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What is greywater?

Greywater is all wastewater that is discharged from a house, excluding black water
(toilet water). This includes water from showers, bathtubs, sinks, kitchen,
dishwashers, laundry tubs, and washing machines. Greywater makes up the largest proportion of the total wastewater flow from households in terms of volume. Typically, 50-80% of the household wastewater is greywater. Rand water and UNISA baseline research show that the quality of greywater from sample homes in suburbs are all within the parameters of the South African water quality guidelines for irrigation. This means that greywater from your bathroom is safe to use for irrigation in your garden.

National legislation does not prohibit the reuse of greywater and,at present, there are no formal standards or guidelines for the reuse of greywater for irrigation in South Africa
however use must not contravene the National Health Act 61 of 2003 and allow greywater to create a nuisance,which is defined as fly/mosquito breeding objectionable odors or the entry of polluted water onto neighboring properties.

Why grey water recycling?

The main purpose of greywater recycling is to substitute the precious drinking water
in applications which do not require drinking water quality. Non-potable reuse
applications include industrial, irrigation, toilet flushing and laundry washing
dependent on the technologies utilized in the treatment process. With greywater
recycling, it is possible to reduce the amounts of fresh water consumption as well as
wastewater production, in addition reducing water bills. 
 
Benefits of greywater recycling

Recycling water has many benefits, most obviously that it saves potable water. In addition to conserving potable water, greywater may actually be better for vegetation. Greywater usually contains detergents that have nitrogen or phosphorus, which are plant nutrients. GreywaterAction.org also says reusing greywater keeps it out of the sewer or septic system, which reduces the chance that it will end up in our local streams, lakes and ponds. It also increases the life and capacity of your septic system since usage decreases. Recycling water saves money as well. With water costs rising, many people who choose to use greywater have lower monthly bills.

Water saving potential

Greywater recycling has the potential to save a third of the domestic mains water
usage. If the property is metered, this will reduce the water bill. The resulting financial
savings will depend both on the price of water in the area and the amounts of water
reused. This, in turn, will reduce the pressure on the fresh water resources and reduce
the quantity of discharged wastewater.


Environmental benefits

Greywater systems bring significant savings in fresh drinking water in addition to
reducing the amounts of generated waste water, thus easing the pressure on the
environment. In general, low-energy systems should be preferred over high expenditure systems.


Economic aspects

Greywater reuse should be viewed not only in terms of economic performance but its
more significant social and environmental benefits in contributing towards sustainable
development and resource use.

Water Saving Tips


  1. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – this can save 6 liters of water per minute.
  2. Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern to reduce the volume of water used in each flush. You can get one of these from your water provider.
  3. Take a shorter shower. Shower can use anything between 6 and 45 liters per minute.
  4. Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher – this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.
  5. Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 liters of water a day, or 5,500 liters of water a year.
  6. Install a water butt to your drainpipe and use the water collected to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows.
  7. Water your garden with a watering can rather than a hosepipe. A hosepipe uses 1,000 liters of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.
  8. Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge. This will mean you do not have to leave the cold tap running for the water to run cold before you fill your glass.
  9. Install a water meter. When you're paying your utility provider for exactly how much water you use, laid out in an itemized bill, there's an incentive to waste less of the stuff.
  10. Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now buy water-efficient shower heads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products.