Couch Cat: Teach us, stop whipping us!

19 July 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
With the drastic drought conditions that exist right now, we all need to pay attention and do whatever it takes to save water.  To the officials out there:  rather than slap citizens upside the head with criminally high bills and threats, why not use the same energy to give water saving ideas? 
Many tourism lodge areas already do this regularly, but instead of letting the water pour down the drain while it is heating up before a shower, guests place a bucket on the floor under the nozzle. Then, the water is re-used for flushing the toilet, cleaning the bathroom or watering certain plants. 
Be economical with shower time.  Get in there, get it done, and get out.  Being a water-spoiled American, I love nice, long, steamy, hot showers in the morning to wash up, but also to sooth my skin and jump-start my brain.  However, in a drought, hygiene must be the only purpose of a shower.
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.  Just this small action saves water.  I do the same now while washing my hands too; I turn off the tap while I lather up. 
The other day, I was blessed that one of my arriving guests noticed that water was leaking through my interlocks!  Thank goodness the pipe burst had only started.  Luckily, after turning off the main, I was able to call my plumber in. I then arranged for him to go through the whole house to ensure that my taps were not leaking.
Did you know that you could re-use your pasta cooking liquid? Instead of dumping that water down the drain, try draining your pasta water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants.
Patronize car washes that recycle the water instead of doing it at home.  AND… wash vehicles less often (though you need to keep your windscreens and mirrors clean).  I know, I know… the car lovers out there are cringing!  But, we are in a drought so having a sparkling, shiny car in an arid, dusty country is silly. 
After spending serious money over the years to get a nice, comforting garden, it hurts my soul to see some of my plants die for want of water.  But, up north, people haven’t even been able to plant a mahangu crop that lived.  Livestock and wildlife are dying of thirst all over the country. So, who am I to complain about my dead flowering bushes and lavender plants? 
Don’t run the washing machine unless it is full.  OR, I turn down the water levels to small/medium load setting instead of super large.  I got rid of my dish washer a decade ago due to water realities in Namibia and the swimming pool has cobwebs.
I no longer use the hose to water anything in the garden.  I use a large watering can to specifically water individual plants and even then, I use recycled water when I have it. 
My pets need fresh water daily.  But, instead of simply dumping their water tub before refilling it, I use the dirty water on specific plants and trees.
Use a plastic tub to wash the dishes.  Don’t run the water while you wash-up.  I fill a tub with very hot water, squeeze a lemon in it, use dishwashing liquid and get things done.  I rinse the dishes in a separate tub and then strain the dish and rinse water and use it in the garden.
Instead of whipping the rate paying public with abnormally high water bills that will bankrupt us (more money in city coffers will not make it rain), the city should again invest in a short water saving flier delivered to every single household or handed out on street corners and more radio, TV and social media campaigns with water saving tips.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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