South Africa is currently showing the world the importance of using water efficiently, as well as how quickly people can revert back to their wasteful ways.
Day Zero was originally scheduled for April 16. On that rather ominous day, Cape Town residents would have to queue at distribution centers in order to collect a rationed 25 liters of water per person per day. Their in-home faucets would be dry starting that day.
Residents were asked to limit their water use to 50 liters (about 13 gallons) of water per day, which helped the city reduce water use by 3 megaliters (ML) but not hit its target of 450 ML per day. Daily consumption recently averaged 523 ML per day.
But because residents reduced consumption, Day Zero was rescheduled to August 27 with some predicting it may not happen in 2018 at all.
As soon as that news was announced, residents started using 565ML per day, showing that an immediate crisis was more real than something happening in 2019.
But this is a lesson that applies to us all, even with 26.4% of the United States (31% of the lower 48 states) in drought as of March 13.
This is why we need to take the human factor out of the equation wherever we can, so that we aren’t just frugal when there’s an emergency, and then watering as much as we want as soon as the alert is lifted.
Smart irrigation helps alleviate this issue, by using as little water as possible to efficiently maintain your existing landscapes. Smart systems also know what drought restrictions are currently in place for your region, when you can and can’t water, and how much water you are allowed to use. Compliance isn’t something to turn on and off when required, but something you do regularly without having to think about it.
The whole point is to reduce water waste without restricting how you use water. As we mark another World Water Day today, the question we need to ask is whether we are doing all we can, so that we can continue to do all we want?
Efficiency is the best current path to avoid restriction, while it is still an available option.