Water we going to do

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Water we going to do

‘Scientists have calculated that we would actually save more water by forgoing one pound of beef, or four hamburgers, than by not showering for at least six months.’

How about sitting with that one for a moment? Especially if you live in Cape Town where we have just about hit level 4 Water restrictions… What’s that you say?

Level 4 Water Restrictions

With around 11% of drinkable water left in our dams and the rain forecasts not looking to stellar, if you are not already doing everything you can to save water, you really need to get with the program. If you’re doing a bunch of stuff already, don’t get complacent – be talking to each other and leaving comments below this blog post to share ideas on how we can do more.

The article the quote at the top of this post comes from also has links to Rainwater Harvesting and Greywater usageso click on any of them to find out more.

But bigger than just the immediate needs is the idea of changing your ongoing lifestyle so that we can all be a little more sustainable when it comes to water usage.


i’ve spoken about this a little bit before, but one thing tbV and i did after returning from Americaland [two and a half years ago] was to attempt to cut our meat consumption in half because of scary stats like the one above:

‘Scientists have calculated that we would actually save more water by forgoing one pound of beef, or four hamburgers, than by not showering for at least six months.’

We are not suggesting that you don’t shower for six months just by the way. This can be another of those Both/And scenarios i’ve been talking about recently where we look to save water in the immediate but also do some longer term planning [rainwater/greywater/meat consumption] to make a bigger difference in a way that lasts.

So what Val and i did was to have one week where we don’t eat meat at all, followed by a week of normal [not above average] meat eating. In our meat week we don’t typically eat meat every day either. We have also tried to move from beef to a more chicken, pork, fish diet when it comes to meat as beef is apparently the big problem.

We have discovered Frys food along the way which has introduced us to some veganny goodness, hung out with some cool vegetarian folks and listened to their stories, and written a little bit about our own journey over here.

Also for those who are super keen to give it a try but a little bit nervous about what to do with Vegetables, we came up with this double post with some amazing ideas and recipes to help get you through a couple of weeks. One of the highlights of the no meat time for us [and it has felt like a bit of a sacrifice for the greater good – we really do enjoy our meat!] has been learning new recipes and cooking ideas from our friends as well as just experimenting ourselves or with new recipes we find online.

So check those and please feel free to leave your favourite veg recipe in the comments section here as well. Let’s grow a bit of a resource.


[1] What are you doing to save water now? Is there something more you can do? Are their neighbours you need to speak to because of what they are obviously not doing?

[2] Are there any life changes you need to be considering in terms of long term saving of water? Is a meat free day or a meat free week something you could experiment just to see what it’s like for six months and take it from there? Are there a group of friends you could maybe challenge to do this with you so that you’re not doing it alone? 

[3] Any other thoughts on saving water both in the short term and the long term that you would like to share with us? What are the easy things? What are some of the longer term investments you have made?

Please take some time to share your thoughts on any of these in the comments below.

Plus some ‘fun’ graphics i found…

burger water consumption

food footprint

food comparison water

Man, if these are even partly true we REALLY have to start considering what we eat…

By | 2017-05-17T14:00:33+00:00 May 17th, 2017|activities, pain and Hope|8 Comments

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.


  1. Jen May 17, 2017 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Great post. One more thing, if water runs too low, no cuts being raised and no meat eating either! The water they use for the cows could be put through filters and pumped back for everyone to drink. Fry is really awesome, like their burgers on a braai.

  2. Ronnie May 17, 2017 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Thanks for the ideas and reminder that we need to continue to take this issue seriously (still completely amazes me that Cape Town can’t reach their target any month)… just want to follow up on the quote at the top. You mentioned a link for the origin of the link, but i just led me to the same as the rain harvesting and grey water usage (how to purchase tanks, etc.) and was them quoting that same quote. Any idea of the original source? I would like to read the science analysis of the quote.

  3. Connie May 17, 2017 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Its very concerning. SA want to now scrap Visas for all of Africa. Once this is done, we’ll be down to 1Litre per person per day as they all flock here. lol

  4. Ricardo May 17, 2017 at 10:35 am - Reply

    I’m a vegan (thought I’d tell you that lol as I know the jokes). So what you’re saying is correct. There is a great graphic showing a hamburger and the amount each part uses (bun, mean, lettuce). It is about 800 Litres per burger if I’m not mistaken. The average person eats say the meat equivalent of 3 burgers a week, so that is 150 per year or… around 100 000 litres. 100 000 litres is about 8000 litres per month, so it is 2000l over the free 6kl amount!!!!! Thats just for one person. A family of 4 would be doing 32 000l per month. hectic! So that bucket shower some take over a year… thats like 2 burgers or something! yoh!

    Some say, “ahhh but the cows use borehole water on the farm so it doesn’t count”. Yes it does, as this could easily be filterd and supplied as drinking water!

    SOme say, “ahhh but your potatoes and veggies use water”. Yes they do, but about 100 times less than cows.

    Also 1 400 000 litrers is used each day in abbatoris to clean the abbatoir.

    Also when water runs out, so will the meat anyway and then no more argument.

  5. Ashton May 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Great article. I think we need more of this. Water they say will run out by 15th June with low rain. We need major rain otherwise it runs out.

    So we all need to be storing water. Please pass this on.

    Even if its tap water, its better than letting it evaporate in dams or broken pipes.

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