THE pressure is on Western Cape residents to cut down on their water usage to delay the threat of Day Zero, estimated to be in March.

The Weekend Argus spoke to residents as well as politicians about their water-saving methods.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille said she was serious about saving water and had put a number of water-saving measures in place.

She said she showers briefly every three days but washes at the basin every day.

She has also begun water-saving measures at Leeuwenhof. “We are busy with measures to divert the newly purified water at Leeuwenhof into the municipal system.”

Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said he limited his shower to less than two minutes. He uses a bucket in the shower to catch the run-off water to flush his toilets.

He has installed seven rainwater-harvesting tanks at his home, which have a combined capacity of 50000 litres.

Mayor Patricia de Lille also limits her shower time to under two minutes and places buckets in the shower to catch the water. “I then use the water in that bucket in the shower to flush the toilet.

“In the kitchen, we keep the dish-washing water to use throughout the day for dishes. The amount of laundry done weekly has also been reduced.

“Early last year I closed the swimming pool at my house, there is no watering of the garden and the cars are washed using waterless car wash products,” said De Lille.

Other residents have also reduced their water usage. Patrick Searle of Fairways said his family were going to the extreme to save water and their water bill was proof of their efforts.

Searle said last year he realised the water crisis was going to get worse so he decided to remove his grass and replace it with paving as well as remove his bath.

His household consists of three people and all have made a number of sacrifices to save water.

He said they used basin and buckets to catch water in the shower, which they used to flush the toilet. They also catch water used to brush their teeth and wash their hands to flush the toilet. He also said they limited their showers for the week.

“We save our dishes for the day and only wash up once in the evening. We also do our washing once a week on a quick wash.”

He has taken measures with his pool. “I connected a plastic pipe to the downpipe from the gutter that leads to the pool.”

Any rain water runs into his pool and he doesn’t use potable water to fill up his pool.

“A couple of months ago I bought a water tank. It is called a backwash tank.”

He said the backwash water from the pool was diverted into the water tank and drained back into the pool.

He has a pool cover which prevents the water from evaporating and keeps the water cleaner for longer.

He said the measures take were reflected on his water bill.

Before he began saving water his bill had been between R200 and R300 a month, but for the past few months it was zero and since the free allowance ended he now pays between R8 and R12 a month.

Everybody needed to do their bit to save water during this crisis, said Searle.

“We all need to try our best to save.”

Should the water crisis subside, he and his family would continue to save water, he said.

In February, the Weekend Argus interviewed Vivien Sebastian from Athlone about her water-saving strategies.

She used a plastic bowl in her sink to catch water and then used that water to wash her dishes.

She said she first wiped off her dishes to get most of the dirt off before she washed it in the water.

She also caught the water she used to wash her fruit, vegetables and rice to water her garden.

She used buckets in her shower to catch water, also placing a brick in her cistern to use less water when flushing.

Interviewed again recently, she said she had continued to save water but made adjustments to ensure she saved even more.

“I still use the same methods as before, although I really try to keep my washing loads less and waiting until I have a full load not even using the half-load option.

“Also normally I would take a glass of water to bed but I would find that when I don’t drink it during the night, it is wasted.

"So instead I get up rather to drink water when I’m thirsty. Other than that I am still on my water-saving mission,” said Sebastian.