Saving water

The grey water system at Lilly Haven.

As the drought in the province worsens, residents are looking at various ways of saving every drop of water.

At the Lily Haven Place in Bonteheuwel, a grey water system is being used to nourish their vegetable garden.

Beetroot, cabbage, green pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, onion, and spinach are among the vegetables harvested from the garden, a vital source of food for those who live at the home.

The vegetable garden was funded by Shoprite and Urban Harvest as part of their Nelson Mandela Day project last year.

Urban Harvest is a social enterprise which partners with companies who build and sustain edible gardens.

Every few months Urban Harvest replenishes the soil and asks the home what vegetables they need. They are currently gearing up to plant winter vegetables.

Benches have also been placed outside for the elderly to relax in the sun and admire the vegetable garden.

To save water, residents collect bath water in a bucket.

The water is then sent through a purifying system.

It then goes into another bucket and is drawn into the sprinkler system through a hosepipe.

The home was established in 1972 and houses more than 120 senior men and women.

Xolela Mbilini, manager at Lily Haven Place, said the vegetable garden is important as they are an NPO which does not get enough funds from the government.

The vegetables are used to make meals for the residents every day and help to cut food costs. The menu for the day is entirely up to which vegetables are ready for eating at the time.

The City of Cape Town said Level 4 water restrictions are on the cards, which means that municipal water can only be used for drinking, cooking and washing. Should council approve Level 4 restrictions, it will take effect from Thursday June 1.

This means that municipal water cannot be used for washing cars, watering gardens or irrigation, and no new golf courses or sports fields can be built unless they will be watered with non-potable water. The restriction will also limit residents to 100 litres of water per person per day.

Mr Mbilini said that the grey water system was a brilliant initiative as they needed to find a way to keep the garden running without using precious drinking water.

He said that the garden benefits the home more than just providing food for the pensioners. It also gives them something to do and they often walk around the garden during the day.

“This is really the best thing to have as it gives the residents something to look forward to,” he said.

On Monday, Premier Helen Zille officially declared the Western Cape a disaster area. This is the worst drought since 1904.