Construction sector urged to get water wise

Sep 12 2017 06:00
Carin Smith

Cape Town – The construction industry should make use of treated effluent water wherever possible, Cape Town deputy executive mayor Ian Neilson pleaded at the annual congress of the Master Builders SA on Monday.

“We urge you to review how water is used in the construction industry,” he said.

He also mentioned a need for office developments to look into hold-flush toilets and waterless toilets.

“The next eight months will be crucial to manage Cape Town’s water in order to get through as much of the coming summer months as possible,” Neilson said.

“Reducing water consumption remains vital, and that is why the City of Cape Town has been encouraging developers to use treated effluent water.”

He emphasised that challenging times such as the present can also be the most innovating times.

“Disruptive changes are changing the norm. Therefore, we must become more adaptive and resilient to find innovative solutions,” said Neilson.

“Water is a vital and very important resource. It is key for infrastructure development and economic development. We need to redefine our relationship to water and embrace water scarcity as the new normal. We cannot predict the future, but we can shape it.”

He said Cape Town’s population has increased by 30% to 4 million people over the past 10 years.

“Therefore, we have to use natural resources sparingly. This can only be done through partnerships with the private sector and between all spheres of government,” said Neilson.

* As Cape Town responds to Level Five Water Restrictions, Growthpoint Properties said in a statement it has made water saving a priority at its buildings across the Mother City.

Over 20% of Growthpoint’s R76.9bn South African property portfolio, not counting its 50% stake in the V&A Waterfront, is located in the Western Cape.

Growthpoint intensified its focus on saving water at its buildings across the country in February 2016. Already, it has reduced consumption of municipal drinking water by an average of 16%, comparing a 12-month period ending February 2016 with a 12-month period ending July 2017, across its entire Cape Town office portfolio.

Growthpoint expects to see even further savings as new data comes in, taking it within reach of a total 20% reduction.

Emira Property Fund is also raising the bar on water efficiency at one of their properties with a pilot water efficiency programme that is generating exceptional results.
Rainwater harvesting at One Highveld, a retail warehouse property just off the N1 highway and John Vorster Drive in Centurion, is delivering a 73% reduction/saving in municipal water use.
“That means daily use has decreased from 28 000 litres to just 7 500 litres - significantly exceeding our initial target of a 10% saving in one year,” says Emira Property Fund CEO Geoff Jennett.

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