Every Drop Counts – Drop the Block

South Africa has experienced little to no rainfall since the beginning of the year.  As a result drought conditions are being experienced across the country.  To date, five provinces are severely affected by the drought and declared disaster areas.

The Magalies Water together with the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Local Municipality of Madibeng has introduced a ‘Drop the Block’ water saving initiative which will literally assist in saving water in the municipality. The Department of Water and Sanitation in the North West Province has embarked on a water saving drive, having introduced the “Drop the Block” campaign in the Local Municipality of Madibeng this week.

“Drop the Block” is an eco-friendly innovation where a block is placed in a toilet tank to save water. It is designed to reduce water use by up to two litres per flush. The campaign is targeting 20 000 households across the municipality and the aim is to achieve this within five days. The department says even though it is convenient and dignifying to have a flushing toilet in your home, toilets are wasting thousands of litres of water daily. It says, however, through this campaign, water usage will be significantly reduced. Residents have been introduced to a small sand filled plastic block which is dropped into a toilet tank. This results in less water going down the drain.

The department has expressed confidence in this new method of saving water. “Drop the Block” Project Manager, Kele Mogamisi explains: “When you have dropped the block it happens once – you drop the block once off.  We are trying to cover all the households in Madibeng with what we are currently doing. This is the first phase and we are going to target more municipalities and the second phase is going to continue in the last quarter of the financial year.”  200 volunteers have been roped in to assist in the door-to-door campaign. They are conducting a door-to-door campaign delivering blocks in the Madibeng Municipal area.

One volunteer, says the initiative will help her community pay less for water. “I feel great about this because we are volunteering and we are doing it for the community. So we are helping the community because we are struggling and the water issue is way too high. We are not working and it feels good to volunteer on something good and doing it on our own.” A home owner who is one of the recipients of a drop block, says this is a good initiative that will bring relief to the community by reducing their water bills. “I am happy to have this block in my toilet because my municipal account has been high because of water usage. I am now expecting to get a much lower account this month,” she says.  The “Drop the Box” campaign is targeting those households that have a nine litre cistern in the Local Municipality of Madibeng and the water and sanitation department  plan  to cover other areas in the province.

Below are some of the water saving tips that can be used by the community.  Community members are advised to turn the tap off between washing your face, brushing your teeth or shaving.  Fix a leaking toilet otherwise it can waste up to 100 000 litres of water. Use a bucket rather than a hose to wash your car.  If you have to use a hose, use a sprayer that can be turned off in between spraying the car.  Using a garden hose could use as much as 30 litres of water per minute. Always water your plants during the early morning hours or in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.  Between 10:00 and 15:00 one can lose up to 90% of water.  Use ‘grey water’ – used water from baths, washing machines and other safe sources – to water your garden.  This tips were simply provided by the Department of Water and Sanitation.