The 3Rs in Water Conservation
Yemvelo Hygiene believes that everyone can be an eco-warrior, simply by making small changes in one's consumption habits. Our inspiration is the isiXhosa warriors of “ugaba” – the brave restorers of order when trouble arose.
Arguably the most important action we can take, households and businesses need to consider how much water they use and how much wastewater they generate – and how to reduce both.
Fresh water resources are finite. In fact, less than 1% of the Earth’s water is available for human use, the rest is either salt water found in oceans, fresh water frozen in the polar ice caps or too inaccessible for practical usage (US EPA, no date). As a result, we need to manage our water resources tightly.
Greywater is used water without toxic chemicals and/or excrement. Greywater is not potable. Greywater and harvested rainwater may be treated with bio-enzymes to remove pathogens, odours, FOG (fat, oil, grease) and other organic material.
If households and businesses use non-toxic, eco-friendly products during the first use of their water, the resultant greywater can be reused for irrigation, laundry washing, vehicle washing and flushing of toilets.
Blackwater – contaminated water with toxic chemicals and/or excrement – can be recycled. Recycled water is highly treated wastewater that has been filtered to remove solids and other impurities as well as disinfected by a water treatment plant.
Recycled water often contains more total dissolved salts and nutrients which limits its use depending on its quality. Uses for recycled water include irrigation, process water in factories and to recharge groundwater aquifers (US EPA, no date).
Everyone can play a part to conserve our water so that it will be sustained for future generations. All it takes is small changes in our lifestyles, at home, at work and in our communities.