#WatershedWednesday: 'Can I really afford to flush away my wee?'

Cape Town - As residents, tourists and various industries across Cape Town increases its efforts to save water, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) embarked on a “dry run” on 15 November and is doing it again on Wednesday, 29 November, and including corporates in SA.

Called #WatershedWednesday - "a day of drastic water disruption" - the initiative calls on individuals in "shared spaces and corporate offices to experience a simulation of life with limited water".

ALSO SEE: Cape Water Crisis: Day Zero 'moved' as city prepares for 2m tourists

"#WatershedWednesday is a challenge to all South Africans to make an extreme water saving," says WWF, adding that it "calls on businesses to take part in this day of discomfort by sticking to extreme company-wide rationing and clever ways of saving water".

Although schools, groups or individuals can join in, WWF says its challenging businesses because while domestic water usage has dropped, water consumption "goes with us beyond our homes".

"The idea is for everyone to experience the drastic disruption of not having enough water and to drive home the message that you can only save water while there is water to save," says WWF.

To participate in #WatershedWednesday, here are some of the rules to follow:

  • Limit water in the office to only 2 litres per person per day. This covers all your use, including coffee and tea.
  • Wear the clothes you wore to work yesterday.
  • Flush less - if it's yellow, let it mellow.

For inspiration on what to do on the day, here are more Watershed Wednesday ideas.

SEE: Cape Water Crisis: New initiative to help tourism sector reduce usage

“We hope to spark new cubicle conversations as we embrace the very real issues surrounding limited water in the Western Cape,’’  says WWF CEO, Dr Morné du Plessis.

In the WWF office, taps and urns were off limits for the day except between 12:00 to 13:00. "Toilet-use operations were trialled and tested. In the morning, toilets were deemed “permission cubicles” where staff let the yellow mellow while in the afternoon cubicles worked on a tag system allowing a flush after the fourth yellow," adds WWF.

WWF adds that while some staff had a "wee bit of a challenge" adapting to the "new normal" in the office, others had no problem with #WatershedWednesday. 

WWF encourages companies to appoint a workplace water champion to drive the campaign and share #WatershedWednesday plans by contacting Roxanne Frizlar on rfrizlar@wwf.org.za or 021 657 6600.

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