A politician from South Africa has revealed that she only showers once every three days because her province is going through a severe water shortage.
Helen Zille, the premier of Western Cape, said she and her husband tried to use “so little water, that I sometimes get worried about the hygienic and aesthetic consequences”.
“I shower briefly, once every three days, and for the rest wash in the hand basin,” the former leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance, wrote in a column for Politics Web.
Helen Zille says she sometimes worries about the hygienic and aesthetic consequences of only showering every three days (AFP/Getty)
Ms Zille admitted that her routine came with the downside of oily hair.
Oily hair status symbol
“I shower briefly, once every three days, and for the rest wash in the hand basin.”
“I used to wash my hair every day‚ but now only when I shower‚ with visibly negative consequences. However‚ I regard oily hair in a drought to be as much of a status symbol as a dusty car.”
Western Cape, in the south of the country, is experiencing a drought due to little rainfall in the 2016 winter season. Ms Zille called the crisis the worse since 1904 and declared her province to be a disaster area in May.
A growing population has also put pressure on water demand.
The city of Cape Town has a level five water restriction in place, which means that residents and visitors are only allowed 87 litres of treated water each, per day. The water must be used for washing, drinking and cooking.
Just four municipalities in Western Cape have no restriction on water usage in place. The penalty for flouting a restriction could be a fine or imprisonment.
Ms Zille made her comments after an article claimed that Western Cape taxpayers’ money had funded a water purification system for the politician’s residence, Leeuwenhof, in Cape Town.
In her article Ms Zille wrote about how some journalists were “driven by agendas, ranging from personal grudges to political bias. This has become so commonplace, that it is time to call it out where it occurs.”
Other water-saving techniques
She suggested that the journalist had come to incorrect conclusions about her water usage when it was claimed that Ms Zille’s family “failed dismally to meet consumption targets set by the City of Cape Town”.
Ms Zille listed other ways she was conserving water at her residence, detailing that municipal water was never used to top-up the swimming pool or to water the garden and that smart water meters had been installed.
“We wash dishes by hand, even after formal functions, because the dishwasher uses too much water,” she wrote.