Harry's handy tips for reducing your water footprint

  • November 18, 2015

Even though a little rain has fallen of late, water supply levels in the Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metros continue to be dangerously low.

Small efforts go a long way when it comes to saving water. Photo courtesy of Joe Dyer

With this in mind, Maropeng’s spokeshominid, Harry the Hominid, wants to encourage you to be water wise and reduce your water footprint.

“A water footprint measures how much water you use – both directly (for your own personal needs like washing and cooking) and indirectly (how much water we use to produce the items we use or eat every day)," he says. "It's very important that we don’t waste water and look at ways of shrinking our water footprint as much as possible."

Harry says many people do not realise just how much water it takes to produce daily items that we take for granted. Consider, for example, that it takes 140 litres of water to produce just one cup of coffee; 2 400 litres for 100g of chocolate; and 100 litres to grow 1kg of potatoes. Harry explains, “The water footprint of a product is the total volume of freshwater used either directly or indirectly to produce the product over the entire supply line.”

Everyone can play a part in reducing their footprint by making some minor changes in their eating and social habits, he says. By eating less meat and more vegetables you shrink your water footprint immediately. Other everyday water-saving tips include:

  • Do not water your garden from the tap. Rather, harvest rainwater and, in times of drought, grey water (dirty bath- and dishwater) for irrigation instead
  • Fix and upgrade leaky taps and toilets or install low-flow fixtures
  • Change your personal water habits. Take shorter showers, turn off water when brushing your teeth or shaving, and don’t leave the tap running while you are using soap to wash your hands

If you follow these simple hints you could save up to 260 litres of water per day.

“If we all try to save water there will be more water to go around and no one will be left thirsty. Let’s work together to save water today,” says Harry.

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