The corporate sector is stepping up water-saving initiatives

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THE Nelson Mandela Bay business sector is stepping up its water-saving initiatives, helping to speed repair of leaks and supporting humanitarian efforts as dams supplying the metro continue to plunge to historic lows.

This comes at a time when the city is stepping up its efforts to prevent day zero by encouraging residents and businesses to reduce their water usage from 285 MLD to 230 MLD per day.

Many member companies of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber coordinate their efforts by installing rainwater harvesting tanks, drilling boreholes and promoting sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations through water recycling measures. water when possible.

However, the huge backlog of over 3,000 water leaks which accounts for approximately 29% of the metro’s water losses remains a huge challenge for the city and as such the chamber has launched a series of initiatives to respond urgently.

One of these is the Adopt a Leak initiative, which is a partnership with the Municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay, and serves as an extension of current efforts to limit the number of leaks in the subway.

“This is a targeted intervention and focuses on key areas where there is a high concentration of leaks,” said chamber CEO Denise van Huyssteen.

“A similar concept to this is the Adopt a School from the Room initiative which has been underway for over a year and aims to reduce the 10% contribution of schools to the subway water leak challenge. Local businesses support schools and clinics with plumbing maintenance and leak repair, as well as providing alternative water solutions such as rainwater tanks and boreholes.

“In addition to these targeted interventions, it is essential that businesses and consumers address leaks in their own operations and premises. The leaks are not only focused on visible municipal infrastructure, but are also widespread in our own businesses and homes,” she said.

Companies such as Aspen, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), Continental Tire South Africa, Coega Development Corporation, Cerebos, Isuzu South Africa, Sovereign Foods and Volkswagen South Africa have all taken the matter into their own hands by pivoting their water consumption habits to avoid the water crisis.

This demonstration of commitment bodes well for the metro as it mobilizes citizens and businesses to drastically reduce their daily water consumption in order to extend the city’s water supply.

CCBSA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Gift of Givers, which will see the beverage bottling company’s monster truck support the foundation in delivering water to struggling communities across the bay.

The company will also donate 20 Jojo 5,000l tanks which will be placed at identified water collection points in the city.

In addition, 500 water wheels will be distributed to communities to help collect and store water. As part of a medium-term plan, Cokeville, an off-grid solar-powered groundwater collection and treatment project aimed at offsetting South Africa’s growing water insecurity, will be commissioned.

Nine new systems are planned for the region with a minimum annual resupply potential of 90 million liters per year.

“We are committed to supporting the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay as part of our broader water crisis relief and assistance plan.

“This includes working with Gift of the Givers and other stakeholders to provide water to vulnerable and distressed communities.

“In addition, CCBSA is implementing a six-point plan that aims to secure alternative water supply sources to minimize societal impact.

“These plans include the deployment of three Cokevilles with nine systems which will be deployed in the municipality and brought online in August,” said Nozicelo Ngcobo, Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa. .

Cerebos, the market leader in retail salt in South Africa with extensive distribution in Southern Africa, has partnered with the Gift of Givers Foundation and has made available up to 500,000 liters per day of desalinated water for tank truck collections.

Cerebos chief executive John Drinkwater said he offered this capacity to Gift of the Givers at no cost to support interim emergency measures because he is confident this water will get to those who desperately need it.

“We gave the organization our 5L Halo bottles free of charge for a short emergency supply. We will also donate 5000 5 liter bottles of Halo 5 liters.

“In addition, I am also trying to open a 5 liter water drive-thru in Newton Park, where consumers can order 5 liter water online and then collect it in drive-thru mode,” said Drinkwater.

Spar Eastern Cape has also joined us and will be donating 20 Jojo tanks and in addition is offering businesses the opportunity to procure a 5,250 liter water tank at a discounted price of R4,000 plus VAT per tank.

Isuzu collects rainwater to flush its toilets in areas too remote to use its treated effluent.

Currently the water tanks have 60,000l of water and at full capacity they will have 160,000.

Harvested water is also collected for filling their water testing facility, as well as filling the fire dam.

Effluent streams from the processes are treated in the company’s wastewater treatment plant before leaving the site.

This water is then treated, stored and reused to supply approximately 80% of its ablutions with flushing water.

As a major step on the road to zero-impact production, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has implemented two projects aimed at significantly reducing the environmental footprint of its Kariega plant.

The first project is a wastewater recycling facility, which was built on site at the plant.

This facility will recycle production-related wastewater from various production areas, for reuse in certain production processes.

In addition to reducing the company’s freshwater consumption by approximately 26%, this will also serve to reduce VWSA’s reliance on municipally supplied water amid the ongoing drought in the region. region.

“As with our colleagues in the Volkswagen Group, we are committed to protecting the environment in every way possible,” said Ulrich Schwabe, production manager at VWSA.

It is vital that public businesses that attract a lot of pedestrians, such as shopping malls, carry out water saving initiatives and raise awareness. To this end, Greenacres and Cleary Park shopping centers have also installed water tanks on their premises to catch rainwater to supplement their supply.

Van Huyssteen commended the companies for their quick responses, saying this will go a long way in mitigating the risks associated with the water crisis.

“We would like to call on businesses to support our Adopt-a-School and Adopt-A-Leak initiatives, as well as humanitarian efforts.

“Gift of the Givers are making incredible progress in a short time to ensure communities have access to water, but they still need hundreds more tanks and the donation of pumps would also be welcome,” Van Huyssteen said. .

– ISSUED BY NELSON MANDELA BAY BUSINESS CHAMBER

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