rq nws watershed

Water warrior bakery.


Jacqui Biess is among the water warrior businesses who have taken on the challenge of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) #WatershedWednesday campaign to provide a taste of Day Zero – the day when the taps run dry. The severe drought has not sunk in for 64 percent of Capetonians to use less than 87 litres per day. And for those who are, one of the toughest areas to save water is in the workplace and shopping malls.

At the #Watershed Wednesday launch on Wednesday November 29 Jacqui said she started Charly’s Bakery with her husband Charly in 1998. She moved into a  Vredehoek house 23 years ago and had to install a pump into the stream bubbling beneath the property. When water restrictions came into effect about 10 years ago she began sharing the supply with surrounding neighbours, now numbering four.

When the City of Cape Town announced emergency level 1 water restrictions she started reusing 45 gallon containers delivered to the bakery and filling them with water from home and using it at the bakery.

Describing herself as a water ninja she took her water saving measures from home into the bakery and her 27 staff. “Capetonians are not making enough effort to save water so I started talking to staff at the bakery trying to persuade people to save,” said Jacqui.

She stuck messages around the bakery: “Our taps will run dry if we do not act now to reduce our water usage”, “A single flush uses five days worth of drinking water”, “We have non potable water and a basin for you to flush a number two”. With each one having three to four wee’s a day, multiplied by 27, that’s a saving of 972 litres each day.

Jacqui says it took some time but everyone is used to it now. “We make sure no water is wasted once. The dish washing water is reused to mop floors, flush toilets or to water the indigenous garden. Staff collect water from hand-washing in a bowl in the sink and only wash their tea or coffee mug once a week. They also collect water not drunk by customers,” says Jacqui.

She says the bakery has always had a strong recycling ethos which is important with visitors who refuse to drink water from the tap and insist on bottled.

Jacqui believes that every business needs a water champion, someone to cajole and nag others. Her housekeeper Kazi Charli has become a water champion in Joe Slovo where she tells taxi drivers not to wash their vehicles. She also helps Jacqui fill the drums. Marifilwe Setong lives in Kayamandi where she nags people to turn off taps or wash their cars.

“We don’t have a choice. We have to change our ways,” she says.    

BLOB As part of WWF South Africa #WatershedWednesday campaign they have launched a Bucket List Challenge competition, which rewards innovative and creative water saving ideas across the country.

They are asking businesses to join them and tell them of their water saving efforts at work by making a one to two minute video spelling out what you are doing and how they face the challenges of doing it.

The competition started on Wednesday November 30 and ends on February 28. The winners will be announced during Earth Hour on 24 March next year.

Contact Roxanne Frizlar on rfrizlar@wwf.org.za or 021 657 6600 and WWF-SA will share the videos on their network and in the media.

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