Although the drought is not completely over, recent rains have brought relief to those areas of South Africa where a lack of rain has been a growing concern. While the Western Cape is still in the midst of a drought, the interior and the eastern parts of the country have received heavy rains from the tropical cyclone Dineo as well as from a low pressure trough that formed over the country during the last week of February.
The dam levels throughout the country have continued to rise over the last week and we have enjoyed a 2.3% increase nationally since the second last week of February. This means that dam levels raised from 55.6% to 57.9% within just a few days of rain.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation, “This phenomenon further demonstrates that most parts of the country are still water distressed and the meagre rains we have experienced recently in some parts have not made any significant impact for us to say we are out of the woods”
Within the last two weeks, dam levels in the 9 provinces have changed accordingly:
In the Northern Cape, dam levels have risen from 93.6% to 95%
Dams in Gauteng have decreased slightly from 86.7% to 86.3%
North West Province dams have increased from 73.8% to 78.1%
The dams in Limpopo have increased from 66.1% to 66.9%
KwaZulu-Natal dams have shown a slight increase from 47.1% to 47.9%
Dams in the Free State have increased from 57.2% to 60.8%
Mpumalanga dams have decreased slightly from 67.8% to 67.1%
Eastern Cape dams have increased from 56.9% to 58.2%
In the Western Cape, dam levels remain critically low and in recent weeks the dam levels have decreased further bringing the levels down from 36.2% to 34.9%. At the same time last year, the dam levels in Western Cape were standing at 43%.
The Department of Water and Sanitation does weekly checks on all of the dams, and after the rains which have been falling for the last week over the eastern part of the country and the interior, the figures above are almost certain to be changing within the next week.
We are still in a drought
Despite the rise in dam levels, the country remains in the midst of a drought and the people are still being urged to use the water as sparingly as possible. Restrictions are still in place and residents still need to make sure that they pay careful attention to how they use the water.
Again, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation, the drought conditions are expected to persist for the next 2 years at the very least.
Sputnik Ratau, speaking on behalf of the department, said “We depend primarily on rainfall for our water availability. We hope to see significant amounts of rain, meaning consistent rainfall, over a period of time, to help us achieve the recovery we’re looking for.”
What South Africa needs is constant rain instead of flooding; something that for now at least is eluding the landscape. And although the current drought is far from the worst we have had, South Africa has always been a country without a steady supply of water. So be considerate before you water your garden or wash your car.
Want to save water and be able to wash your car and water your garden? You should invest in a grey water system from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. A grey water system is the best way to save water during the drought, and will help you to save money on your monthly water bill in the future!
During water shortages, such as the one we are currently experiencing in Gauteng, having a grey water system in place to save and store water is certainly something that every person, not just someone who wants to Go Green, should be looking at. Each day we are all responsible for wasting copious amounts of water; it runs down the drain instead of being used for another purpose. The water that we are wasting is known as grey water and if you were to change the way that you look at this water, and the way that you use it, you will find yourself saving more than you have ever before.
What is grey water?
It might be a phrase you have heard of before, but some clarity might be needed to know exactly what it is. Grey water consists of bath water, shower water, water from your laundry, and water from the sink. The grey water is then recycled and used for irrigation in the garden.
Grey water recycling systems are arguably one of the very best ways to reduce your water consumption without having to make a drastic lifestyle change. And in a dry nation such as ours, having a grey water system in place is going to make a noticeable difference in the amount of tap water you use.
Grey water systems are by no means the only kind of water recycling system available.
Buffer tanks (also called backup tanks), portable water solutions, rainwater harvesting systems and septic tanks, are all water recycling methods that are available. These systems are relatively affordable, and since they will be saving you money, they are great systems to consider.
Backup tanks are great when paired with a grey water system seeing as the buffer tank can store clean water for consumption during shortages or cuts while the grey water recycling system will provide water for all of your irrigation needs. Grey water tanks are designed to accompany the system. Should you need to store water, the tank is there, while with some systems the tank is the final holding place for collected water before it is released.
And such systems are not just for the farm or for rural areas, they are equally fantastic for homes in urban areas. Once you have a water recycling system set up, you will never lose sleep or suffer from the frustration of running dry.
It is a fair question to ask. Right now you might not notice the effects of the drought but even when the water supply is not an issue, you should be thinking about how you can save.
Did you know that in a home of 4 people, on average up to 3000 litres of water can go to waste almost unnoticed?
You should recycle grey water because every drop of water is precious. We live in a country where drought is a part of life and where water costs can be outrageously high, so saving wherever you can will do no harm and can only benefit you!
These are just a few of the other ways that you can benefit from having a grey water recycling system:
Grey water can completely replace the need to use tap water to keep the garden green and lush. It can also be used within the home to flush toilets.
By recycling grey water you can expect to see a reduction in your potable water use by up to 40%.
You can instantly start saving money by having a smaller monthly water bill.
You will never again have to worry about your garden going thirsty during a drought.
What are grey water systems and how do grey water systems work?
A grey water system is an uncomplicated system designed to transport your grey water away from the drains and into your garden, toilet or tank. The grey water system works through a series of pipes and a pump, all resistant to corrosion and designed with efficiency in mind. With a pump placed in the surge tank, the grey water system swiftly moves the water to where it needs to be.
Once you have a grey water filter system in place, you will start to gain a better understanding of where your household water goes each month.
What can grey water be used for and how does grey water affect plants?
One of the biggest uses of grey water is plant irrigation. Keeping your garden alive is possible with grey water as the water will have little effect on the plants. It is for this reason that one of the benefits listed above is watering gardens. But it is not just the flowers that will be kept alive. You can use this water to irrigate vegetables and fruits, with no harm done to the plants. If you are Going Green with a sustainable grey water system, why not also consider growing your own vegetables?
You should recycle grey water, not only will you be doing yourself a favour but you will also be looking after the environment and contribute with a water solution of your very own.
South Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought that it has seen in decades. The ground is parched and the plants are shriveling, that is unless you have a grey water recycling system or a bore hole. In early September 2016, under instruction from the Department of Water and Sanitation, Johannesburg water restrictions were implemented to cut back on the amount of water used in the city by 15%.
Water restrictions in Johannesburg are nothing new. The city has been under a level 2 water restriction since November 2015. This was created in an effort to conserve the amount of water used within the city. The water shortages in the city have had an effect on the various industries as well as on the residents.
But why these new, tighter restrictions?
Johannesburg depends on the Integrated Vaal River System to provide water to the immense population as well as its booming industries. But the intense, unyielding drought has caused heavy damage to the city’s supplies and now the system has fallen below 60% while the Vaal Dam is now at the critical level of 35%.
On the 24th of August, Rand Water informed Johannesburg Water that the supply to the city would be reduced as of the 6th of September 2016.
Water solutions need to be on every South African’s agenda, not just on the minds of those living in Johannesburg. All over the country measures are being taken to combat the effects of the persisting drought.
It is partly the result of the unseasonal heat this Spring which has forced the Department to introduce extra measures to save water by implementing item 6 (1) of Schedule 3 to the National Water Act. This section implements the limited usage of the Integrated Vaal River System. The limit will mean that urban water use will be cut by 15% while water used for irrigation will be cut by 20%. The limit was implemented immediately and remains in effect.
The bulk water system will be carefully managed as the cuts continue. This latest round of water restrictions will be implemented alongside the existing water restrictions.
Not sure what the previous restrictions entailed? Here is what you need to know:
Prior to the 15% cut, Johannesburg was placed under a Level 2 restriction which means:
Gardens may not be watered/irrigated between 6h00am and 18h00pm;
No irrigation systems may be used during these hours. Only buckets, hand held hose pipes and water cans may be used to water the garden;
No swimming pool may be filled used municipal water; and
Cars and paved areas may not be washed using hose pipes.
In Gauteng, over 40% of all water use goes to watering gardens so the new water solutions implemented by the Department will easily save plenty of water should everyone comply. It is good to mention that the police have been asked to help the department in their effort to enforce these new water restrictions.
Change in the water tariffs
Along with the water restrictions, comes an expected change in the tariffs. Taken from a press release from the City of Johannesburg’s website, these are the changes that you can expect:
LEVEL 2 WATER RESTRICTION TARIFFS TO DOMESTIC CUSTOMERS
(Kilolitres per connection per month Normal Tariff. Note that 1 kilolitre = 1000 litres.)
% Increase R’ Increase (R/kl)
0-6: Free 0% R 0.00 Free
6-10: R 7.14 0% R 0.00 R 7.14
10-15: R 12.07 0% R 0.00 R 12.07
15-20: R 17.65 0% R 0.00 R 17.65
20-30: R 24.03 10% R 2.40 R 26.43
30-40: R 25.81 20% R 5.16 R 30.97
40: R 32.27 30% R 9.68 R 41.95
To enforce these new water restrictions, those who do not comply might be facing hefty fines of up to R 1 500. This means that if the police pass your home or business and see the gardens being watered unlawfully, they have the right to give you a fine which will be added onto your water bill. But the water restrictions are not the only solution, as the city is doing other things to save water. For instance, they have a leak detection system in place and they have undertaken to control the flow of water in order to save.
How can you save even more by using water solutions?
It certainly won’t hurt your pocket or the water situation if you were to start saving your own way. There are numerous things that you can do to start saving, whether it is something as small as making sure that you have dealt with any water leaks or something as big as setting up a grey water recycling system.
Grey water recycling systems, along with rainwater tanks, backup tanks, and water timers and bore holes, are all fantastic ways to save water. As mentioned before, watering gardens is often responsible for the most water use in Johannesburg so if you are able to collect grey water or rain water, or if you are able to draw your own water through a bore hole, you will be helping the water situation currently affecting Johannesburg. Grey water recycling systems are growing in popularity and now is a fantastic time to think about installing one of your own.
What is grey water and how is it used?
Grey water usually consists of water used to wash dishes or to clean laundry. It is safe to use when watering the garden, for washing cars or for cleaning. The grey water can be treated beforehand.
This recycled water is also known as gently used water as it has not come into contact with anything that could dangerously contaminate it. When water restrictions are put in place, grey water can become an efficient way to save water while keeping the vegetation, including food producing plants, well watered. You can invest in a quality grey water recycling system that is easy to install and that will have you benefitting instantly.
Saving water is not just for Johannesburg residents, or even Gauteng residents, rather water solutions can be used all over South Africa. You need to practice water efficiency when you are looking to save. And now is as good a time as any for water recycling and other water solutions to become a priority.
The City of Johannesburg has been ordered by the department of Water and Sanitation to immediately reduce water usage by 15%. While Level 2 water restrictions have been in effect since November 2015, the City of Johannesburg has now introduced a water restriction tariff on users which began September 5th, 2016.
Why is this happening?
Water levels have dropped below the threshold level of 60% in the Vaal River System and the Vaal River itself is now below 35%! This has been caused by a number of factors such as: draught, heat and climate change.
Existing Level Two water restrictions include:
Not watering or irrigating your garden between 06h00 and 18h00 (only hand held watering devices are permitted within these hours).
Not to fill your swimming pool with municipal water.
Not to use hose pipes to clean your car.
*If borehole water is being used this must be clearly advertised by the property owner.
Did you know that over 40% of water used in Gauteng is for personal gardening use? By adhering to the above rules the City of Johannesburg hopes to cut back this high usage. Should the above rules not be obeyed tariffs have been implemented.
The tariffs are as follows:
10% extra on consumption between 20,000 liters and 30,000 liters
20% extra on consumption between 30,000 liters and 40,000 liters.
30% extra on consumption above 40,000 liters.
Panicking about water restrictions and tariffs? Don’t let the water restrictions dictate your watering schedule.
Help your clients think Green from the beginning, one of our consultants can help you from the get go with your drawings and quoting process.
Don’t let Green be an after thought, contact us today to save the headache of last minute design and building changes. One of our Green Consultants will sit with you and your clients free of charge to assist with any Green needs.
For many the thought of going green immediately turns to electricity, solar power and other ways that can be used to save power. But water is just as important, if not more so, than electricity and is often completely forgotten about when discussions turn to ways that the planet can be saved. Water shortages have always plagued South Africa. In fact, South Africa is considered to be one of those water scarce countries where people need to turn to alternative methods for saving water.
Some of the best ways that you can save water are not just by storing it, but also by creating it from nothing at all. With the modern advancements that are getting better and better by the day, the constant improvements are bettering the ways that we can save water. You now have plenty of options when it comes to saving water. And you don’t just have to choose just one option, you can combine a range of options.
Discussing the different ways that you can save water
In some instances, using a system that is designed just to harvest or reclaim water, is the best way to start saving. But it is certainly not the only way that you can save your water. There are a number of ways for you to save water, and the best place to start is with the water within your home. The ways that you can save water are incredibly simple and anyone can implement these techniques. Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is always looking to assist people by offering the right technology, and we are also providing some interesting advice to assist you in your water saving activities.
Start saving water in these ways
Take a bucket into the shower
How long do you wait for the water to heat up before you start showering? While you are waiting for the shower to get hot, plenty of water is running down the drain and going to waste. There is a way that you can prevent the water from going to waste. The solution is to place a bucket in the shower while you are waiting and to capture all of that water. You can then use this water for whatever you like, such as watering the garden.
Install a rainwater harvesting system
A rainwater harvesting system is one of the best ways that you can save. For most of our households, the rain water goes to waste, falling onto a pavement or driveway and then running away. By placing the rainwater harvesting system in the area where the rain falls the most, you will be saving the water and be able to use that water on your garden during times when the rain is scarce.
Invest in a grey water system
Not all wastewater needs to go down the drain and to waste. While there is certain waste water that should not be reused, grey water systems are great for recycling dish water and shower water. Instead of it going down the drain, this water is diverted to another area of the home where it can be used. One of the most popular ways that the water can be reused is by diverting it to be used for flushing the toilet. Although they can be easily set up, they do require maintenance to keep them in a good running condition.
With South Africa’s growing population and its continued struggle with water, the people need to save water wherever possible. This is where grey water recycling has really shown it’s immense worth. Grey water recycling involves the redirecting of wastewater, mainly water that has been used for showering, doing laundry or washing dishes, for instance. This water is not exactly dirty, and while it cannot be used for drinking or cooking, it can be used for other purposes.
Many households that have installed this system have reported that they have been able to save up to 40% of their water. This system of recycling can be combined with a number of other systems, contributing to the total amount of water that you will end up saving. The process is affordable and the set up itself is also exceptionally affordable.
Grey water recycling is one of the ways that you will be saving on your water each month. Not only will you be noticing the difference in your monthly water bill but you are also going to be contributing to saving the planet’s sparse fresh water supply.
We are so pleased to share the recent photographs of a project completed by the Green Leaf team in Waterfall Country Estate. Our team helped Mr. and Mrs. Murray Smith Green their home. They wanted to save both energy and money. The installation of our system means there is no disruption during water and power outages.
The unfortunate Energy and Water dilemma that South Africa is facing is affecting everyday lives and businesses. The world is embracing Green and actively implementing Alternative Solutions into their businesses and personal lives. This leaves South African homeowners in an ideal position to take advantage of these solutions and implement them in their home and/or business.
At Green Leaf Alternative Solutions we believe our clients need to know about the various systems and products on offer in order for them to make informed decisions about building green from scratch or making their existing homes more green. Green Leaf has teamed up with Century Property Developments to present seminars which help to explain the various green systems and how to plan for them.
When commencing with a new build or considering a Green retrofit it is important to take the consider the following steps:
Educate yourself on the available options and products that are out on the market.
Prioritize your needs and start speaking to providers.
Allow for these choices in your overall design.
We plan to cover these topics at our seminar:
How Photo voltaic (Solar Power) systems work
How Solar Geysers work
How Grey Water Recycling Systems work
How to harvest rain water
This is great opportunity to find out what’s involved to ask those questions you have always want to ask. The free seminar is directed at stand owners in Helderfontein, Waterfall Estate, The Hills, and the Equestrian Estate.
As South Africa grapples the power crisis, a new crisis looms around the corner. It’s all over the news and in our own homes. Load shedding is a scary reality. While South Africans scramble to make plans to keep their own lights on a water crisis is waiting for us next around the corner.
One of Southern Africa’s biggest issues today is the lack of clean water available. According to The United Nations water around Africa is unevenly distributed, meaning that 60% of the water is situated in only 20% of the land.