Harvest rainwater and use it in the home

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 01 June 2011

Now that winter is here it’s a good time to install a rainwater tank and reduce your home’s reliance on Cape Town’s precious water.

5000 litre tank used to supply home with harvested rainwater


A rainwater tank is a great way to make a difference to the environment and reduce your annual household water and sewerage costs.

It’s always a good time to install a rainwater tank, and now makes good sense given our winter rainfall pattern.

The average rainfall for Cape Town is approximately 600mm per annum. 10mm of rain on 100sqm of roof provides up to 1000 litres of stored water. A 100sqm roof will provide a whopping 60,000 litres a year.

Homeowners have the ability to make a great difference to the local water supply simply by installing a tank and system that will allow for the use of the stored water throughout their home and garden.


Contrary to belief you don’t need a big tank to make good use of harvested rainwater for your home.

The size of the tank is calculated using the roof catchment area, type of roof, number of people in the home, etc., and the tank can be as small as 1500 litres. Harvested rainwater is drawn down constantly and replenished at each rainfall. So it makes no sense to have 10000 litres of storage capacity when the roof size and rainfall cannot fill the tanks. Continue reading

Cape Town call to conserve water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 October 2010

Climate change is already a reality, and the lower rainfall patterns this winter are threatening crops and other livelihoods in the Western and Southern Cape and Cape Town. This is exacerbated by the increase in economic activity in the Western Cape – a positive trend in many ways – which has placed a greater demand on the city’s water resources.

The City of Cape Town is therefore calling on all residents, visitors and businesses to work together to conserve this precious and life-giving resource.

One important way in which everyone can help save water is by adhering to the City’s Water By-Law. The By-Law requires that property owners pay attention to water leaks and fit water-saving devices such as taps, showerheads and cisterns to their household plumbing installations. Other ways to save include reducing the amount of water wastage, not letting water run unnecessarily, recycling water (using washing-up water, for example, to water gardens), reducing water consumption by fitting a controlling device such as a sprayer to gardening hoses, washing vehicles (if at all) by using automatic shut off nozzles on hoses or buckets and by paying for the water that is used.

The City’s Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Strategy also offers an excellent framework for achieving increased water conservation. Among the measures proposed and implemented in this strategy are pipe/meter replacement, leak repairs, pressure management and consumer awareness.

The re-use of treated effluent (which of course undergoes additional filtration processes before distribution) for irrigation and industrial processes, is already being promoted as an alternative means of further reducing the demand on potable (drinkable) water resources. The City is investing in the expansion of its treated effluent reticulation infrastructure in order to increase availability to consumers across the city.

Similarly increased efforts are also underway to promote the use of boreholes, well points, greywater and rainwater harvesting as additional alternative water sources.

The City firmly believes in the principle of ‘practice what you preach’ and will ensure that staff, officials and operations save water at work and at home.

“If we wait until the situation is that bad, it will be too late for us to save water,” says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayco Member: Utility Services. “We need to be proactive as a City and are confident that the people of Cape Town will join us, as they have done in the past, and recognise that together we can all achieve more and at a more rapid pace.”

Source: City of Cape Town

Rainwater Harvesting: market analysis

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 August 2010

Analysis of Rainwater Harvesting Market in Europe and India provides an in-depth analysis of the rainwater harvesting (RWH) market in Europe and India. This research service analyses the revenues generated by the installation of rainwater harvestings systems in residential, industrial and commercial end-user segments.

Industrialisation and a growing population have given rise to a severe fresh water shortage in many countries. RWH, which involves the collection and storage of rainwater, is an affordable and sustainable solution to this problem.

Although RWH has been practiced for several years, it is only in recent years that countries have given it a serious thought with several passing legislations and offering incentives to promote the concept. A significant driver for the RWH market in India has been the state level legislations that have made RWH mandatory for all new buildings in certain states.

The key driver in Europe has been the steep water prices with several European countries topping the global water tariff list.

Majority of the states in India have passed legislations making the installation of RWH systems in all buildings mandatory. The state of Tamil Nadu was among the first to take this initiative and has witnessed considerable success.

In Europe, countries, such as Denmark and Germany have the highest water tariffs in the world. In addition to the legislations and high water tariffs, certain countries also offer incentives to promote the concept of rainwater harvesting. These initiatives have resulted in significant growth in Europe and several other countries, such as the United Kingdom and France. These are expected to help double-digit growth in the coming years. Continue reading

SA dams: a rapidly worsening water crisis

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 June 2010

By Bill Harding, a limnologist (aquatic sciences), who has been involved with issues to do with SA dams since the ’70s

South Africans will be aware that our country is not blessed with abundant rainfall, with an average of only 450mm a year, compared with the global average of 860mm a year.

Without substantial supplies of underground water, we rely heavily on water that is stored in dams. Our reliance on stored water is rendered critical by population growth and industrial expansion. Water resources per capita of population are dwindling.

Brandvlei Dam. Pressure on many dams is increasing, with a considerable portion of their inflows made up of wastewater effluents and urban runoff.

At the same time, pressure on many dams is increasing, with a considerable portion of their inflows made up of waste-water effluents and urban runoff.

The Department of Water Affairs and Environment manages 574 dams, of which 320 are major dams, each holding more than a million cubic metres of water. From this storage, irrigation uses 62%; urban and domestic use equals 27%; and mining, industry and power generation absorb 8%. Commercial forestry utilises 3%.

Evidence suggests that the quality of about 35% of the storable volume is already severely impaired – and nearly all of this in the economic heartland of Gauteng. Water quality is in fact poorest in the areas with lowest runoff and highest contribution to GDP.

Insidious and sinister changes are appearing in some dams, completely unnoticed by routine monitoring programmes. From this it may be reasonably assumed that SA would possess a national programme for reservoir management.

In recent months there have been many reports referring to a water crisis, mentioning the extreme levels of pollution in most Gauteng dams. Continue reading

Water security risk highest in Africa

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 24 June 2010

African nations led by Somalia, Mauritania and Sudan have the most precarious water supplies in the world while Iceland has the best, according to a survey on Thursday that aims to alert companies to investment risks.

Somalian child drinking dirty water

The ranking, compiled by British-based risk consultancy Maplecroft, said climate change and a rising world population meant that stresses on supplies would be of increasing concern in coming decades for uses from farming to industry.

A “water security risk index” of 165 nations found African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable supplies, judged by factors including access to drinking water, per capita demand and dependence on rivers that first flow through other nations.

Somalia, where just 30 percent of the population has clean drinking water, topped the list above Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkmenistan and Syria.

At the other end of the scale, rain-soaked Iceland had the most secure supplies, slightly better than Norway and New Zealand.

“With climate change there is going to be a greater strain on limited water resources in many nations,” Anna Moss, author of the study, told Reuters.

Shifts in monsoon rains and melting of glaciers, for instance, could disrupt supplies with the potential to cause cross-border conflicts. Construction of hydropower dams or more irrigation, for instance, can disrupt supplies downriver. Continue reading