Water is a very important resource giving life to humans, plants and animals. Water is quite a strategic resource that is also at the centre of socio-economic activities that include agriculture, health, energy, manufacturing, tourism, transport and construction among others.
However, it must be appreciated that water is a finite resource that needs to be sustainably extracted and utilised. Failure to sustainably use the available water will lead to serious water challenges for present and future generations.
The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water stressed areas. The advent of climate change, whose effects have begun to manifest in many parts of the world, combined with unsustainable extraction of the resource, is set to significantly contribute to the envisaged future water challenges. Already the impact of climate change is being felt in many countries, including Zimbabwe, through unpredictable rainfall patterns, droughts, flooding and prolonged intra season dry spells.
What needs to be done?
With water being a finite resource, it is incumbent that all water users use the available water in a sustainable manner and this includes water conversation. The responsibility to conserve water is no longer the business of water utilities and local authorities alone. Small water conservation efforts by many people can make a big difference.
In most cases we waste lots of water in the home through very small and seemingly insignificant habits and actions.
Did you know?
A full toilet flush can use up to 15 litres of water per flush. Placing a brick or other displacement material in the toilet cistern can reduce this amount to 6 litres per flush
Long showers can use up to four buckets of water every minute
The toilet can account for up to 27 percent of a household’s average daily water consumption
A leaking toilet may not be noticed but can lose as much as 16 000 litres of water per year
A hose pipe can use as high as 1000 litres of water per hour making the use of watering cans or buckets ideal
Turning the tap off when brushing your teeth can save 6 litres of water per minute
A dripping tap can waste as high as 15 litres of water day
Water conservation tips in the home
A lot of water in inadvertently wasted in the homes daily. The following practices can result in a household using less water and consequently reduce their monthly water bills:
Using buckets when bathing and not the shower
Where the shower is used, fix it with a low flow or small shower head
Using buckets to water gardens instead of using hose-pipes
Placing a brick in the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water used to flush
Growing drought resistant flowers and lawns
Using water from swimming pools and other uses to water plants
Using water from water glasses, mugs, tumblers or cups when brushing teeth instead of using a running tap
Watering the gardens early in the morning or in the evening when evaporation is low
Using grey water to water plants
Using buckets and not hose pipes when washing cars
Repairing leaking taps and toilet cisterns
Using smaller toilet cisterns
Doing laundry using dishes and not sing running taps
Washing dishes in water filled sinks as opposed to using running taps
Water conservation tips in the field
Agriculture remains one of the top users of water in Zimbabwe. It is therefore imperative that farmers practice water conservation in their activities. The following can be done to reduce water use on in the fields:
Using water efficient irrigation methods such as drip
Repairing all leakages along the irrigation system
Irrigating in the morning or late afternoon
Understanding the different water requirements for crops at different stages of maturity
Avoiding irrigating on windy days
Growing drought resistant crops