Drought Business Support


Welcome to GreenCape’s drought business support page, which aims to help businesses become more resilient to water-related risks. Please browse the content below and feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. We also host regular drought support sessions (see Water Events). 

If you would like information on water technology and services providers, please visit the supplier database, hosted on the 110% Green webpage or contact us.

GreenCape aims to help businesses collaborate and support each other on their water resilience efforts through the sharing of case studies, reports and industry events. Please share your water journey with us so we can publicise it and sign-up to become a member to ensure you receive all the latest correspondence on our events and reports.

Below are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we receive from business with regards to the drought:

 

Q: How serious is the drought?

A: This is the worst drought in the region since records began. The latest analysis indicates that the current drought is at least a 1:311-year event, unprecedented in our lifetimes. For the latest dam and consumption levels, please refer to the following resources:

 

Q: What is Government doing to address the drought?

A: All tiers of government are actively responding to the drought crisis through restrictions, reducing their own consumption, awareness raising, augmenting supply, amongst other interventions. For the latest updates please refer below:

 

Q: What can my business do?

To enable your business to become more resilient to water-related risks, follow the sustainable water journey outlined below: 

Sustainable water use journey

Figure 1: Stages in the sustainable water journey

 

  1. Improve the understanding of water use and risks
  2. Increase water efficiency
  3. Reuse the water used on-site
  4. Access alternative supplies of water
  5. Explore and develop water partnerships and exercise water stewardship

 

 

1. Understand water uses and risks

Measure

The first step on the sustainable water use journey, and perhaps the most important, is to measure the amount of water used in order to manage its usage in future. In order to identify opportunities to save water, businesses need to understand what their water usage is, where it is being used and for what purposes. This can be done by conducting water audits or by installing smart (online) meters and sub-meters. Smart metering has proven to be an incredibly effective tool for detecting leaks. This is because it allows businesses to readily identify abnormally high usage, as well as usage during periods when water should not be used (e.g. on weekends, or during shutdown periods). Leaks can then be repaired quickly. Smart metering has helped businesses reduce their consumption significantly. For example, Growthpoint Properties has attributed the 70% water savings achieved in their commercial office property, The Estuaries, to smart metering. It is also important to note that large water users (using more than 10 000 kilolitres per annum) are required to submit an annual water audit to the City of Cape Town. The National Cleaner Production Centre (NCPC) offers free water audits for large commercial and industrial water users, or for a group of smaller companies.

Assess Risk

It is also important to understand the water-related risks to your business and supply chain. These risks include water supply, pressure, quality and tariff risks etc. There are a number of tools that can help your business understand their risks:

•             Ecolab Water Risk Monetizer

•             UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate

•             WWF Water Risk Filter Tool

The importance of understanding water use and risks along the entire value chain is illustrated by the case of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): 86% of their total water volume is used by their suppliers, while only 3% is used in their own operations. This allowed them to target water projects where they would have the most impact: by supporting farmers in India. In a similar manner, South African Breweries (SAB) noted that the irrigation of barley is a significant input when considering the full value chain and invested in an alternative irrigation method. SAB also supported invasive alien vegetation clearing to offset its water use, which allowed for the complete offset of their water use at SAB’s Ibhayi Brewery in Port Elizabeth and its Newlands Brewery in Cape Town.

Benchmark

Once water consumption is measured and monitored, the consumption should be benchmarked against industry best practice. Below are some benchmarking tools for various sectors.

Commercial sector

The Green Building Council of South Africa's energy and water benchmarking tool provides a guideline for the calculation of your office building’s water (and energy) use. It also benchmarks water (and energy) use relative to average office use in South Africa. Growthpoint Properties have developed a free app (downloadable online via Google Play or Apple iTunes) for their property portfolio, which includes the energy and water performance of each of their buildings.  The dti also financed a detailed report Baseline water use determination and target setting in the commercial sector. Alternatively, there are a number of international benchmark calculators, with the Kohler calculator being one of the simplest.

Hospitality sector

Businesses in the hospitality sector can assess their progress in implementing water efficiency measures using the Water Research Commission’s AquaSmart Hotels tool. It consists of two excel workbooks, the first is the tool itself and the second is a database where water consumption can be stored.

Health care facilities

For implementing water efficiency measures in health care facilities, refer to the technical memorandum compiled by the Western Cape Government on water efficiency in hospitals.

Industrial sector

Industrial water use is sector specific and varies from sector to sector. The Water Research Commission has developed ‘NatSurvs’ for water intense sectors, outlining benchmarks and water efficiency measures. A summary of the Natsurvs is included here, with the full details of the Natsurvs available on the WRC website.

Agricultural sector

The GreenAgri website provides useful information on benchmarks and water efficiency measures for agricultural businesses.

GreenCape’s Agri Sector Desk also provides support to the sector.

Households

The City of Cape Town's water consumption calculator helps individuals understand their daily water consumption.

Construction sector

The Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) green building certification system provides a measurable way for residential property developers to optimise the performance of their building design.

 

2. Water efficiency interventions

Once water usage is measured, and savings opportunities have been identified, the next step is to implement water efficient technologies, fittings, processes and behavioural changes. These interventions are typically low cost and easy to implement, with short pay-pack periods. Toilets, hand-basins and showers/baths often consume 30-50% of the total water use in domestic and commercial buildings. Therefore, these fixtures should be targeted for water savings measures, and are often low-cost or no-cost. Some examples of these interventions are listed below:

Water efficient fittings (typically easy to retrofit):

  • Hold-flush or dual flush toilets
  • Waterless urinals
  • Cistern displacement item (older toilets)
  • Low-flow or mist tap aerators or waterless hand sanitiser
  • Low-flow showerheads
  • High efficiency pre-rinse spray valves
  • Water efficient appliances (e.g. dishwashers, washing machines)
  • Automatic switch off devices / motion sensor devices – e.g. for cleaning conveyor belts

Water efficient practices:

  • Fix leaks and faulty / leaking equipment & service equipment on a regular basis
  • Only flushing when necessary (“If its yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”), even at the office
  • Simple reporting procedures for staff to report leaks
  • Optimise the operation of cooling systems
  • Sweeping or mopping floors rather than spraying down floors
  • Water wise gardening
  • Only operate dishwashers and washing machines when fully loaded
  • Staff training and guest awareness programmes

For more sector specific interventions, please see the information below:

Commercial Sector

The US EPA and City West Water (Australia) have both developed guidelines for the best management practice in commercial buildings.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism also offers drought support to commercial businesses (e-mail queries to Gregg Brill via Gregg.Brill@westerncape.gov.za, or Lourencio Pick via Lourencio.Pick2@westerncape.gov.za).

Hospitality and Tourism Sector

Further to the guidelines provided for the commercial sector, there are also a number of water efficiency guidelines specific to the hospitality sector, including the Best Practice Guidelines for Water Usage for Hotel Industry developed by the water supplies department of Hong Kong.  Green Hotelier also provides an overview of water efficiency interventions for the sector.  

In addition, the following support is offered to businesses in the tourism sector:

FEDHASA Cape established a water-wise task team to help their members become more resilient. Examples of water efficiency measures implemented by hotels in the City of Cape Town are outlined in this article.

Industrial Sector

For information on water efficiency opportunities in industrial businesses, the following resources are available:

  • The Natsurvs for specific industries, such as laundries, textiles, metal finishing and food and beverage sectors. A summary of the Natsurvs is included here with the full details of the Natsurvs available on the WRC website.
  • The National Cleaner Production Centre offers free audits that will identify opportunities for reuse.
  • GreenCape’s Water-use Benchmark Data: For access to a comprehensive list of industry-related benchmarks, please contact us.

There are a wide range of industrial sector examples showcasing what can be achieved when water efficient interventions are implemented in manufacturing processes. Coca-Cola Beverages SA (CCBSA) have been able to reduce the amount of water required to produce one litre of soft drink from 2.13 litres in 2010 to 1.7 litres in 2016. Internationally, a wide range of interventions have been successfully implemented by companies from various sectors. These include Ford, Kimball Office, MillerCoors, Cascade Tissue Group and BASF.

Households and small enterprises

For households and small businesses JG Afrika's Domestic Water Saving Fixtures Report provides an overview of possible water efficient interventions.

 

3. On-site reuse

The third step is to consider the onsite reuse of wastewater. In a commercial or residential building, wastewater is either considered to be greywater (relatively low contamination wastewater from hand basins, showers, baths and laundries) or blackwater (water from toilets, sinks, i.e. sewage). These streams can be treated and reused in the building, typically for toilet flushing.

In their process operations, industrial companies generate a range of wastewater streams, which can either be reused individually, or combined and reused. In general, it is most cost-effective to reuse higher quality wastewater (such as rinse water) for uses that do not require further treatment. Wastewater can however be treated to the required standards, including potable quality. For more information on industrial reuse opportunities, the following resources are available.

  • The Natsurvs for specific industries, such as laundries, textiles, metal finishing and food and beverage sectors. A summary of the Natsurvs is included here with the full details of the Natsurvs available on the WRC website
  • The National Cleaner Production Centre offers free audits that will identify opportunities for reuse.
  • GreenCape’s Water-use Benchmark Data: For access to a comprehensive list of industry-related benchmarks, please contact us.

 

4. Alternative water-supply

Accessing alternative water is a good way to increase business continuity and reduce water costs. This also contributes to the city / town by lowering the demand on potable water supply, thereby increasing the drought resilience of a city / town. It is however best practice to access alternative water once monitoring, efficiency and reuse opportunities have been explored, thereby lowering the volume requirements and project costs for alternative water supply. Below are some of the options available to households and businesses:

It is important to note that alternative water systems may require authorisations or permits from the municipality, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) or other organisations. This link provides more information on some of the authorisations required by the City of Cape Town, and includes a link to their alternative water guidelines. In addition, if a waste stream (e.g. brine) is generated that is intended to be disposed of via the municipal sewer, a discharge permit might be required from the municipality.

Rainwater or stormwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting should be explored as a possible option to augment water supplies. The Western Cape is predominantly a winter rainfall region, and in most cases it’s not possible to capture and store enough rainwater for summer months. However, it is a good option to explore if you have significant hard surfaces (roofing and paving) where rainwater could be funnelled and captured. To consider how much water you can collect, consider that each square metre of roof area collects 1 litre of water for every 1 millimetre of rainfall received. CSAG’s Water Harvesting Tool can help you assess the viability of using rainwater to supplement your supply.

The Bayside Mall presents an interesting case where both rainwater and stormwater is being harvested for toilet flushing and irrigation. CTM has also successfully installed at least two rainwater harvesting projects. In addition, CTM plans to consider rainwater harvesting on all new developments as well as part of its renovations of existing stores.

Water storage

Businesses should protect themselves from the risk of municipal water not being available or intermittent through the installation of on-site water storage. It is also important to note that Cape Town's Water By-law (2010) Section 52d requires businesses to have enough water storage on site operate for up to 8 hours without municipal water.

Groundwater use

Groundwater, accessed through boreholes or wellpoints, is a potential source of alternative water. The quality and availability of the water will vary from site to site. Treatment may be required, depending on the quality and intended use. Groundwater use is regulated by the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). Most businesses will require a Water Use Licence in order to abstract groundwater and should apply through DWS’ electronic Water Use Licence Application and Authorisation System (eWULAAS) portal. The application process can take up to 300 days.

However, businesses intending to use low volumes of groundwater may only need authorisation in terms of a General Authorisation (GA). In order to qualify for a GA, the user must comply with all the conditions listed in the relevant GA. For example, in the case of the GA for the Taking and Storing of Water (published 2 September 2016), one of the conditions limits the volume of water that can be abstracted per year. This map shows the maximum abstraction rates for the Western Cape for this GA.

Note that households wishing to use groundwater for reasonable domestic use, typically fall under Schedule 1 of the Nation Water Act, and therefore do not require a licence.

In addition to any authorisations required by DWS, the municipality may also require registration or authorisation for certain activities (including registering boreholes or alternative water plumbing systems, obtaining permits to discharge brine). This link provides more information on some of the authorisations required by the City of Cape Town.  In addition, if a waste stream (e.g. brine) is generated that is intended to be disposed of via the municipal sewer, a discharge permit might be required from the municipality. The discharge permit will only be granted if the quality of the brine is within the specified limits of industrial effluent prescribed by the CoCT.

Treated municipal effluent

Municipal wastewater that has been treated in wastewater treatment works is known as ‘treated effluent’. Depending on availability, this treated effluent can be purchased from municipalities (apply to CoCT here) and is usually sold at a much cheaper rate than potable water. As treated effluent is non-potable it is only suitable for certain applications, such as toilet flushing, fire systems or irrigation. However, it can be treated to required standards, including potable quality.

Businesses are increasingly viewing treated effluent as a cost-effective alternative to potable water for suitable applications. An example is the Rabie Property Group who now use treated effluent for all their construction activities, except handwashing and drinking.

 

5. Water partnerships and stewardship

This drought cannot be fought alone, and it requires everyone in society to work together to ensure we become more sustainable. There are some great examples of what can be accomplished when organisations collaborate to ensure the scarce water resources are used effectively. Strategic Water Partners Network South Africa highlights projects done by a range of stakeholders including: Anglo American, CocaCola, Eskom, Nestlè, SAB and Sasol. WWF-SA's Water Balance Programme links corporate water users to the health of our natural infrastructure through positive investment into critical catchments. These investments are used to clear invasive alien vegetation to balance the participant’s operational water use, as well as to mobilise the collective action necessary to ensure the sustainability of these interventions.

The Schools Smart Water Meter Challenge enables businesses to sponsor water efficiency measures in local schools, thereby saving water and reducing school costs.

 

Q. What are businesses in the Western Cape doing?

A: Some examples of companies that have achieved significant water savings are shown on our Water Resilient Businesses webpage.

Q: Where can I find a list of service providers to assist me?

A: A list of water technology and service providers can be found on the Western Cape Government’s 110% Green webpage.

 

News and events


Case Study: Bayside Mall reduce water use by 93% through rainwater harvesting

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: JG Afrika reduce office water consumption by 67%

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: Vineyard Hotel reduces monthly water consumption by 30%

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: ACA Threads reduce water consumption by 70% over five years

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

City of Cape Town releases updated Water Outlook Report 2018

The Department of Water and Sanitation at the City of Cape Town has released the latest Water Outlook Report 2018 detailing the latest information and update on the status of... Read more

Why making businesses water resilient makes financial sense

Businesses are investing in water efficiency solutions and alternative water sources due to the drought. However, there are solutions that will make financial sense even when the drought is over... Read more

GreenCape to host Drought Support Workshops in Montague Gardens and Stikland Industria and Surrounds

GreenCape will be hosting two Drought Support Workshop events for industrial companies located in Montague Gardens and Stikland Industria and Surrounds.  Read more

GreenCape & WWF-SA host Water Information Workshop for the Epping Business Neighbourhood

On the 3rd of May 2018, WWF South Africa and GreenCape hosted a workshop on the current water situation and what it means for businesses in the Epping Industria area. The workshop aimed to... Read more

Request for Business Input towards Western Cape Drought Economic Impact Survey

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) have commissioned an Economic Impact Survey in response to the ongoing drought. Read more

City of Cape Town hosts drought crisis meeting for facilities managers

On the 20th of March, the City of Cape Town and SA Facilities Management Association (SAFMA) with support from Old Mutual, GreenCape and Western Cape Government hosted an interactive drought... Read more

GreenCape hosts Sustainable Water Use Workshop for the Food and Beverage Industry

On Friday, 23 March 2018, GreenCape hosted a Sustainable Water Use Workshop for SMME’s in the Food and Beverage Industry. Read more

GreenCape and Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster host Industry Support Roundtable for Clothing and Textiles Sector

On the 21 February 2018, GreenCape together with Cape Clothing and Textile Cluster hosted an Industry Support Roundtable to assist businesses in the Clothing, Textiles, Footwear and Leather industry in... Read more

City of Cape Town releases revised Water Outlook 2018 Summary

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Department has released the revised Water Outlook 2018 Report. Read more

GreenCape hosts event: Opportunities for groundwater use in the Western Cape

On the 6th of December, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town hosted a groundwater information event.  Topics of discussion included an overview of groundwater resources in... Read more

City of Cape Town hosts drought crisis plumber's forum

On the 29th of November, the City of Cape Town hosted a drought crisis meeting and exhibition event. The event was an opportunity for plumbers, as well as those involved with... Read more

Sarebi launches Water Enterprise Development Programme

Sarebi is looking for entrepreneurs working in water for their Water Enterprise Development Programme. This is applicable to entrepreneurs who are looking for: Read more

Information session: opportunities for groundwater use

GreenCape and the Western Cape Government are hosting an information session entitled: Opportunities for groundwater use in the Western Cape. Read more

Workshop on amendments of environmental law

Cullinan & Associates are running a workshop on environmental/green business hot topics - specifically those areas with recent legal amendments and important implications for businesses.They are going to cover: impact... Read more

City hosts Energy, Water and Waste Forum

On the 19th of October 2017 the City of Cape Town (CoCT) hosted an energy, water and waste forum. Read more

Water resilience and expo for Cape Town business - 19 October 2017

The City of Cape Town and partners at the ‘Energy, Water and Waste Forum’ (previously the Energy Efficiency Forum) are hosting a Forum meeting and exhibition focussed on the water crisis. Read more

GreenCape hosts City of Cape Town’s Water Business Briefing session

On 9 May 2017, GreenCape hosted a special water briefing session arranged by the City of Cape Town (CoCT) for industrial and commercial water users in the City. Read more

GreenCape Water MIR released

GreenCape has released its market intelligence report for businesses and investors in the water sector, highlighting water saving opportunities for homes and industry. Read more

Library


Case Study: Bayside Mall reduce water use by 93% through rainwater harvesting

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: JG Afrika reduce office water consumption by 67%

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: Vineyard Hotel reduces monthly water consumption by 30%

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Case Study: ACA Threads reduce water consumption by 70% over five years

GreenCape has been working with companies to showcase examples of alternative and reduced water use in their respective business sectors. Read more

Policy Brief: Water resource and development planning in the Berg Water Management Area

GreenCape has published a policy brief titled; A case for integration: Water resource and development planning in the Berg Water Management Area. Read more

Why making businesses water resilient makes financial sense

Businesses are investing in water efficiency solutions and alternative water sources due to the drought. However, there are solutions that will make financial sense even when the drought is over... Read more

GreenCape hosts event: Opportunities for groundwater use in the Western Cape

On the 6th of December, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town hosted a groundwater information event.  Topics of discussion included an overview of groundwater resources in... Read more

City of Cape Town hosts drought crisis plumber's forum

On the 29th of November, the City of Cape Town hosted a drought crisis meeting and exhibition event. The event was an opportunity for plumbers, as well as those involved with... Read more

City hosts Energy, Water and Waste Forum

On the 19th of October 2017 the City of Cape Town (CoCT) hosted an energy, water and waste forum. Read more

GreenCape hosts City of Cape Town’s Water Business Briefing session

On 9 May 2017, GreenCape hosted a special water briefing session arranged by the City of Cape Town (CoCT) for industrial and commercial water users in the City. Read more