How the water restrictions might impact your health
Gauteng, though experiencing heavy rains recently, is still under Level 2 water supply restrictions. There hasn’t been mention of whether the rainfall has helped Gauteng municipalities like Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni avoid Level 3 water supply restriction, which would resemble load shedding.
Residents, businesses and other water communities supplied by Rand Water are still encouraged to save water as much as possible. While consumers are being implored to help to conserve water by using it as responsibly as possible, it is important to keep your health in mind.
There are ways to save water while keeping your health a priority.
In the bathroom
While it’s encouraged to take shorter showers, eliminate instances where water might be left running and to save water in the toilet tank – like adding a brick to your cistern to use less water – some areas are a no-go.
If you have children, they may easily misconstrue all the little changes you are making around your home geared towards saving water. “If we can’t brush our teeth with the water running because we need to save water, then washing our hands after using the toilet will waste even more water,” might be their reasoning.
Assure your kids that washing their hands is still vital, but encourage them to plug the sink each time they do. That way they will use less water while saying as germ-free as possible.
Businesses can also implement the “sink plug” policy.
The “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” policy is not as hygienic or appealing. Rather opt for toilets that don’t use up too much water.
In the kitchen
With the threat of Level 3 water supply restrictions looming, storing water in the house for emergencies is the prudent thing to do. Should the current water situation deteriorate to that point, consumers will have to store water in advance for use around the house and drinking.
When buying containers and other storage material, should the need arise, water users need to keep in mind that not all containers are made equal. The best plastic containers are those that are BPA-free. They present lower health risk when people ingest water (and other items) stored over long periods.
Storing water for long periods and then consuming it without treatment – such boiling it – also poses a health risk as it may have collected bacteria. Most of us come from a background that has had to store water, the drums and bottles even have names that cement their significance.
It’s still important to wash fruit before you eat it and your hands before meals. Read about ways you can do this while saving water.
What are your water-related concerns?
Listen to Bob discuss waterborne diseases, what is causing the water crisis in South Africa and 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference happening in Paris next week.