Water Saving Tips: Water Restrictions in SA and how to save water

It is no secret that we have been in the hot seat for the last couple of weeks. With little rain and high temperatures, water restrictions have been put in place in some areas and it is time to clean up our act. Today the Junk Mail team takes a look at what the causes of our water shortages are, and we give you some tips on how to save water. From calling professional plumbers to take a closer look, to simple tips to help you save water, Junk Mail is pulling out all the stops to help you make smarter choices.


Why and where water restrictions in place

Though only gaining big media coverage in the last couple of weeks, there has been a problem with our water supply since last year and a number of municipalities as well as the agriculture sector have felt the heat.

With the high temperatures in the area of Rand Water, the strain on the Johannesburg’s bulk water supply system has also increased. Combined with the lack of rainfall in Gauteng and an increased demand placed on the system, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, the City of Johannesburg and the City of Tshwane is feeling the strain.

Note though that other provinces and areas in South Africa have been hit even harder, one of these areas including the iLembe District north of Durban, with a 50% water restrictions in place (as reported in late October of 2015). Though localised droughts are more common, South Africa is currently in a national drought situation.

On the 12th of November, 2015, it was reported that a total of 14 of Mpumalanga’s 21 municipalities have been affected by the severe drought in the region. Fin24 in turn reported on the 13th of November, 2015, that because of the heat as well as drought, our agricultural sectors are suffering. Primary agricultural production contributes about 2.5% to South Africa’s GDP on a yearly basis, and without rain soon, the crop and livestock prospects do not look good, having not only an effect on the earnings of our farmers and companies within the industry, but our food supply and prices as well.

Commodities affected includes our citrus, maize, sugar cane and wheat, though it is very important to note that all of our commodities and livestock will be affected.

While at this time the Eastern and Southern Cape are not suffering that much, there are however problems in the most parts of the Free State, Parts of the North West and Limpopo, and problems in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.


Reservoir and Dam Levels as well Water Shedding

Below you will find some numbers on our dam water levels as reported on the 2nd of November, 2015, compared to their water levels only a year earlier:

  • KwaZulu-Natal’s dam water levels are at a capacity of 57.9% compared to a water level capacity of 70.5% a year ago.
  • The 25 dams in the North West are at a combined water level capacity of 45.9% compared to a capacity level of 68.7% a year ago.
  • Dams in the Free State have a water level capacity of 66.4% compared to 78% a year ago.

On the 13th of November it was reported that 11 of Tshwane’s reservoir have reached water levels below 40%.

With December also around the corner, Cape Town residents may also face water restrictions. Because dam water levels are lower than it has been in previous years, which can be amplified if Cape Town has another dry winter season, the City Council will be meeting to discuss precautionary water restrictions.

Water shortages have also been experienced in Gauteng and reports have come in that the rainfall in KwaZulu-Natal isn’t enough. Johannesburg itself is a Level 2 Water Restriction entailing that gardens not be watered between 06:00 and 18:00, swimming pools not be filled and no using of hose pipes to wash cars and clean paved areas. Should it move to Level 3, we can expect to see restrictions similar to Eskom’s Loadshedding.

The Ekurhuleni municipality stated that a number of areas have run dry due to not only the region’s drought conditions, but also the heatwave. With a set of measures implemented, should the situation worsen, water shedding measures might be put in place, entailing the supply to be shut off between 10:00 and 15:00.

The South African Weather Service also reported that the El Nino weather system – which forecasts drought conditions for the southern hemisphere’s summer season – might extend into the autumn of 2016, further affecting our water supply.


Tips on how to save water in and around the home

Because we do not only want to help you save water, but the running costs of your home as well, here are some great tips on how to save water in and around the home.

Firstly, we suggest making use of plumbing services. Plumbers can help you in a number of ways and not only when it comes to saving water.

These professionals are a great source of advice on efficient plumbing fixtures and even detecting leaky pipes.

From a slow leaking toilet to a tap that constantly drips no matter how tightly you close it, there are tons of potential places water can be wasted in and around the home. Keep an eye on your water meter to spot any high levels of consumption.

Note that taps that drip, leaking toilets and even leaky pipes can waste a huge amount of water (costing you on utility bills each month), so it is well worth your while to make use of pluming services to give your home a good once-over, replacing and fixing leaks and drips where needed.


Here are some great tips on how to save water at home:

  • Only water your garden after the sun has set and when it is absolutely necessary. Watering your plants during the day means that most of it will evaporate, wasting water. According the Department of Water and Sanitation, up to 90% of the water evaporates when watering your garden between 10:00 and 15:00. Another great option in this regard is using grey water – the water from your tub for example – for irrigation.
  • Make sure that all your taps and pipes are in tiptop shape. Plumbers can help you out with this, replacing washers and fixtures where and when necessary. Though this might have an initial cost, you will be able to save in the long run.
  • According to Mail & Guardian, Eskom uses about 3% of our water. This means that by reducing your electricity consumption, you may be able to reduce Eskom’s water consumption.
  • Shower instead of taking a bath. According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, one minute of showering can use up to 20 litres of water (so keep them as short as possible) while a bath can use between 80 and 150 litres of water.
  • If you want to make an investment towards water saving in the home, call in professional plumbers and implement duel-flush toilet mechanisms and low-flow shower heads. When replacing washing machines and dishwasher, make sure that they are water efficient.
  • Flushing the toilet unnecessarily is also a waste of water as it can use up to 12 litres per flush. Tissues, cotton wool and things of this nature can be disposed of in the trashcan instead.
  • Collect rain water. Though we realise there isn’t much of that in large parts of South Africa lately, finding JoJo tanks for sale and collecting rain water can aid you in times like this, giving you a water source to water your garden and even wash your car.
  • Another stunning tip is to insulate your hot water pipes, allowing that not too much water is wasted waiting for it to warm up.


Other simple ways to save water is to close the tap when washing your face and brushing your teeth. Use a bucket instead if hosepipe if you have to wash your car and, hold off as long as you can before filling your pool.

Remember that everything you do does make a difference, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.


Looking for professional plumbers to give your plumbing system a once over? Browse Junk Mail for the best plumbing services in your area. Remember that you can also find stunning water efficient shower heads and JoJo tanks for sale on Junk Mail, so start looking today. Selling your services or water wise goods? Place your FREE AD now!



Annabel Schoeman

SEO'er, blogger and lover all things weird, wacky and interesting.

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3 Responses

  1. SANDILE says:

    Save water coz u might not take a shower one day

  2. Its good one information,

    We also provide water leak detection equipment services,
    if you want to then visit online at : http://www.h2onet.co.za/

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