One of my favourite smells is that rich earthy scent just after it’s rained. There hasn’t been too much of that lately, though. South Africa is currently experiencing a drought so bad that the water in the Vaal Dam is almost at critical level.
I remember going fishing with my dad and uncles when I was a kid. We swam and canoed and came home with enough catfish to fill the freezer. I can’t imagine how empty the dam is right now. But these pictures give an idea.
— City of Joburg (@CityofJoburgZA) October 13, 2016
Just about every week, I see someone sharing posts on Facebook encouraging us to cut down on our water usage, and to save water however we can. We’re also under water restrictions, which include:
- no watering of gardens between 6am and 6pm, and only using handheld containers instead of a hosepipe to do so, and
- no washing of cars with a hosepipe
I wanted to teach the girls about the importance of saving water, so I made it our theme for school this week. They’re really into Captain Planet, so we also talked about how they can be “planeteers” by saving water. We did raindrop-themed maths activities, and Emmy had a raindrop-themed alphabet matching activity.
We also did a science experiment – which Angie was really excited about because she’s determined that when she grows up she wants to be a scientist. I drew the water cycle on the outside of a ziploc bag, put a little bit of water inside, sealed it and taped it to the lounge window. The idea was to show evaporation and condensation. It’s still in the window; the girls enjoy checking it at different times of the day to see what’s happening.
We’ve also started talking about how we as a family can save water. The girls bath together unless it’s hairwash night, and some nights they skip bathtime. (Usually when Jacques is finishing late and I don’t have the energy to bath two wild children and try to simultaneously put the baby to sleep.) Jacques and I shower with a bucket to catch the water. We use this grey water to water the grass, but only after 6pm. Our neighbour walked past the other night, and thought it was strange that Jacques was watering the grass in the dark.
And, as gross as it is, I’m encouraging the girls not to flush every time they use the toilet – “if it’s yellow, let it mellow”. I also have to remind them not to use a lot of water when they wash their hands, because not washing is not negotiable.
We have plans to set up a pipe attachment so that the grey water can go directly into the garden instead of down the drain. We also want to get a big JoJo tank to collect rainwater, but those are quite pricey so it’s going to have to wait a while.
We’ve also been praying for rain during our morning prayer time. It’s so sweet to hear my girls asking God to send rain for the flowers and plants, and to hear them give thanks when it has rained.
How are you reducing your water usage?