(Published - 7 September 2018)
The rainy season is almost over, but things are finally looking up for dry Cape Town. There was cause for celebration this week when it was announced that the city’s dams are two-thirds full due to recent downpours.
And while some believe the drought is now something of the past, UWC’s Nature Reserve staff is still hard at work to save water and maintain the institution’s commitment to being a greener, more environmentally friendly space. They are also dedicated to upholding UWC’s reputation as the greenest campus on the continent.
The staff installed water tanks at the reserve, which illustrated their worth during the recent water cuts on campus.
“The Nature Reserve admin building has become the first building on campus to run our toilet flushing system entirely on rain water collected by two 2,500 litre water tanks, and this is just the initial step to continuing on this positive trend,” said Hestelle Melville, Manager of the Reserve.
Melville said they have installed another three 1,000 litre rainwater collection tanks. The water is for general use such as watering the nursery plants.
“We would like to encourage staff and students to keep saving water to help uphold and continue improving UWC’s status as the greenest campus in Africa. We’ve done it for a third year and I would like to see us improving on our green status every year,” said Melville.
Reserve staff member Robin Adams provided these tried and tested tips on how to get started and how to maintain a rainwater system at home.
Rooftops: Ensure rooftops are cleaned regularly to avoid runoff contamination. It is best to do this before the rainy season, since the dry season brings dust, leaves, dead insects and animal excrement that accumulates on the roof.
Gutters: Install gutter mesh or clear any leaves and debris in your gutter to prevent blockage in your rainwater system. To limit leaf litter, cut or trim back any overhanging branches.
Pre-filtration: Frequently check your pre-filtration device or filter which is installed between the inlet pipe and the water tank to ensure it is free of leaves or debris.
Tank screen: Regularly clean the screens to prevent blockage.
Keep your tank clean: Seal your tank correctly to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and evaporation from occurring. Check the inside of your tank every 3 months to ensure it is free of debris or leaf litter.
Water Quality: If you intend using rainwater for consumption it is advised to consult someone experienced in installing water filtration systems, but this will not be needed if the water is used for irrigation purposes, laundry or general purposes for which it is recommended. To preserve water for consumption, preferably add unscented chlorine/chlorine to the ratio of either two drops for every 2 litres of water, or for a 1000l tank, add 40ml. Let the water ‘breathe’ with the tank open for 30 minutes before drinking.