You no longer have a choice!

South Africa is a water scarce region, with the Western Cape hit this year by the worst drought in a century. After a year of calls to reduce water usage, consumption didn't decrease as much as it should, and the dam levels didn't increase. Day Zero (the predicted date when municipal water will run out) is now an unsettling reality. 

There's only one reason to save: when there's no more water left, all taps will run dry. 

  • May 2017: The Western Cape was declared a disaster area.
  • September 2017: Level 5 Water Restrictions set in place for residents. 
  • October 2017: Residents of the City of Cape Town is still using 85 millions liters of water more than the City's target.
  • April 2018: Day Zero, meaning the taps will run dry, according to the municipality's calculations
Although the attention is on the City of Cape Town and the other municipalities in the Western Cape to survive the extreme drought, it is important to know that it is not only the Western Cape's problem. Everyone in South Africa should do their part to use water responsibly. 

Two of the approaches we follow to save water is at our business and in our communities.

1) At our business

  • An audit of all taps in stores and the installation of self-closing taps where problems occurred;
  • Truck and rolltainer wash activities at distribution centres have been suspended;
  • All garden irrigation has been suspended;
  • Crate wash activities at distribution centres have been reduced (while still maintaining hygiene and sanitation standards);
  • Utilising bricks or 500ml plastic bottles in toilet cisterns to reduce water usage in flushing in all supermarkets;
  • We identified and trained Water Ambassadors in each of our office buildings at our home office in Brackenfell, outside Cape Town;
  • The ongoing subsidy on the sale of Eastern Highlands mineral water across all Western Cape stores.

2) In our communities

Shoprite is a business that is committed to Act For Change in the communities where we trade and therefore have taken the responsibility to find innovative ways to help everyone through the water crisis.

  • We've extended our existing water-saving initiatives to include a smart meter roll-out programme which will save 1 million litres of water a day at schools across Cape Town. 100 Smart Water Meters are being installed at Cape Town’s top 100 high-volume water-using schools in partnership with Bridgiot, a start-up company affiliated with Stellenbosch University, which designed and built the smart water meter locally. 
  • The distribution of water tanks and the installation of grey-water systems at its community food gardens across South Africa.
  • The Group also supports 36 PlayPumps which bring clean drinking water to over 350 000 people across South Africa daily. (A PlayPump is a specifically designed “merry-go-round” that pumps water into a reservoir as children play on it, providing a healthy water supply to rural communities.)
  • We partnered with the City of Cape Town to inform consumers in select Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets about water restrictions and water saving initiatives. 

Tell us what you are doing to save water! Share your ideas with us on social media. 


Join the conversation on social media and spread the message: #ActForChange and #SaveWater. 

Three social media channels to follow for news about water:

  1. @WeActForChange on Twitter and Instagram for water saving tips
  2. Bridgiot, the company that makes the Dropula Smart Water Meter used in the #SmartWaterMeterChallenge, regular shares how much water has been saved at the schools Shoprite and other corporates support. When this page was published, over 6 million liters of water have been saved through this challenge! 
  3. The City of Cape Town shares updates on the water shortage on their social channels.


Water-saving tips for the four places where the most water is most often used:

1) At the office

The amount of water allocated to each person during water restrictions is for your overall water usage - at home and at the office. 

Do your part to save water even when you are not at home. Encourage colleagues to adapt their water use. Don't waste water, consider alternative options like waterless hand sanitizers. And you don't need to wash your cup each time you have coffee. 

2) Bathroom

The City of Cape Town has shared some interesting tips to save water in your bathroom.


  • Install water-saving taps and fit low-flow shower heads.
  • Close the tap while you brush your teeth, shave, etc.
  • Fill a milk bottle with water and put it in the toilet cistern to displace some of the water used with each flush. You can also use a brick. Even better, use rainwater and grey water to flush the toilet. 
  • Check for leaks and if you find any, fix them immediately. A tap leaking 50 drops a minute, adds up to 1 838 litres a year! A high school is saving 40kL of water per day just by fixing their leaks! Read more here.  


3) Kitchen

  • Defrost foods in the fridge or natrurally rather than placing it under running water.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Avoid washing vegetables under running water. Use a bowl instead, and afterwards empty it in the garden.
  • If you have a dishwasher, only use it with a full load.
  • Save water by not using your washing machine daily with a small load.Try to wash a full load every time and re-use this water. 


4) Garden

  • Establish a ‘water-wise’ garden by using only, or mainly, indigenous plants which do not need that much water to survive and flourish.
  • Capture rainwater and re-use bath and sink water to water plants and lawns (but first try to use the water indoors for flushing the toilet).
  • Frequent watering makes your plants shallow rooted and more dependent on you for survival. Less watering will toughen the grass and your plants and encourage its roots to spread deeper.
  • The leaves of plants and trees do not need to be watered. You can therefore focus all the water on the roots of the plants and trees to ensure that they absorb all of the water you are giving them.


Use the City of Cape Town's Think Water Calculator. Saving starts with knowing how much you use - this calculator will help you check your current water consumption.

For the uninitiated, practicing water conservation can seem a bit daunting at first, but concentrating and applying your mind will quickly turn it into a habit. 


Save Water, Act For Change

City of Cape Town Water Dashboard