Skip to content

We can protect South Africa's Water together

By changing simple habits we can prevent water extinction

R1.500.000
R1.000.000
R500.000

South Africa will be water poor by 2025

The steady decline of available fresh water within South Africa has now reached a critical level. It is predicted that within the next few years we will plunge into a nationwide drought. It is time to act – find out how and why below. [1]
For every new Finish Water Saving Pack sold, R25 will be donated towards WWF’s water conservation initiative.
For every new Finish Water Saving Pack sold, R25 will be donated towards WWF’s water conservation initiative.

CALCULATE YOUR WATER FOOTPRINT

The average water amount consumed by a person is his/her water footprint. By calculating your water footprint you can see how to prevent a drought in South Africa.
Loading

household

How many people are in your Household?


Just me

shower


How long is the average shower in your household?

Be honest. Do you waste water taking long, hot showers? A 10-minute shower uses 100 litres or more. Challenge yourself by keeping the time to the length of two songs.

shower


Do you have low-flow shower heads?

If your home was built or remodeled after 1994, you probably have low-flow showerheads, which flow at about 10 litres per minute compared to the standard 20 litres per minute or more.

Bathtub


Do you take baths? If so, how often?
(Answer for your entire household.)

1

BATH(S) PER

DAY

Those relaxing soaks really are luxurious but it takes 280 litres of water to fill the average bathtub to the brim. (Most people only fill it halfway, but still.)

Bathroom Sink


How long do you leave your bathroom tap running each day?
(Answer for your entire household and include brushing your teeth and shaving.)

Each time you run the tap while you brush your teeth you’re wasting about 12 litres per minute.

Bathroom Sink


Do your bathroom sinks have low-flow tap?

How low can you flow? If your home was built or remodeled after 1994, you probably have low-flow taps, which flow as low as 6 litres per minute compared to the standard 12 to 16 litres per minute.

toilet


Do you "let it mellow?"

Gross but true: your toilet might be the biggest water hog in your house. So remember, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Every time you skip a flush, you save between 6 and 20 litres.

toilet


Do you have low-flow toilets?

If your home was built or remodeled after 1994, you probably have low-flow toilets, which use as little as 6.4 litres per flush compared to the standard 20 to 74 litres per flush.

Kitchen Sink


How long do you leave the kitchen tap running each day?
(Answer for your entire household and include everything but washing dishes.)

If you let the tap run while you clean or cook, you’re letting litres of water run down the drain.

Kitchen Sink


Does your kitchen sink have a low-flow tap?

If your home was built or remodeled after 1994, you probably have low-flow tap, which flow as low as 6 litres per minute compared to the standard 12 to 28 litres per minute.

Promise

1. I promise to think twice about my water consumption.
2. I promise to make every effort to minimise my water footprint on earth.
3. I promise to join the movement towards a more water conscious South Africa.
0
Litres/Day
Household: 0 Litres/Day

Promise

Water Saving Tips Feed

WHAT IS THE RISK?

South Africa receives an annual rainfall of 492 millimetres whereas the rest of the earth receives 985 millimetres, meaning we only get half of the world’s average. [2]
Put simply, water scarcity is either the lack of enough water (quantity) or lack of access to safe water (quality). As more people put ever-increasing demands on limited supplies, the cost and effort to build or even maintain access to water will increase. South Africa is highly water-stressed, due to its extreme climate and rainfall fluctuations. Since 2013 nearly every region in South Africa has experienced some form of drought and water shortage, resulting in water restrictions in urban areas as well as in the agriculture sector. The direct cause of the extreme water crisis can be traced back to the 3‐year drought starting in 2015 with a dry, hot summer, and extremely low winter rains. This was followed by a moderately dry 2016 giving the water levels little chance for recovery. This was shortage culminated in a record‐breaking low rainfall in 2017. The rainfall was lower than any 3‐year period on record, and estimated to occur only once every 311 years. [3]
The Falkenmark Indicator Classes
tons/person/year
The Falkenmark indicator is one of the most widely used indicators for assessing the stress on water. [4]

Global overview

WATER RISK MAP

South Africa’s water is threatened by severe shortage. Below is an illustration of dams which are in danger. [5]
Theewaterskloof Dam
60.9% Dam Level
41.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
479.3 million m3

Greater Brandvlei Dam
27,4% Dam Level
49.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
286.1 million m3

Bloemhof Dam
82.0% Dam Level
71.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
1243.0 million m3

Vaal Dam
57.1% Dam Level
71.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
2603.5 million m3

Sterkfontein Dam
92.6% Dam Level
71.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
2617.0 million m3

Vanderkloof Dam
61.0% Dam Level
71.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
3092.4 million m3

Gariep Dam
78.1% Dam Level
71.1% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
4903.5 million m3

Heyshope Dam
82.6% Dam Level
75.2% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
445.0 million m3

Pongolapoort Dam
43.8% Dam Level
60.3% Average Rainfall

(Dams are sorted from large to small according to their storage capacity.)
2267.1 million m3

KNOW YOUR WATER

Take a 5 minute shower and save up to 100 litres that baths can use

Save on average 57 litres of water when you stop handwashing and wastefully rinsing your dishes

Watering your garden when the sun is down can save up to 100 litres each day [6]

Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save up to 9 litres [7]

It takes 3 litres of tap water to make one litre of bottled water

Save on average 57 litres of water when you stop handwashing and wastefully rinsing your dishes

Fixing leaky taps can save up to 30 litres a day

KNOW YOUR WATER

New copy goes here about 25 litres (Get 25L from Turkey)

KwaZulu Natal 225 Litres Western Cape 201 Litres North West 186 Litres Northern Cape 238 Litres Mpumalanga 205 Litres Limpopo 182 Litres Gauteng 305 Litres Free State 209 Litres Eastern Cape 200 Litres
Source: Department of Water and Sanitation

WATER AVAILABILITY PER PERSON PER YEAR IN SELECTED COUNTRIES

Key

Water per capita per annum (m3)

Average annual rainfall (mm)

graphs-sma
Source: NWRS 2 DWA 2013 [8]

Some facts

– South Africa’s water consumption is about 235 litres per capita per day, while the global average is 175 litres per capita per day.

– Based on population and economic growth projections, water demand in South Africa is estimated to be 17.7 billion m3 in 2030. This means that South Africa could face a 17% discrepancy between supply and demand by 2030.

– Nearly 25% of South Africa’s wastewater treatment facilities are in a ‘critical state’.

– The ‘water crisis’ challenge was ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the third highest risk for doing business in South Africa in 2017, and is also one of the top risks globally.

– South Africa is ranked as the 30th driest country in the world. – The ‘water crisis’ challenge was ranked by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the third highest risk for doing business in South Africa in 2017, and is also one of the top risks globally. – South Africa’s water consumption is about 233 litres per capita per day, while the international benchmark averages about 180 litres per capita per day. – The Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS  supplies water to a region that produces 84% of the province’s gross domestic product (GDP) and approximately 11% of national GDP (Quantec 2017) – In conjunction with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), GreenCape maintains a database of funding sources and primarily dti-driven incentives that may be relevant to green economy investors. The database contains information on more than 100 funding opportunities, including an overview of the opportunity and its contact details and links. [9]
Agricultural
Industrial
Municipal
Water withdrawals by sector [1]
The high water use is partly due to municipal non-revenue water which is currently at an unacceptably high 41%
Source: IFs v. 7.31 and FAO Aquastat data.

HOW SOUTH AFRICA EXPERIENCES WATER

KWAZULU-NATAL

Young boys play in a canal which provides the main water supply for their small town and surrounding farms. Animals are also bathed and watered in this canal, all of this compromises the quality of the water resource. Education on these issues is the responsibility of government and is under represented in most of Africa.

NOORDHOEK, CAPE TOWN

Helen Moffet is an author and editor and has written a number of well received, timely articles and books on water conservation in the face of Cape Town’s recent water crisis. Her home is almost entirely off the water grid and she uses rainwater and recycled water for most of her needs. She has unplugged her washing machine from the mains water supply and uses bottles of rain water or recycled water to wash her clothes. She uses a spray bottle to wash her dishes and showers with only recycled water.

VENDA, SOUTH AFRICA

A woman collects water the traditional way in an area without piped water facilities. Collecting water this way often is left to women and children, affecting their chances in life and their access to education.

KHAYELITSHA TOWNSHIP, CAPE TOWN

Cape Town is the first major city to experience a day zero scenario, where each citizen would only have access to 50 litres of water per day. Ironically, people in informal settlements only use an average of 25 litres a day so they were largely unaffected.

KWAZULU-NATAL

Water overflows from inadequate drainage points in the aftermath of a storm in rural Natal. Infrastructure inadequacies contribute a great deal to wasting water in South Africa.

LAINGSBURG, THE KAROO

Men manning the local fire-brigade in the Karootown of Laingsburg deliver water to the poorest sections of the town using the fire-engine. They are seen making sure that the flocks of goats belonging to residents have enough water to survive. They carry out this activity a number of times a week, filling barrels and water troughs. Laingsburg has been experiencing a long and severe drought, while rainfall has brought some relief in Cape Town, the Karoo regions continues with dire conditions.

HOW IS FINISH MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

In partnership with WWF, Finish will be donating up to R1.5 million to aid WWF’s Strategic Water Source Programmes which aim to protect South Africa’s key water catchment areas using activities that include:

• Clearing hectares of water-intensive invasive plant species across multiple regions.

• Releasing millions of litres of water back into ecosystems.

• Detailed mapping and impact studies in catchment areas.

• Donga restoration, brush packing and other erosion control measures to allow topsoil to recover.

• Build governance and improve the condition and long-term water yield of these water source areas.

• Create new jobs and economic opportunities and improve local livelihoods through landscape management interventions and small business stimulation.

Click on the image to expand it.

Water Analyst Interview Series

Views

Benoit Le Roy
Co-Founder – SA Water Chamber NPC

Views

Samir Randera-Rees
Programme Manager: Water Source Areas – WWF South Africa

EVERYTHING HAS A ‘WATER FOOTPRINT’

The total volume of water resources used for the production of goods and services is called the water footprint, which is the indicator of how much water we consume. Our aim is to reduce our total global water footprint, one step at a time.

How you can save water

Hygiene

Saving water can be as simple as adopting new, eco-friendly hygiene habits. Small changes can go a long way, so here are a few routine changes that can save huge amounts of water:

1. Stop drinking bottled water! It takes 3 liters to make just one liter of bottled water.

2. By turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face, you could save up to 9 liters.

3. Change your shower head to a water-efficient one, this could halve the amount of water you use in the shower each day.

4. While washing your hair or lathering up your body with soap make sure to turn the water off to save.

Kids

Although we want our kiddos to have no restrictions while enjoying their childhood, it’s important to remember that the small changes can go a long way in saving a huge amount of water. Here are a few tips to help your children save water:

1. Don’t use any water-based toys such as water balloons or guns.

2. Don’t fill your pool to the top but instead allow some space for your kids to splash around without being wasteful.

3. Pool covers are also a must to reduce evaporation – keeping your pool fuller for longer.

4. Instead of using the hosepipe to cool your little ones down, buy a shallow shell pool instead.

Household

There are many ways that you can save water around the house that are simple and easy to do. Why not implement a few of the water-saving tricks below to do your part:

1. Make sure you fix your leaky taps, as even a slow drip can waste a lot of water.

2. Instead of spraying down your driveway, use a broom to brush away leaves.

3. Use buckets in your showers and taps to catch excess water that can be re-used around the garden.

4. Plant plants around the house that are water conscious such as succulents.

WHERE OUR WATER GOES

South Africa is facing a water crisis. Join National Geographic photographer, Brent Stirton, as he explores South Africa’s fragile relationship with water.

Play Video
Views

Save

36 LITRES

If you pre-rinse your dishes before putting them into your dishwasher, on average it will waste 36 litres of water during the process. This is why Finish developed their dishwashing powerball to ensure that you do not have to pre-rinse your dishes before packing them into your dish washer.

Save

57 LITRES

If you choose to wash your cutlery and crockery with a dishwasher instead of washing them by hand, your water usage will be dramatically less, and contribute to the conservation of water in South Africa.

Using a dishwasher can save up to 57 litres of water per wash. If every home in South Africa used a dishwasher, we could save up to 16 billion litres a year. That’s enough fresh water to supply 240 000 households every day for an entire year*

101188sss28_29.05.192

HOW OUR MOVEMENT IS AFFECTING THE WORLD

Water Saving Packs – For every Finish Water Saving Pack sold, R25 will be donated towards WWF’s water conservation initiative.
The FinishSavesWater movement that will be launched in June is set to be the biggest multi-partner water saving campaign ever created in South Africa.
Water Saving Packs – For every Finish Water Saving Pack sold, R25 will be donated towards WWF’s water conservation initiative.
The FinishSavesWater movement that will be launched in June is set to be the biggest multi-partner water saving campaign ever created in South Africa.
As part of the FinishSavesWater campaign, a key initiative will be our Blue Ribbon Movement. A simple and effective communication tool that will live in and outside the household, and designed to remind every South African to save water on a daily basis.