It should come as absolutely no surprise that South Africa is lacking some water (gigantic understatement). Our dam levels are well below 40% across the board, and dropping fast. Water restrictions have been put in place in all the major metropolitan areas and everyone everywhere is whispering about the neighbour hosing down his Audi every morning, or the rainforest-like sprinkler system of the garden down the road that powers on at one in the afternoon when the merciless sun is scorching the rest of the populace desperately trying to flush their loos as little as possible.

On the radio, on the television, in the newspapers and online – everywhere you are bombarded with warnings of low water levels, and images of dry riverbeds and raging fires. Luckily, it’s easy enough to start doing your bit at home. We can all shorten our shower time, drink more wine and less water, and report leaks and other people’s sprinkler systems to the municipality. But have you ever thought of how you could apply water-saving measures whilst on holiday? Everyone loves a little getaway, so make sure your next one is easy on the environment.

Water shortage by Andrew Hart (Flickr)

South Africa is the 30th driest country in the world, which means that in any given year we’re already struggling with water supply more than the rest of the planet is. However, our negligent water use and blasé attitude has resulted in 8 of our 9 provinces being declared drought disaster zones last year. While most of us have got the wake-up call and are doing what we can to save water in our everyday routine, TravelGround thought it a good idea to see how we can all be more water-wise when away from home as well. Here are 5 ways you can help while holidaying!

Young boys fetch water by UNICEF (Flickr)

Tip 1: Start at home

So the travel bug has bitten and your suitcases are packed, but don’t forget that being water-wise during your holiday starts at home. Ensure your home is sin-proof before leaving and you’ll have better peace of mind and a happier holiday all round. It’s a good idea to turn off your stop tap, so you can prevent unnecessary water loss. Also know that allowing your lawn to die during a drought will not be detrimental to you or your health – the lawn will be green again come autumn. Something that will put your mind and water bill at ease is to install a leak detection system for your geyser. The WERD device detects moisture in the drip tray ─ if any moisture is present, it will shut off the geyser’s incoming water supply within 6 seconds and sound an alarm. This will save your home from expensive water damage, and will prevent your water bill from skyrocketing.

Tip 2: Adjust your attitude

Know where you’re going. Some parts of SA have been hit harder than others during the drought. The Eastern Cape, for example, has suffered the most. It’s not helpful to anyone if you arrive at your destination and immediately become frustrated because the water’s been shut off. Water restrictions are different everywhere and you may find that it’s not the owner’s fault if the taps are dry. Don’t complain if the swimming pool is empty, or if the lawn is spraypainted green (or non-existent). It’s of no use and will only sour your own day as well as cause tension between you and the owner, which could well ruin your break. Although the Eastern Cape has fallen victim to the drought, TravelGround still offers great accommodation options for you to make the most of this arid area, just click here!

National Water and Sanitation Program by World Bank Photo Collection (Flickr)

Tip 3: Lend a helping hand

Even though it might not be your own home, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t alert establishment owners to problems in their rentals. Some owners are not on-site on a permanent basis, so it may be helpful to contact the owner of the establishment about water problems such as dripping faucets or a toilet leak. Toilet leaks can be silent and a rental company acting on behalf of an owner might not notice it. Put food colouring in the loo’s water tank ─ if the colour seeps into the bowl without flushing, the toilet has a leak. Report this immediately and you can help an establishment whittle down their water bill.

Tip 4: Skip the shower

I know it sounds gross, but hear me out. The average shower (8 minutes) uses 120 litres of water. That’s a lot of water just running down the drain, lost forever, especially at a holiday destination where you wouldn’t necessarily see the point in saving shower water for your garden or toilet. So, to save on showers and save wasted water, don’t shower. Change this (initially) gross idea into a fun experiment. Check out a few holiday spots where you wouldn’t necessarily need a proper shower. Camping can be just the thing! Campsites are often near natural water sources, and no one’s going to notice if you avoid the ablution block. Pack wetwipes and find a campsite near a dam or river that is still full and bathe in the natural water using biodegradable or environmentally friendly soap. If skipping a single shower saves 120 litres of water, imagine what skipping a couple days’ worth would do! TravelGround has a host of awesome camping options to suit every style and budget so you too can forgo the shower in favour of a greener planet, click here for all our cool camping getaways.

Water is unfit for human consumption by Woodleywonderworks (Flickr)

Tip 5: Go green!

We know there’s a water crisis, we know that the big power stations also need water to cool down and we know that the general population aren’t doing much to help the drought. So what can we do? Go green. Use less. Use less water and less electricity. The best way to do this on holiday is to stay at the most environmentally friendly places you can find – and TravelGround has loads of exciting eco-friendly establishments on offer!

Black Leopard Camp in Lydenburg is proudly off the grid and generates their own electricity, water and waste removal! Click here to book your off-the-grid holiday now!

Go Green Self Catering Accommodation is proudly green and mindful of water use. They are situated in Sea Point and use specially designed hand basins that fill the toilet cisterns when used. Save water by staying with them ─ click here to book now!

Hotel Verde (TravelGround)

Hotel Verde has been dubbed as the greenest hotel in Africa and guests will leave there knowing that they’ve not only had a fantastic holiday, but also made a positive difference. If you’re in need of an eco-friendly Cape Town holiday, click here to book at Hotel Verde!

Platbos Forest in the Overberg is an off-the-grid hideaway close to nature. They are water-wise with a waterless compost toilet and all their electricity is self-generated using solar power and gas. If you feel the need to connect with nature and skip a couple of showers to help the planet, click here to book.

Platbos Forest (TravelGround)

With TravelGround it’s easy to be water-wise whilst on holiday.

Live well, travel well. Let us know if you have any of your own water-saving tips for travellers!


Feature Image: Lydenrust Guest Farm and Horse Trails (TravelGround)