Merit stars for water-saving firms

The dangerously low Theewaterskloof dam, a major supplier of water to the city. Shutterstock

The City of Cape Town’s updated Water Star Rating Certification, which recognises integrated water management, has been introduced to promote water savings in the business sector. This coincides with World Water Day on 22 March 2018.

Under the star rating system, companies that receive one star are certified as compliant with the relevant water legislation and the City’s water by-laws, while companies that are awarded between two and five stars will be certified for implementing additional measures to further reduce water consumption and limit water pollution.

Those who achieve five stars are certified as innovators in their operations and that are finding unique ways in which to conserve water and limit water pollution, whether via stormwater or sewer disposal.

The voluntary assessment covers different aspects of water management, namely:
· Where the water comes from
· How the water is used onsite and in operations
· What measures are in place to reduce municipally-supplied drinking water demand
· How much effluent is discharged into the system and the quality of this effluent

The certification focuses on how drinking water, greywater and wastewater systems are managed. Companies are then awarded points if:
· they implement measures to reduce their drinking water consumption (this could include one water saving measure or a range of changes to standard operating practices)
· they make changes to operating systems to reuse greywater, thereby reducing the volume of drinking water required
· they treat wastewater, thereby reducing the level of contaminated water entering the sewer system which would ultimately need to be treated at a wastewater treatment plant

“This certification has the potential to forge creativity and innovation in the business sector. It of course also encourages lowered consumption. We all need to continue to work together to reach the required 450 million litres of collective consumption per day,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management, Councillor Stuart Diamond, at a meeting of the South African Facilities Management Association today, 20 March 2018.

”In addition, the City is retrofitting its facilities and rental housing stock with water-efficient fittings such as aerators, water-saving showerheads and dual-flush cisterns. Rental housing stock pilot projects, which are currently under way in Scottsdene, Heideveld and Macassar, comprise more than a thousand rental units.

”The City has also partnered with the National Department of Public Works to reduce consumption at its facilities through the installation of water-saving fittings, reduction in water pressure and a leak detection and repair programme. A combined saving of 9,2 million litres per day has been achieved at its 20 biggest facilities,” said Councillor Diamond.

Business owners who would like to apply for an assessment can do so by contacting WaterPollution.Control@capetown.gov.za    Please use “Water Star Rating Certification” in the subject line.

Those who manage other large facilities in Cape Town should please also take note of the significant savings that can be achieved through using the treated effluent water that the City supplies. Those who would like to apply for a permit to collect treated effluent should please contact the City on treated.effluent@capetown.gov.za

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