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Introduction

Water has played a more or less prominent role in cultures, depending on the environmental conditions people had to face. Indigenous cultures are still renowned for their ingenious and sustainable water practices. Modern practices have often disturbed and overruled these traditional practices, with undesired consequences. However, in today's societies we often see a revival of old traditions and a more natural and sustainable use of water. Finding the right mix between 'old' and 'modern' practices helps to find sustainable solutions.

In 2013, municipalities increased the supply of sewerage and sanitation services by 6,2%, raising the number of consumer units with access to sanitation facilities from 9,4 million in 2012 to almost 10 million 2013. The number of consumer units receiving other services also increased. Access to water services rose by 3,3% (from 11,4 to 11,8 million consumer units) If mechanisms can be found to reduce the consumption of already potable water by households, then this increasing trend will become the norm.

Apart from the vital drinking of water, it is used for daily cleansing routines in and around the house, gardening as well as leisure activities like swimming. Domestic use is also largely dedicated to bathing, showering, brushing teeth and other hygiene related necessities, each one an opportunity for water usage reduction.

These interventions however require either a change of human habit and programming or some degree of discomfort-shorter showers, bathing in less water or remembering to turn off the tap while brushing.

One of the activities that require large once off amounts of water, is the flushing of the toilet. Each flush of the toilet uses at least 9 litres of water, depending on the age and size of the cistern. South Africans are not in the practise of using grey water so clean water direct from the system is used to dispose of waste. This in essence leads to the loss of a very essential resource, potable water.

This proposal aims to investigate the various ways that can reduce the usage of drinking water for activities that do not specifically require it, especially the flushing of toilets which happens on average four (4) times per day, per person. On average each household houses about 4 people, adding up to about sixteen (16) flushes for the average household daily. A reduction of only 10% of the water used to flush toilets, will result in an annual potable water saving of 5250 litres per household. In an effort to conserve water and to manage the demand thereof, we need to find efficient, economical and immediate responses to reduce the wasting of this precious resource.

The proposal presents a solution which not only addresses efficiency, affordability and immediate results - it also presents opportunities for job creation, up skilling and education for various stakeholders - identified fieldworkers and the consumer population at large.

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