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Water Wise Watch - October 2020




This month at Water WiseLevel 1 water restrictions for Johannesburg

In an effort to maintain a culture of water conservation, Johannesburg is still implementing Level 1 water restrictions according to section 44 (3) of the Water Services By-law:

  • All consumers are prohibited from watering and irrigating their gardens between 06:00 - 18:00 from 1 September to 31 March; and between 08:00 - 16:00 from 1 April to 31 August;
  • All consumers are prohibited from using a hose-pipe to clean paved areas and driveways with municipal water.

South Africa is a water-scarce country and residents are reminded to conserve water by practicing the following water-saving tips:
- Do not leave taps running or dripping.
- Wash your car on the grass using a bucket, this will water your lawn at the same time.
- Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe to water your garden.
- Shorten your showering time to 5 minutes at most. (better still, turn the water off while lathering yourself)
- Use a glass of water to rinse when brushing your teeth.
- Take shallow baths. Avoid filling your bath to a depth greater than 100 mm.
- Re-use water from baths, showers and washing machines to water your garden or pot plants.
For more information read here

Please check the dam status at the bottom of this newsletter.
water-restrictionsThis month at Water Wise

Heritage and Arbor month celebrations
In September, Water Wise celebrated Arbor and Heritage month with two of the community groups we work with, one in Vanderbijlpark and one in Rand West City Local Municipality.

Meals on Wheels Farm - Vanderbijlpark
On 8 of September 2020, Water Wise held an educational awareness and tree planting function in celebration of Arbor month. Community members were taught the importance of trees in our every day lives, and the team demonstrated how to to plant a tree in a Water Wise way.



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Rand West City Local Municipality (RWCLM) - Toekomsrus, Randfontein
Illegal dumping is a serious problem in Toekomsrus, Randfontein. To assist the community with this, RWCLM, and Water Wise, along with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) held a cleanup campaign in September. A section of parkland where illegal dumping is a serious issue was converted into a community park. More than 100 meters of municipal land was cleaned and trees were planted to beautify the area. The community members assisted in the cleanup, as well as with the tree planting and vowed to take ownership of this piece of land to keep it clean. 

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WW tip of the month

How to plant a tree in a water wise way
When choosing a tree to plant, it is very important to select one that is indigenous and adaptive to the rainfall or climate of that region. This allows the tree to survive and even flourish with minimal watering once it has been established. Alien (foreign) plants should be avoided because many tend to compete with indigenous plants for natural resources, which in turn negatively impacts on plant biodiversity within the region. Here is how you plant a tree in a water wise way:

  1. Dig a square hole (this allows roots to spread out and not girdle the tree as it gets older), half a meter wide by half a meter deep. Keep the dark top-soil (contain essential nutrients) separate from the soil beneath it.
  2. Place the top-soil at the bottom of the hole.
  3. Moisten the soil with water to avoid any shock that could be experienced by the roots.
  4. Remove the plastic bag from around the tree and place the tree upright in the hole. Check that it is not root-bound. If so loosen some of the outer roots of the root ball.
  5. To enhance the nutrition of the soil, mix compost/kraal manure (preferable older manure) with your leftover soil and pack it firmly into the hole and around the tree.
  6. Next to the tree’s roots, place a 2-litre plastic bottle that has had the bottom cut off. Place the narrow end into the soil. Make sure the bottle is placed at an angle. Ensure that the bottle opening is above ground level. Alternatively, a pipe can be used instead. These watering systems allow water to reach the roots directly (encouraging deeper roots) for efficient water uptake.
  7. Measure one spade-length in distance around the tree. In this area, remove all the grass and weeds. Make a basin around the tree. Water the tree thoroughly in the basin. Thereafter water it through the plastic bottle or pipe and add a 10 cm layer of mulch (leaves, stones, straws, or strips of newspapers). Mulch acts as a blanket covering the soil, it keeps the soil cool and reduces water loss from its surface. Make sure that the mulch does not touch the tree's stem.
  8. Fill the bottle/pipe with water once a week (larger 20L trees will require at least 20L of water per week). This prevents wastage by sending water straight to the root system. Continue this watering for a full 12 months. Once you have watered the tree, put the lid on the bottle to prevent any water evaporation. After the first year, water the tree only when the soil is dry.
  9. To stake the tree, place a wooden stake next to the tree and tie it loosely to the tree’s stem or trunk with soft material such as an old stocking to help the tree grow straight. In windy areas two stakes may be required on either side of the tree to secure it. Do not tie the string/stocking hard around the tree stem as this will cut into the stem as the tree matures.
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Environmental days


WAD_News 04 Oct: World Animal Day
05 Oct: World Habitat Day
05 - 10 Oct: National Weedbuster Week
07 - 11 Oct: National Marine Week
13 Oct: International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction
14 Oct: World Environment Education Day
16 Oct: World Food Day

As we celebrate one of our environmental days, World Animal Day on 04 October 2020, here is a fun word search puzzle created by the Water Wise team to help readers better understand our animals. Enjoy!


Fill in the missing words in the paragraph below:
Animals are living organisms that feed on organic matter, typically have specialized sense organs and nervous systems, and are able to respond rapidly to stimuli. They are generally grouped into six groups, namely:
1____ are cold-blooded and live both in water and land. e.g Toad.
2_______: not all can fly but they all have wings and feathers and reproduce by laying eggs. e.g Falcon.
3_____ are cold-blooded vertebrates that live underwater and have fins but not all have scales. e.g Hake.
4_______ are warm-blooded animals that produce milk to feed their offspring; most of them have hair or fur. e.g Baboon.
5____ are cold-blooded land animals. Their bodies are covered in scales and they lay eggs to reproduce. e.g snake.
6_______ don’t have backbones. Not all, but most can move or fly, and they are the smallest in body size compared to other types. e.g Bees.
Animals that we live with as companions in our homes are called____, while animals that are bred for food and other products are called_____. 

Water and environmental news


Sappi celebrates Arbour Day and our heritage by conserving endangered Pepperbark trees
"There is serendipity in the fact that Arbour Week and Heritage Day are both celebrated in the month of September, which also heralds the beginning of spring in South Africa. As the country breathes a tentative sigh of relief as it cautiously reopens the economy under Level 2..."
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SA urged to save water as Vaal Dam level drops to 37%
"The rest of the country’s water situation remains stable with dam levels holding out at 60% since the beginning of September. Despite Gauteng’s dam levels being stable, residents in the province were urged to save water, said the department of water and sanitation (DWS) in a statement."
"A rural community in KwaZulu-Natal in the King Cetshwayo district has been without water supply for about two months, during a period when constant sanitization is crucial as one measure to curb the spread of Covid-19. The lack of water supply has made life difficult for residents in ward 24, Ndlangubo, under the uMlalazi Municipality in the northern parts of the province."
"The Japanese operator of a ship that leaked oil off the Mauritius coast pledged Friday to pay at least $9.4 million to help restore areas affected by the spill. Mitsui OSK Lines said in a statement that it planned “to contribute a total fund of about one billion Japanese yen over several years to support measures” to restore the marine environment."

Dam capacities