How to be water wise

Private Property South Africa
Belinda Mountain

Conserve this scarce resource with these sustainable solutions.

With restrictions being declared in Gauteng in October and the country in the midst of the worst drought in over 20 years, most homeowners are looking for ways to conserve water.

Grant Neser, MD, JoJo Tanks, says that his company is currently experiencing a significant increase in enquiries, with sales of water tanks picking up sharply over the last two weeks. “The looming water crisis is a global issue, not just a South African issue. Water is an extremely fragile resource that’s increasingly under threat due to climate change, increasing populations and rapid urbanisation,” he says.

According to Grant, a properly designed rainwater-harvesting system collects rain so efficiently that the smallest roof and the lightest rainfall can lead to significant water savings. For example, a 50m2 roof can collect approximately 23,000 litres of water a year.

Sarah Reid, owner, Eco-h2o Water Conservation Systems, says the company has experienced growth of around 40% year on year over the last six years. “Our most popular system is the rainwater-harvesting system, as it gives you the biggest saving,” she says.

Costs to install these systems vary, but Sarah says the average price for a rainwater system with a tank, filters, pressure pump, manifold override and installation is between R40,000 to R50,0000. A grey water system can cost around R15,000 and a pool backwash system R9,000. “If an average household installs both the rainwater and grey water systems, they should save around 70% – 80% of their monthly water bill in the summer months, and 35% in the winter months,” she says.

William Heslop, owner, Baobab Water Solutions, says that when the news of water restrictions in Joburg was announced, the number of enquiry emails increased by 250%, and the activity on the company’s website more than trebled. He says that most people are asking for grey water recycling systems. “People may be thinking that if there is no rainfall, there is no point in installing rainwater tanks, but this is not the case. There will be some rain (as experienced recently), and every drop is worth harvesting,” he says.

“Water is going to become more expensive as it becomes scarcer, so any investment in water-saving products is a good one, and will see a return in the medium term.”

Water wise tips from JoJo Tanks

  • 2,000 litres a month.
  • Use phosphate-free, eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products.
  • Use a dishwasher with at least a 3-star/AAA rating.
  • Install a 3-star/AAA rating showerhead and save 10 litres of water a minute.
  • Rinse your razor in a little water in a plugged sink instead of under a running tap.

See for yourself:

JoJo tanks

013 262 7900


Sara, 083 654 9613

Baobab Water

082 348 3953

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

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