Water-saving invention makes life easier

Bradley Hockley of Marina da Gama with his water-saving device.

The rains arrived – and then dried up again – leaving residents of the Western Cape with a reminder that water management and saving habits cultivated during the worst of it, should be maintained as a lifestyle.

But for many, the hard physical toil of filling and carrying buckets and the rotation of smelly grey-water in those buckets proved challenging, giving rise to the desire for an easier way.

Marina da Gama resident Bradley Hockley was one of the people who was not enamoured with having to store water in buckets for reuse later. So he set about solving it: and now he wants to share his solution.

Called CisternSink, Bradley’s invention is hygiene and water-saving friendly, and simple. He has created a small sink which fits above the cistern, and which uses filtered rain water for hand washing. The water used to wash your hands gradually fills the cistern, so all flushes are already grey water. He says since the drought, he has just been absolutely unable to flush what could be clean drinking water. “I can’t do it anymore, I had to come up with another way: without buckets,” he said.

Mr Hockley makes each one out of already existing materials and parts.

“It seemed illogical to me to create a water-saving device which necessitated unaccounted for water, for its production,” he said. Instead he applies the old fashioned principles of common sense and thriftiness.

He recounts the way he was raised, where every item was re-purposed until its absolute last possible use, and gives credit to the innovation of the people of that generation, whom he says were not gripped in the consumer-driven frenzy that this one is.

One example is first port of call filtration method to catch debris for his rainwater tanks. He says you could easily buy a plastic filter for roughly R170. Or, like he does, you can use stockings.

His bathroom is where his prototype takes pride of place. He said the idea of a sink on a cistern wasn’t entirely new, but his adjustments to the idea included using existing materials and using a gravity-fed rainwater system rather than adjusting plumbing.

He says the manufacturer of a similar product has contacted him and suggested they combine forces and stock each other’s products. “The drought has also changed the way people are doing business. Instead of seeing one another as competitors, we are looking at how much more water will be saved by people having choices in how they can save water,” he said.

The idea is open to adjustments and improvements but at present, it takes the shape of one solid piece, comprising of the small sink on a painted plank of wood, which replaces the existing cistern cover.

He says schools, malls and hospitals could do well with the saving from these systems and said that B&Bsplaces offering accommodation and Airbnb’s would be well advised to install them, as most travellers don’t understand the crisis of water shortages in the way locals do.

Mr Hockley is a widower raising two children on his own. He believes in charity and is asking for recommendations for a local charity which deals with children or the elderly to which he can donate a cistern sink. “Children need to learn from young that water is a precious resource. If they have working systems in their lives from the start, who knows what they will in turn invent, which could benefit everyone else,” he said.

To contact Mr Hockley, call or SMS him on 082 293 2562.