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Updated 02 March 2018

18 ways to save water in your kitchen

On 1 February 2018 level 6B water restrictions came into place for residents of Cape Town. Registered dietitian Abby Courtenay shares 18 valuable water-saving tips.

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"A drop of water is worth more than a sack of gold to a thirsty man." 

Cape Town is currently experiencing a crippling drought – and for many, Day Zero is a looming and harsh reality. Because we know that every drop counts, here are our top 18 savvy water saving tips for the kitchen. 

1. Bottle it

Use a reusable water bottle made from glass or BPA-free plastic. Not only will you be able to keep track of how much you are drinking, but it will also help reduce half drunk glasses of water. Plus, you'll save on washing glasses (that would otherwise have been used throughout the day, or even worse, disposable cups which will end up in the trash or need to be recycled).

2. Keep it cool

Keep your water bottle in the fridge, which means you don’t have to first run the water from the tap for it to cool down. 

3. Share with your plants

If, however, you're waiting for the water to heat up, use this water to give to your plants, for the kettle or cooking, or repurpose it as grey water. If you find that you spend too much time waiting for the water to heat up, it's probably a good idea to have your geyser and piping checked. 

4. Don't fill the kettle

Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. Overfilling the kettle not only wastes water, but also electricity. 

5. Every drop counts

Even though we should restrict our water consumption, it is still important to wash fresh produce to avoid contamination and possible foodborne illnesses like listeriosis. Wash fruits and vegetables in a container of water rather than running water – and use this water for your garden.

woman washing lettuce

6. Re-purpose that ice

If you drop some ice on the floor, don’t throw it into the sink. Give it to your house plants, put it into your grey water container, or pop it in your pet's water bowl. 

7. Rethink defrosting

Do not defrost frozen food with running water; rather defrost food overnight in the fridge.

8. Size matters

Choose a proper sized pot for cooking – larger pots require more water which may be unnecessary.

woman cooking food

9. Give it back

When cooking, use as little water as possible – not only does this help to preserve the water-soluble vitamins (from fruits and vegetables) but it will reduce the amount of water wasted when straining. Again, you can cool this water and use it for your garden.

10. Rethink your cooking methods

Try use alternative cooking methods (instead of boiling or steaming) such as roasting or stir-frying.

roasting vegetables

11. Paper towels are not the best option

Use reuseable dish towels instead of paper towels. However, if you do use paper towels, throw them in the trash rather than flushing them down the toilet. Choosing a bio-degradable brand is even better.

12. Plug it in

When washing up, make sure you have a plug that fits snugly to avoid any seepage. Alternatively, if you have a big sink, use a smaller container to cut down on the amount of water. 

water down drain

13. Less is more

Don’t use too much dish-washing liquid when washing dishes by hand because the more soap you use, the more water you will need for rinsing.

14. Stop-start

Use short bursts of water rather than allowing the water to run freely while washing or rinsing items. Depending on the number of items, it might be better to put water into the kitchen sink.  

15. In the bin

Avoid pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Scrape leftover food debris into the trash.

scraping food into trash can

16. Choose eco-friendly

Choose a water and energy efficient dishwasher model and only switch it on once it is full. Check your appliance manual to find out which cycle uses the least amount of water. 

17. Recycle with care

Recycle or dispose of household chemicals properly; these could end up contaminating other people's fresh water supply.

18. Turn it into compost

Reduce your trash by composting. Not only will your garden thank you, fewer black plastic bags will mean less waste to dispose of or recycle.

composting

Image credits: iStock

 
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