Smart ways to (re)use or treat grey water at home


Alison Groves, regional director and sustainability consultant, WSP, Africa writes:

Being water conscious is not just a fad, as the reality is that we live in a very water stressed country. To ensure whatever you do to save water can be maintained, its best to start with the easy things and until such changes become a natural part of your home and lifestyle.


Here are a few tips about reusing or treating grey water at home.


Do not reuse kitchen water

Kitchen water should not be used as grey water because it has biological contaminants in it. But what you can very easily and cost effectively do at home is redirect your shower or bath water into a rudimentary sand filter – as one way of cutting out some waterborne contaminants – and this water can then be reused in your garden.

That said, if you are a keen gardener and have your own compost heap, you can pour dirty kitchen water onto the compost heap as it aids the decomposition and keeping the compost moist.

Bucket in your shower

Another very easy tip is to keep a bucket handy under your shower to capture the cold water those first few seconds while you wait for the water to run hot. This is clean water and can be used to water plants or vegetables, or evening flushing the toilet.

Cleaning products

And, if you are serious about reusing as much water as you can at home, look at switching to natural cleaning products – products that naturally biodegrade – as this will ensure the water you’re reusing won’t leave chemical petrochemical compounds in the garden.

Flow control in water-efficient buildings

Flow restrictor or low flow fittings for taps, which can either be retrospectively screwed onto a tap spout, for example, or other fittings, can be integrated into the tap line to restrict flow. The flow per minute can change from 12 litres to as low as 2 litres.

Similarly, water saving shower heads available on the market can change the water flow levels from 22 litres a minute to 6 litres a minute, while still ensuring the user does not have a diminished shower experience and can wash normally.

Finally, there’s dual flush toilets and low-flow or waterless urinals. These urinals only need about a litre of water to rinse it.


On the outside of the building, it’s important to consider irrigation as it consumes vast amounts of water per annum. New irrigation controls include moisture control sensors, and/or or rain sensors, which means the irrigation systems will only deliver water when needed. With this, water-wise planting should also be taken into consideration.

ALSO READ: These apps can help you save water 

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