No Water- Help! 8 simple hacks for survival

no water

When you find yourself debating about what’s  worse: no water, or no electricity, then you know you’re in South Africa. The conclusion was that being without water is far worse than being without electricity. Well, since we’ve had loadshedding for the past 17 years (yes, 17 years) I think we’ve all learnt to live around it, work with it, maak ‘n plan, as they say.

No water though, that’s a difficult one to work around, especially with kids. Never before did I realise just how many times I open a tap and it really made me value the ability to do that. It certainly is a basic right that everyone in the world should be entitled to, including paying citizens.

Nevertheless, I digress into complaint mode having just experienced (and possibly still experiencing, who knows!) 10 days without running water. What were teachable moments about appreciation and gratefulness quickly became frustration, day after day of dry taps.

So to minimise the discomfort and make life a bit easier, we learned a few hacks from family members and neighbours (I mean, what are whatsapp groups for anyway).

Simple hacks to survive no water days

1. Keep bottled water on hand.

Sounds like a no-brainer but we’ve had times where our backup water ran out because we never refilled, what with the joy of air sounds coming from our taps. All was forgotten until we needed them again and they were all empty. 5l bottles of water are available at most grocery stores so keep a few and refill when necessary.

2. Have a large pot for boiling water.

It helps to be able to boil large amounts of water at a time, to use for washing or preparing food.

3. Learn how to bucket wash

Teenagers never realised how clean they can be without standing in the shower for hours on end. Using a washcloth and a smaller jug to pour water, quick yet effective.

4. Save on washing dishes and use paper plates and cups.

It may not be entirely environmentally friendly but for short-term it makes sense rather than having a sink full of dirty dishes. Paper towels are great for clean ups after meals.

5. Stock-up on disinfectant wet-wipes

A great way to wipe surfaces, stoves, even bathrooms so they feel fresh despite not being properly cleaned. There’s a wide variety of wipes now available from furniture to all-surface, and then of course the handwipes too. Keep these handy for no water days!

6. Use grey water for toilets.

Flushing toilets is as important as being able to drink water, but no one wants to waste clean, fresh water for that. Use water from the swimming pool or place buckets at gutters to catch rainwater.

7. Re-wear clothes

Especially if all you’ve done is lie on your bed or on the couch. Jeans can be worn a few times over before needing a wash, school uniforms not so much so- a bucket wash for those will have to do.

8. Share details of boreholes and community water reserves

There may be a church, mosque or school in your area with a borehole that is happy to serve the community. Share details of this with others so it’s easy to fill up without having to buy water. Many homes have a tap outside, connected to their boreholes for public use. Kudos! This is such a charitable act.

As much as we love living in a world-class city, we need to be prepared for any curveballs coming our way. As mums, being prepared is second nature and this list is meant to lessen the frustration just that little bit.

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