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Using water wisely is very important, not just living in the Eastern Cape but the rest of the world. Coming from Johannesburg, you kind of take water for granted when you open up your tap, water the garden, wash your car or fill your swimming pool to have the bluest pool in the neighbourhood.

Only about 1% of the world’s surface and resources contains drinkable water. A huge proportion of earths water is salt water and requires expensive equipment to desalinate salt water.So really before it’s too late, we all have to take water seriously and put proper processes  place to make sure you are catching and using your water as best as possible. Using grey water can save you about 40% of your total water bill each month and catching rain water can make you independent from the municipalities systems, even for heavy water users.

Living here, and living on rain water alone is difficult, and you have to start thinking carefully on your water usage.In our area, The Ndlambe Municipality, there have been severe water shortages in the last few years. Some communities being without water for 4 days.

R31 million water injection for drought-stricken Ndlambe Municipality (12 April 2011)

For the first time in more than five years, the drought-stricken Ndlambe Local Municipality did not experience water shortages during peak season last year due to drought relief interventions totaling some R31 million.  Source

The first project before even moving here, was to clear and check all the gutter for debris, blocks and leaks. With some help, we moved empty water tanks, and replaced broken tanks and moved them around the property to better catch rain water. Luckily there has been heavy rainfall in the area for the last few months and we have quite full rain tanks. We have a capacity on the farm for about 50000 litres of water that will be diverted from the roof to rainwater tanks.

I have adjusted the plumbing and diverted all grey water from bathrooms to garden beds, and the kitchen sink rerouted to the small herb garden outside the kitchen window. The mint is really enjoying the water and growing like mad. Mint tea on the menu.

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I found some abandoned tyres at the local dump site earlier today. I decided to take all five tyres home and use them in some project around the house. You could use them as gardening beds. Also as a garden/retaining wall. As a dog basket using larger tyres or you could stack four on top of each other use the tyres as a wormery.

We only had five tyres and no worms. So after a braai it was decided to use them in the orchard to assist with mulching and adding compost to the newly transplanted fruit trees. I carefully lowered the tyres around teh stems of the fruit trees and carefully positioned on the grass.

I had some spare piping from the watering system and placed them in the middle of the tyre near the base of the tree. I then added a 1 inch layer of retted grass cuttings and pushed it into the walls of the tyre. I then added compost about 4 inches thick. Using your foot or spade work the soil into the tyres walls and pat it down softly. The pipe should be upright.

Using a watering can I saturate the soil with water and pour water into the pipe to access the base of the fruit tree. The purpose of this is to add vital compost and give a last spurt of nutrients before the winter period. The sun evapourates most of the water around the base of the tree, so this would provide a way to conserve water and be used as a mulch. The pipe is used to provide a channel to the base of the plant so water can reach deep below the mulch.

Next project is to start a stack of 2 x 4 tyres for a wormery that is needed for composting, wormcastings and worm tea.

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