Cape Town - Following the recent implementation of new water restrictions in Cape Town there has been a spike in sales of water saving items such as water tanks, pool covers and drought-resistant plants.
Last month, the city council implemented Level 3 water restrictions - which means residents are prohibited from using sprinklers or hoses to water gardens.
Nick Stodel, managing director at Stodels Nurseries, said with the introduction of the latest Level 3 restrictions in the Western Cape, everybody had to make an extra effort to conserve water.
Stodel said it was not all doom and gloom for gardeners because the municipality had taken some of the industry's comments and advice to heart.
“The reality is that we all need to be more water wise, starting by choosing less thirsty indigenous plants, using more containers and pots, making sure we are watering correctly with no wastage and generally putting more thought and planning into our gardens.
"When there may not be enough water for people to drink, watering of gardens cannot be the priority.”
He said retaining water has been a
big trend, with sales of products such as bark, mulch, organic fertilisers, compost and water solubles increasing by up to 400 percent.
“We have also seen an increase in the purchase of indigenous and succulent plants.
"Volumes in sales of more water-thirsty plants have dropped, for example roses, new guinea impatiens and petunias, to name a few.”
Brian Leroni, group corporate affairs executive at Massmart, owners of retailers including Builders Warehouse and Makro, said: “We have been surprised by a significant increase in the sales of solar swimming pool blankets that are intended to heat pool water, but that are also a very effective way to reduce water evaporation.
"Our water tanks and water pumps category has also seen high sales growth, our 750l Slimline tank and pump combo is the most popular seller at a price of R3 999.
"We have also experienced extraordinarily high customer demand for our energy efficient JoJo booster pump, which retails for R1 500.”
The group also found more customers buying the Builders Warehouse range of Water Smart plants while recording lower sales of plastic kiddies pools.
Anton van Heerden, executive vice-president for Africa and Middle East at Sage, said business owners could play an important part in conserving water resources while reducing their utility bills by embracing water efficiency as a way of life.
“In doing so, they can play a valuable role in assisting the country to manage the effects of prolonged drought.”
Van Heerden said some industries that rely on water to produce goods and services such as gyms, laundromats, agribusinesses, restaurants, hair dressers, car washes and many factories would face a challenge.
In a statement issued last week, the city council said there had been a steady decline in the volume of water used since the previous week, with total consumption standing at an average of 854 million litres a day as opposed to between 870 and 890 million litres in the week from November 14 to 21.