How to have a 5-litre bath

Plastic bowls inside sinks allow for the re-use of dish water as grey water.

There is also a proven way of using just 5 litres for a bath, and it requires three things. A 1-litre jug, a 5-litre bucket and a large bucket to stand in.

Many Capetonians are worried about the threat of communicable diseases when the water runs out.

As yet, the City of Cape Town has not replied to questions we sent it about the impact water shortages are expected to have on health and hygiene. We will print their answers when we get them.

Of particular concern is how mothers of babies are expected to wash towelling nappies and see to the health and hygiene needs of infants and young children on such limited water supplies, as many cannot afford disposable nappies.

Until we reach Day Zero, one of the best grey-water collections is from your washing machine. The water can be collected by simply feeding the outlet pipe into a bath or buckets and used to flush toilets.

Here is a list of suggestions from many people, of things that can be done to help prepare us all for Day Zero:

* Stock up on bought bottled water exclusively for drinking.

* Stock up on baby wipes.

* Use dry shampoo or baby powder to prolong the time between washes.

* Use Wee Pong as a flush alternative.

* Make a solution of vinegar and water, or Sta-Soft and water, to spray your clothes with and hang up to air.

6. Use paper plates or make up a spray bottle with rinse-free dish soap and water, and wipe down the least dirty dishes with that.

7. Get water purification tablets for harvested rainwater.

8. Add Milton to water to wash vegetables. With reports of listeriosis doing the rounds, we can’t afford not to wash our fresh produce.

9. Stock up on non-perishables. Do as much meal preparation as possible while we can still wash our dishes.

10. Buy hand sanitisers (and hand cream to negate their harshness over time).

11. Use bicarb and vinegar as cleaning supplies that don’t destroy water for grey use

12. If you develop a dodgy tummy, make sure you have solutions such as: Rehydrat, Medizine, Immodium, Buscopan, probiotics and be sure to have extra toilet paper.

13. Have a sponge bath with a small bucket and sponge (or check our guide on how to use 5 litres of water – or less – below).

14. Use wet wipes or use aqueous cream to wipe yourself down.

15. Get a fire extinguisher; for obvious reasons.

16. Stock up on extra underwear (and cheap sleeping shirts).

17. If just making a wee, throw toilet paper away and not in toilet (place this in a separate lined bin that’s cleaned daily). This will stop toilet paper clogging the system and extend time between flushes with grey water.

18. Baking soda can control toilet paper odours, if throwing toilet paper away.

19. Use vinegar in the toilet and drains to help with any odours and bacteria.

20. Clean with microfibre cloths or rags as sponges become unsanitary. Hang them up immediately to prevent them smelling. You can also throw rags away.

21. Eat straight from the braai – no pots or pans to wash.

22. Line plates with plastic so you can peel off plastic and have clean plates. Just be careful not to eat the plastic.

23. Use apple cider vinegar to naturally deodorise your armpits between showers.

24. Wear breathable fabrics like cotton to avoid odours developing from sweat and bacteria.

25. Women can extend underwear life by wearing panty liners. Businesses which do stay open, should install hand sanitisers on the inside of toilet stalls and provide bags for sanitary products.

26. When you do have to wash plates, pans, cutlery, etc, wipe mess and dirt off with paper towel (this should always have been standard activity). Keep the used paper towels and use them as firelighters.

27. Instead of pouring water into your kitchen sink, pour into a plastic tub then you can reuse this as grey water for flushing the toilet.

28. Clean counters with disposable wipes.

29. Vinegar can also be used for wiping and cleaning, with paper towels, without having to rinse down counters.

30. Where possible, use organic or biodegradable materials to minimise environmental waste.

31 Be mindful of your plastic usage.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.

It is worth noting that alcohol-based hand sanitisers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitisers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in America.

The CDC says that hand sanitisers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy, and that parents and caregivers should rather use baby wipes on children because of the toxicity of the alcohol content in hand sanitisers for babies.

One of the biggest worries for most people is how to deal with human waste. Composting toilets and pit latrines are one solu-

You can also keep a “pee bucket” and pour the contents over your compost. Believers in this say it benefits your garden.

Solid waste can be composted too, not for growing fruit or veg, but non-edible bushes, trees and plants.

Sea water is not a viable option to flush toilets, as this will corrode the whole system.