I just received my water and electricity bill and was pleasantly surprised – a full R500 less than usual. Why am I surprised though? I’ve been working really hard at saving water. Although we’ve had lots of rain, to the point of flooding in many places, it hasn’t rained in our catchment areas which means the dams are pretty empty. (It depends who you listen to though – the CSIR report paints a less dire picture, and even says that all water restrictions in Ballito have been lifted).

I mentioned some of the water saving strategies before (here and here, a story about saving hail here, and the little penguin Esmerelda has some points here, here and here).

We were able to install a Jojo tank, and it is now full. In the case of water cuts we’ll be able to flush the toilets. And that is really where the biggest saving has come in: I’ve been flushing the toilets with captured gray water. Because it’s been raining, the garden doesn’t need any attention, but the bucket in the shower is still there. I also collect water from my son’s bath.

It’s a terrible schlep, but at this point I really believe that this is the least I can do. There is apparently a system one can buy that catches the bath and shower run-off, and it’s not very expensive, and it might be more convenient but I haven’t investigated it much yet.

We’re in this drought, and it is highlighted by terrible flash floods. When people start complaining I’m quick to say “are you really surprised? The climate scientists have been predicting this for 40 years.” That shuts everyone up.

There’s nothing I can do about the weather. I feel it’s good citizenship to be as sparing with my water usage as I can. It’s really hard because I drive past lush gardens with green lawns as they are hosing down their driveway and it makes me so angry, but I can’t change their behaviour. I have to trust that there are enough of us doing the hard work to keep us out of trouble.

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