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Grey Water for Your Garden

The water crisis in Cape Town has reach new heights, with Day Zero fast approaching. The phrase “every drop counts” means a lot more now, and the need for every individual to take responsibility for their water usage has become critical. In a collective effort to save the little water we have left, Capetonians are being saving savvy, using every means possible to not only save the water that sits in the dams, but reusing water in their homes.

Grey water – that is, waste water from baths, showers, washing machines and kitchen sinks – has become an essential part of the water saving strategy. Although requiring a bit more effort, using grey water can reduce the city’s water consumption by approximately 30%. Emptying grey water into a household toilet cistern, for example, saves an estimated 30ℓ of water per day. Grey water is also a fantastic alternative to keeping your garden alive and thriving – here are some handy tips on how to beat the water shortages.

Using Water from Your Bathrooms

Brushing your teeth and showering are practices that occur on a daily basis. With a shower using use an average of 7.9ℓ per minute, and brushing of teeth using an average of 5.6ℓ per day, a large volume or reusable water is created. By replumbing the water from the bathroom basins and drains, water can be diverted to water the plants in your garden. Alternatively, place large bowls and buckets on the shower floor and in the basin to catch the excess run off, and empty the buckets onto your flower beds and or use them to flush your toilets.

Using Water from your Laundry

The water from your washing machine is a great alternative to catching water, due to the sheer volume of water used by washing machines. If harsh laundry detergents aren’t used in your washing machine, the water can be caught and used to water trees or landscape plants. Phosphates found in some detergents may harm the plants in your garden, so take care to use an environmentally friendly laundry powder that will not have a negative impact on the plants. Grey water from washing machines is most suitable for established trees and lawns. Should you not be using eco-friendly washing detergents and softeners then the water can be used for flushing the toilet.

Using Water from the Kitchen

The cold water from the kitchen sink that runs first before the water becomes hot can be used to indoor water plants. Place a large bowl or bucket underneath the tap to catch the run off, and reuse it by pouring it onto flower beds and pot plants. In addition, the rinse water from washing the dishes can also be used, although in this instance the water should be used within 24 hours to avoid bad odour. Reusing the water from steaming or boiling vegetables, is another fantastic option, as the water contains nutrients that are beneficial for the plants in the garden. Simply pour the used water from the cooking pot into pot plants and flower beds.

Grey water usage not only reduces the amount of water entering the city’s sewers, but reduces the demands of the public on water supply from dams. Providing grey water for your garden will encourage growth and provide a green place of solace amidst a difficult season. Every drop counts – use it wisely.


Andre Ter Moshuizen Estate Agent

082 602 1367 |

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