Grey water Five ways to beat the drought and cut your water bill

Come rain or water restric­tions, we’d bet­ter get used to South Africa be­ing a water-scarce coun­try. Nick Dall in­ves­ti­gates how you can use grey water to dras­ti­cally re­duce your re­liance on the trusty old tap.

go! Platteland - - CONTENTS -

P ut sim­ply, there is no way South Africans can sur­vive if cur­rent pop­u­la­tion trends and water-us­age pat­terns con­tinue. In 2016 a drought crip­pled the north of coun­try, while the first half of 2017 has been the Western Cape’s turn to go without water. While the gov­ern­ment may have to in­crease sup­ply at some point, we can all play our part in re­duc­ing de­mand through a few sim­ple in­ter­ven­tions – from plant­ing wa­ter­wise gar­dens, har­vest­ing rain­wa­ter and min­imis­ing toi­let flush­ing to reusing grey water.

Reusing grey water may be a great idea but for many this is still shrouded in a faintly stag­nant cloak of mys­tery.

What is grey water?

Grey water is de­fined as water that comes from baths, show­ers, hand basins and wash­ing ma­chines. De­pend­ing on the sys­tem you use, grey water can be utilised to water your gar­den, flush your loo and, in some (ex­pen­sive) cases, to fill your pool and do your laun­dry. Water from toi­lets and bidets is classed as black water, and water from the kitchen (and es­pe­cially the dish­washer) is a no-no too.

The fol­low­ing rules ap­ply if you plan on reusing grey water for ir­ri­ga­tion:

• Use phos­phate-free laun­dry de­ter­gent Surf, Omo and Ariel are all okay but Skip is not. • Avoid bleach-based clean­ing prod­ucts Sodium-hypochlo­rite, to give it its proper name, which is present in Jik, Domestos and sev­eral other prod­ucts, is bad. Handy Andy, how­ever, is great for your gar­den.

• Con­tinue with ablu­tions as usual If it’s gen­tle enough for your skin, it’s fine for the gar­den.

Choose the right sys­tem

If you shower with buck­ets on the floor and then use this water to flush the loo, you’re en­gag­ing in grey-water re­cy­cling at its most ba­sic. The same goes for di­vert­ing your wash­ing-ma­chine out­let onto the lawn or throw­ing tubs of bath­wa­ter on your roses. DIY hacks such as these are bet­ter than noth­ing and are cheap too. But they can’t pos­si­bly

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