Water-wise winners share saving secrets

Fanie Brits of Bellville and Claire Müller of Wynberg were the two winners in our water-wise competition.

Ms Müller and Mr Brits, each won R500 Stodels vouchers in the competition featured in the Cape Community Newspapers, which publishes Athlone News, alongside articles about water-wise gardening. We received 63 entries from across the peninsula, showing that Capetonians are committed to saving water at all times.

In his entry, Mr Brits said they had installed 5 000-litre and 2 000-litre water tanks to harvest rainwater. The smaller one is undercover, with a filter to keep the water from the roof, going into the tank, clean.

“My wife uses this tank water to do her washing and only uses tap water for the rinsing cycle.

“All the water used for the washing of clothes, is re-used in the garden.

“When we shower, we stand in a tub, and all that water is also used in the garden. We do not (use the) bath at all,” Mr Brits said in his entry.

He said they have three toilets and have placed a brick in each of the cisterns to limit the water used for flushing.

“We have paved most of the front garden and sidewalk, and use the water from the washing machine to water palms, cycads, roses and a lemon tree in the front garden. Half of our back yard is also paved, with only a small patch of grass, and cycads and palms are planted in beds. We have two areas for growing veggies, some of the produce already being harvested and frozen for winter.

“The veggie garden is also watered with tank water, and water from the shower,” said Mr Brits.

“Our paving areas are swept, not hosed down. Our water consumption is not more than six kilolitres in winter and slightly more in summer. Mr Stodel’s tips are appreciated, and implemented, thank you,” he said.

Ms Müller said that she was a very new gardener. “I only decided to start gardening in October last year, and since then it has been something that I cannot believe I have never considered before,” she said in her competition entry. “It was rather bad timing as shortly thereafter the water restrictions were announced. I prepared as much as I could beforehand by ensuring that 80 percent of the plants that I purchased would be water-wise,” said Ms Müller. “I do have a lawn in the front garden and that is something that always suffers during extreme heat. I am fortunate enough to work at a very large company where we have a coffee bar.

“While researching the different ways to ensure the best natural remedies for grass, I found out that coffee granules are high in nitrogen and great for lawns and selected other plants. Once a week, the coffee barristers fill up my five-litre bucket full of nitrogen-rich coffee granules and I use that on the lawn to keep it green. That still left me with a problem as to water, since I only have potable water on my property, I bought a 50-litre bin and my father attached a tap to it and drilled a hole in the lid. Every time we use the washing machine, we feed the pipe through the hole and in doing so re-use 50 litres of grey water for the grass and plants.

“I often get asked how I get the grass to stay so green and now you have the secret,” said Ms Müller.