As concerns about water scarcity continue to grow – exacerbated by unpredictable municipal service delivery- Emira Property Fund is 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.
"We believe rainwater harvesting and water management usage is an intelligent solution to an escalating need for water efficiency."
Rainwater harvesting means collecting, storing and using rainwater for a range of different uses. It relieves pressure on the municipal water supply and generates commensurate cost savings to Emira and the tenants alike.
With SA predicted to be water-scarce by 2025, water efficiency makes both environmental and economic sense for landlords and tenants because it future-proofs property assets.
Emira chose One Highveld as the pilot site for rainwater harvesting because of recurring delivery interruptions as well as the topography of the site - but the results will be used to look at more extensive roll-outs of the program to the funds' other properties going forward.
"The tenants at One Highveld have experienced multiple municipal water service interruptions in recent months, something that we recognize is a hardship for our tenants," he adds.
One of the advantages of the site is that it has a downhill slope and space for a storage tank, which allowed for easy installation of the collection system.
The harvested rainwater is furthermore safe to drink, thanks to a sophisticated filtration unit, installed as part of the pilot, which allows for dual filtration of the harvested water. The water is also used for flushing toilets and watering greenery.
Other water-saving measures at the property include water-saving multi flush conversions in the toilets and urinals. A pressure reduction valve helps reduce water pressure, although it does not impact the flow or volume of water. State of the art smart logger meters have been installed, to monitor the water usage, offsite and on an hourly basis. As an added advantage, the fall of the land at Highveld One means that no pumps were required - making the system energy efficient too.