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LOCAL TIME: 11:41 pm | Tuesday, 29 September
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Dealing with water shortages

Categories: Green Living, Nature & Outdoors

Suggestions for dealing with the impending disruption of water shortages


We continue to recommend that all households install some form of rainwater capture to a tank, no matter how small. Every bit will help. Note however, that you may not fill tanks with municipal water as this constitutes illegal hoarding; it must be rainwater only!

Having correct information will be critical. Join a reputable social media group that regularly puts out accurate information (I recommend the Facebook group Water Shedding Western Cape, a large group with membership of over 100,000 informed and helpful "water warriors"; or 'like' ShowMe Paarl to receive my weekly newsletters; or visit Also beware of false news and rumours - do not yourself post or share any item unless you are convinced of its accuracy.

Start considering your household security and what you may need to do to stay safe and protect any water storage systems that you have installed, including swimming pool water.

Consider dealing with fire. Best is to stop any fire before it takes hold. As water may not be available, buy a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket, study and understand how to use them and keep both in your kitchen. And/or fill one or two buckets with builders sand or dry sea sand and keep them handy to help smother a fire. If you live near open areas, this may be a good time to remove any undergrowth to prevent wild fires reaching your house.

Take care of your geyser(s). If electric geysers are emptied and cannot be refilled by cold water then the elements could overheat and burn out. If the water is off for a long time it might be safer to switch the geysers off. Similarly, solar water heaters will need care and may need to be covered to prevent overheating and damage if the water supply is cut up for a long period. Best consult your installers for advice.

Check that taps are always closed. If left open during a water outage flooding and wastage could occur if the water supply is restored while the tap is still open.

Think about the possibility of creating a composting dry toilet in the event that water-borne sewerage fails.

Take a look at your household insurance. Check with your broker and make sure that it covers both house and contents for all possible eventualities over the coming long hot summer. If you don't already have it, consider adding SASRIA insurance to cover events arising from social unrest.

Stay positive and find ways to help save water and contribute to solutions, also at your work.