Avoiding Day Zero

Having been without any running water for four days last week, I got a good taste of what day Zero might be like and let me tell you, it’s not fun. The council has been playing with our water pressure for a while now but seem unable to get the pressure balanced to ensure that both the high laying and low laying houses get sufficient water – we are unfortunately a high laying house with not even a trickle coming out of the tap. Luckily my mom is nothing short of amazing and trekked to five (yes, FIVE) shops before she found 5L bottled water. Day Zero is not for the faint-hearted and the thought of standing in a queue with my baby in the baking sun for kilometers to collect my 25L (which is not light by the way) causes me more than a little anxiety. We have significantly decreased our water usage and are currently below the 87L max usage per person but need to really up our game to get down to 50L per day – but it can be done. I’m sharing my tips and tricks that have helped us to decrease our water usage – with a few beauty-savvy tricks too of course!

Beauty Tricks:

  1. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water: This little gem has been featured many times on the blog (check out previous posts here and here) and it really is a firm favourite of mine when it comes to waterless face cleansing. It swiftly removes make-up, dirt and oil without any scrubbing or rinsing, leaving my face feeling fresh and clean. Stock up on this one ladies, it’s going to move fast! This 400ml bottle is great value for money at just R79.99 .
  2. Tresemme Dry Shampoo: Dry shampoo has been a lifesaver for me for many years now and Tresemme has been my go-to (although I’ve got Batiste on my shopping list as I’ve heard great reviews on it and the packaging is just too pretty). With exercising almost every day (pre-baby!), I hated washing my hair every day but having very thin, fine hair, it wasn’t really an option so dry shampoo gave it that push to stretch it an extra day. Now with a new baby, washing my hair doesn’t feature terribly high on my priority list so dry shampoo is an essential. I won’t say exactly how long I push my hair now but lets just say, on a good day it’s about 90% dry shampoo (hello mom bun!) But, since showers are limited to 90 seconds a day now, I’ve made my peace with it 😉
  3. Leave-in Conditioner: A recent addition to my beauty routine but an essential in reducing your shower time and keeping your hair looking healthy. By only having to shampoo your hair, you are saving valuable rinsing time so ladies, get on this one too. I picked up this Wella Enrich Leave in Cream when I was at the salon last week (it’s a salon exclusive range) and after massaging it into damp hair, it leaves my hair feeling lovely and soft and not at all greasy. The added bonus is that it’s also an anti-frizz cream so it also does a good job of taming my rather wild locks! I went with a salon product as I highlight my hair and since I’m dry-shampooing on a regular basis, I wanted something that’s going to moisturise and protect my hair but there are supermarket brands that are a little easier on the pocket. Since we’ll soon be spending all of our pennies on bottled water, I’ll be needing to use my splurge products more sparingly so I’ll definitely have a few supermarket brands up for review. Wella Enrich is available at selected salons for R380.
  4. Pampers Sensitive Wet Wipes: Having a newborn means I have loads of wet-wipes on hand. I read a meme the other day which was something along the lines of “you know you’re a mom when you clean everything in your house with wet wipes” and that couldn’t be more true! I always have them on hand and made a trip to Baby City this weekend to stock up (these are also flying off the shelves and they are one thing I do NOT want to run out of!) Aside from being an essential for baby, they are great for freshening up. Cape Town’s unbearable heat combined with a baby who has a fondness for daytime naps in my arms, I feel like a hot, sticky mess most days and hopping in the shower to freshen up is a thing of the past so wiping down wet wipe or two just takes the edge off. Pampers has been my go-to from day one and I like sensitive packs as they are gentle on both baby and my skin and have very little fragrance. A pack of six wipes retails at around R110 depending on where you purchase them from.

Water Saving Tips:

I don’t think any of these are new or unique but here we go..

  1. Hand Sanitizer: This is another baby essential and we’ve gone through countless bottles of Dettol Waterless Hand Sanitizer. A couple weeks ago, we got a Germstar Touchless Dispenser for the nursary and I can’t believe it took us 3 months to get one. Despite the unit holding a 946ml bag, it mounts neatly and discreetly on the wall and kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria and since I’m a slightly OCD when it comes to germs, this ticks all the boxes. The dispenser has an adjustable, pre-measured portion of liquid and gravity-fed design ensures that every drop is used. What I especially love about the Germstar is that unlike gel-based waterless cleansers, this doesn’t leave your hands with a sticky residue and the natural emollients actually moisturise and soften you skin. Most liquid hand santizers cause the skin on my hands to peel off and this has actually improved the state of them in the few short weeks we been using it. We now not only use hand sanitizer not only after changing baby’s nappy, but instead of washing our hands to further reduce our water consumption. Germstar starter kit which includes the unit and a 940ml solution bag – an expensive investment but as two refill bags cost R433 (that’s 1880ml of sanitizer!), you are saving in the long run (Dettol 200ml retails for approximately R70 a bottle)
  2. Grey-water usage: We now have buckets and bowels in all of our basins and showers as well as a barrel catching water from our washing machine (two loads per week and hand wash baby’s clothes) in order to reduce the amount of potable water we consume. I bath Oliver in about 5ml of water the kitchen sink (this is approximately 5 – 6 litres of water) and then scoop it out with a jug to add to the grey water. I fill a bucket with the grey water collected and keep one next to each loo for flushing. Considering one flush uses about 9L of water, you can very quickly drop your consumption by utilizing grey water for every flush. Extra grey water then goes towards watering the plants and veggie patch to try and keep them alive. We are lucky enough to have a borehole so that water is now used for cleaning purposes and then recycled with the rest of the grey water.
  3. Shower in your gym clothes: This one might not be for everyone but it’s long past the time for drastic measures. Since my husband and I are both very active people, my laundry basket fills up pretty swiftly with gym clothes so in order to reduce the amount of washing I’m doing, we either shower or swim in our gym kit and then air dry them to stretch them for an extra wear.

It’s definitely not going to be easy and many of the measures put in place to reduce water usage are less than luxurious but if we all work together to do our bit, we really can avoid day zero. I don’t think anyone has quite comprehended what it means to have no running water in our beautiful city so let’s all play part so we don’t have to find out. What are some of your water-saving solutions??


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