Cape Town water crisis

Buying a water storage tank? Consider these eight things first

With Cape Town and the Western Cape in the grip of the drought of the century and hurtling towards another parched summer, it’s a good idea to save what you can – and quickly.

Cape Town water crisis

As Capetonians stare down the barrel of a decidedly dry future, it might be time for you to top up a tank with every drop you can.

Sure, it’s not quite as good as not using the precious stuff in the first place, but it just might make the difference in seeing the region through to next winter’s rains. We hope.

Size matters

No one wants a great big plastic tank clogging up the driveway or slap bang in front of the living room window. So consider both size and shape when you’re tallying up your tank options.

Tall and thin, short and fat, all points in between – think about what space you have available and go from there.

Keep it clean, people

Oh my word, you did not just take matters into your own hands and hook up your toilet to a storage tank! Okay, that’s an extreme example and we know you’re all much cleverer than that (right?) but it pays to suss out what you can safely store.

Waste washing up water = usually too full of grease and bacteria to be a good idea. However, waste shower water = big tick.

Also consider changing your detergents, shampoo and suchlike to eco-friendly versions with fewer chemicals, especially if you’re planning to water your much-loved garden or plants.

The added extras

Oh it’s more than just simple storage, gadget fans. Have a scout around online and you can find all sorts to optimise your savings, whether it’s a gizmo to keep fallen leaves from blocking up your rainwater harvesting tank or a handy tap to access your stockpile.

Spending and saving

Generally speaking, the more you spend, the more you save. But your water preservation is about more than capacity alone.

How many litres do you realistically have space for – and how many do you actually need?

If you’re a single person with just a few pot plants in the back yard it’s not so much, especially with your usage likely to be much lower than a family of four to begin with. And if it isn’t, what are you playing at?

There’s room to be creative

So your tank’s unlikely to be the focal point of artistic brilliance in your garden. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart. Greens and browns are the dominant colours of those on the market, so think about whether you want to nestle your tank in the long growth or have it hiding in plain sight against the wall.

Cover all the angles

Water, water everywhere! But every drop saved from your taps, shower and washing machine counts for nothing if you have a cracked drainpipe or leaky outside tap.

Check your water bills regularly to make sure you’re being billed for a number of litres that roughly makes sense. If it doesn’t, investigate your property for leaks like some sort of water-saving superhero.

Or you can dig a little deeper

It’s not the cheap option but if you’re strapped for space rather than cash, this could be just the ticket for you.

Many companies can hide your tank underground, leaving you without an eyesore in the middle of your carefully tended lawn.

Get on with it!

November is coming, everyone. That means the pitiful state of the dams is only going to worsen in the coming months, unless your esteemed local leaders get back up Table Mountain and come down with a miracle this time.

So there’s no time like the present to do your bit and recycle every precious drop.