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How to shower with just a bucket of water: let’s enjoy it as much as this great guy does!

Drought-stricken Cape Town is now preparing for Day Zero sometime in April 2018, when it looks set to become the first major city in the world to switch off its water supply. Capetonians may get a reputation for being a bit smelly but let’s not get one for being unresourceful! Cape Town, it’s time to maak ‘n plan! Here are 27 ways to prepare for Day Zero and live with little or no tap water

Stock up on bottled water is what this photo’s saying (though feel free to drink it out of a glass)


1. Stock up on bottled water exclusively for drinking because you know there’ll initially be a little chaos at the municipal water stations where you’ll queue for drinking water, right? Also wouldn’t hurt to get in a few extra bottles of wine… oops, soft drinks (though let’s not forget that some of the world’s best wines are made in Cape Town).

2. Just in case it ever rains in Cape Town again and you’re able to catch a few drops, have some water purification tablets handy.

short hair
Rethink a water-thirsty hairstyle: less is more, people


3. It is ENTIRELY possible to keep yourself clean using just a small bucket of water, just like the olden days. Start off with wet wipes to minimise water usage even further.

4. ‘But what about my hair?’, we hear you cry (don’t worry, we’re crying too). Use dry shampoo or talcum powder to get through the days a wash is out of the question, or get it cut short.

5. Invest in extra underwear and lots of cheap sleeping shirts or shorts for the times you can’t do your washing.

6. Stock up on hand sanitiser (and hand lotion because that stuff makes for dry skin after a while).

7. Lots of people dislike chemical deodorants but you’re going to have to deodorise now more than ever. Apple cider vinegar is a natural deodoriser – pat it onto your armpits with cottonwool when you can’t shower. Make that 2 fish ‘n chips to go please!

8. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton to avoid odours developing from sweat and bacteria.

9. You’re already wearing your clothes more than once, right? Good citizen!  Make a light solution of water with vinegar or fabric softener and spray this on your clothes before hanging them outside to air.

10. Give up using wash cloths in the bathroom and use your hands instead. Less rinsing!

11. Don’t run the tap to rinse your mouth and toothbrush after cleaning. Use a good old-fashioned tooth mug instead – simple!

Eat with your fingers – the kids will love it


12. Milton fluid or sterilising tablets enable you to use just a little water to wash raw fruit and veg and prevent the bacteria that cause unhelpful illnesses such as listeriosis.

13. Fill that freezer! Do as much meal prep as possible while you can still wash your dishes, and cook a lot all in one go so you can wash a lot all in one go and save water.

14. Stock up on non-perishable food, especially food that can be cooked without water. Finally, justification for ready-made and microwave meals!

How about prepping bulk meals in advance to minimise washing up?


15. Give up dishwashing sponges – they quickly become unsanitary if you can’t clean them properly after use. Use microfibre or disposable cloths instead: they’re easier to clean and hanging them up to dry immediately after use can keep them smelling fresh for longer.

16. Get a supply of disposable wipes. They’re handy for all sorts of chores, including wiping down kitchen and bathroom surfaces. Vinegar on a paper towel does the same thing and Milton also keeps everything in the kitchen and bathroom clean.

17. Invest in paper plates and kiss dishwashing goodbye. When you braai, chuck the dirty ones in the fire.

18. Of course, you can also eat straight from the braai or straight from cooking pots and pans. Or eat with your fingers – the kids will love it! No kids? Light some candles and take dinner for two to a whole new level.

19. Rinse-free dishwashing: fill a spray bottle with water and a little white vinegar, and use it to wipe dishes after scraping off food residue, eliminating the need for rinsing.

20. Instead of filling your sink, use a small plastic tub inside it that’s easy to carry to the loo for flushing. Adding bicarb of soda or white vinegar helps to clean this grey water.

The uses of bicarb of soda seem endless…


21. Investigate flush alternatives. LOO-ME is a perfumed foam that covers unflushed lavatory water, hiding offensive sights and smells – available at Shoprite and Checkers in the Western Cape for R34.99. Wee Pong is a sulphur retardant spray that reduces the odour of stagnant and decomposing wee – click here for stockists and other useful water treatment products.

22. Make sure you’ve got tummy remedies handy, from laxatives and probiotics (though you may wish to be bunged up) to diarrhoea and nausea fixers and rehydrants.


23. Get a fire extinguisher – and if you already have one, get it checked! You should also have at least one fire blanket.

24. Don’t leave dirty dishes lying around – including those paper plates – because they attract all sorts of horrible bugs and there’s a very real danger of disease when water is scarce.

25. Use vinegar in the loo and drains to minimise odours and bacteria.

If ever there were a time to envy the lavatorial habits of furry friends…


26. If using the loo for, ahem… a number one… throw your used loopaper into a separate lidded and lined bin that’s cleared daily. This allows you to extend the time between flushes. Sprinkle bicarb of soda in the bin liner first to keep things fragrant. This happens all over the Mediterranean due to old-fashioned plumbing, so simply imagine you’re on a long tour of Tuscany, darling.

27. Okay, that previous point was to brace you for this one: ladies, it’s time to put on your big girl panty liners, enabling you to wear your undies more than once. You can do it. Promise.

Share, share, share this, including with friends living in other water-scarce cities around the globe. Simply click on an icon below or to the left-hand side of this page. And please email us your own water-savers here so we can share them with our readers!

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Welcome to Thislife Online!


Sign up for free today to receive our stories of hope (plus faith, humour, competitions, South African living, food, sport, self-help...)

PS if you're on Gmail, our fortnightly new stories might get diverted to your spam/promotions. Add us to your contacts to prevent this :)