Expert tips to curb water woes  

South Africa has grappled with the dual predicament of enduring prolonged water scarcity nationwide, further exacerbated by the persistent energy crisis. Amid these pressing concerns, there’s a vital need for South Africans to prioritise water conservation – whether for personal consumption, household activities, or business operations.   

Holding dropplets of water under an open tap.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

The water crisis in and around the City of Johannesburg has deeply concerned both businesses and residents. The unpredictability of water availability has disrupted the flow of business and daily life to such an extent that some have resorted to seeking alternative solutions to mitigate the inconvenience caused by it. 

During the first quarter of 2024, the city has already encountered water outages averaging two days per week. While speculation suggests that maintenance work may be the cause of the outages, the uncertainty and lack of a proper schedule regarding this has led to a vote of no confidence by residents and businesses. Their concern stems from the belief that the country may have reached a point where it has run out of water, and that water shedding might become a permanent aspect of life, akin to what we have grown accustomed to with electricity.  

For most consumers, alternative methods of ensuring regular and consistent water access have become highly sought after. While customers are striving for cost efficiency and ensuring that there is consistency in the supply of water, various retailers and hardware stores can provide solutions for their customers by stocking up on water conservation products.  

Expert Tips  

Builders, a leading retailer in home improvement and DIY solutions, offers invaluable tips and solutions to empower consumers in their efforts to conserve water and prepare for prolonged water outages in their residential or commercial areas.  

Megan Gounden, vice president of merchandise at Builders, underscores the importance of consumer action and preparedness. “It’s crucial for individuals to take proactive steps and be equipped for potential water disruptions in their communities,” he explains.   

As a permanent solution and ways to improve homes to make up for any water disruptions, Gouden recommends that some home improvements that can be done to homes can include buying appropriate tank for the size of the family (assume 150 litres per person per day), water pump, connector kit, pump cover, applicable fittings and pipe, optional water filtration, either whole house or under counter/counter top. While doing a renovation consumers might also consider installing an energy efficient water heating system like a solar geyser, integrated heat pump or point of use water heaters to save electricity.  

Moreover, when including the above to your home, he advises that consumers must make sure that they keep to manufacturers recommendations with regards to things like plinths for the tanks, electrical connections of pumps and plumbing connections. These should be done by qualified tradesmen where a Certificate of Compliance is necessary. Consumers should also make sure they understand the warranty terms of the products. Additionally, consumers may need back-up electricity for the pump to operate during loadshedding. If a filter is installed, the filter cartridges would need changing every six to eight months, depending on water quality. It is advisable to treat the water in the tank from time to time with treatment products and inspect and clean the tank when necessary.  

He adds that in the case where water tanks are not integrated into the municipal supply, consumers should rotate the water in the tank on a regular basis and treat it with water treatment products to make sure it stays fresh and safe. This is because water stored for a long time is a hazard.  

In a case where consumers are not yet able to integrate permanent solutions to their homes, there are alternative means to deal with abrupt water supply interruptions to ensure that the basic water needs within the house are taken care of.  

Here are five practical strategies and solutions that consumers can implement to fulfil their responsibility and readiness in the face of extended water shortages:  

  • Consumers can harvest rainwater with water tanks, these come in a range of sizes and are purpose-built for safely storing water and other liquids  
  • Understand your region and its water needs – use recycled water for your gardens as well as invest in water saving plants  
  • Install municipal back-up tanks with a low energy pump, this will ensure you still have water supply during prolonged outages 
  • Consumers can also use energy efficient water heating solutions such as heat pumps or point of use water heaters which save energy and water around the home, you only heat the water that you use instead of boiling 150 or 200 litres in a geyser  
  • Use the water tank gauge to know just how much rainwater you have.  

Builders offer full turnkey solutions including installation.  

For more information, call: 011 215 000.  

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