The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is time to recognise the huge role the business community has played in the battle to defeat Day Zero and equip the city to deal with future droughts.
This month we have seen the announcement by Old Mutual that they have taken their whole office complex off the water grid and they deserve our thanks and congratulations.
Last month Growthpoint properties took its District building in Woodstock off the grid and announced that it planned to do the same with other buildings in the city. Tsogo Sun is building a desalination plant to supply water to its Cape Town hotels and the V&A Waterfront will do the same. Sea Harvest and the Oceana Fishing group have both built their own sea water desalination plants.
The airport company is in the process of taking the entire airport off-grid using underground water, their own filtration plant and they will also inject flood water back into the boreholes.
Golden Arrow are using the vast roof space of their bus sheds to collect rain water for their own use.
These are just the projects we know about and I have no doubt that there are many more. In addition, small businesses have developed water-saving devices and grey water systems to save water in the residential areas. The use of recycled water is also increasing with the Chevron refinery and the construction industry now running on what was once waste water.
The Growthpoint story was particularly interesting. They had a spring in their basement and every day they pumped 140 000 litres of water into the storm water drains.
Now they are filtering the water to meet the needs of the building and the 1 700 people who work in it. Many Cape Town buildings have water problems in their basements and now they are turning these problems into solutions. I think that’s a fabulous response to a crisis and one that the Cape Town business community can be proud of.
What is particularly pleasing is that the City Council and its officials have supported these projects. Working together produces the best results and it has put us in a position to face a dryer future with confidence.
President of the Cape Chamber