictions had a negative effect on farmers in the Western Cape as they did not have adequate water supply to effectively take care of their crops. Agriculture in the Western Cape area thus suffered greatly.

In conclusion, the irresponsible use of water use in South African households is a very prevalent issue in South Africa at the moment, however, measures can be taken to reduce water wastage in South African household which will thus reduce the environmental damage that many households have on our planet. It is possible to take a step in the right direction towards water conservation and sustainability. If we fail to do so, South Africa as a whole may end up in the same position that Cape Town currently finds itself in.


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