Hacks to Turn Water Saving into a Habit

John Lucas, Founder of explore4knowlege and a Cape Union Mart Environmental Ambassador, spoke recently about the devastating drought sweeping the Western Cape – the worst the province has seen in decades. According to Lucas, although Capetonians are making every effort to ease the plight – with one in two being active water savers – by 2025 one in three will have access to just 25 litres of water per day.

He has attributed this to a global shift in weather patterns, an increase in the population and an ever increasing use of the dwindling resource.

Lucas shares: “We, as Africans, need to be innovative and adopt a water saving lifestyle that will be handed down from generation to generation.”

Together with Cape Union Mart, he offers the following water saving tips:

Shorter showers

Under the current Level 6B Water Restrictions, Capetonians have had to cut their water consumption to less than 50 litres per person per day. Those who have used the City of Cape Town’s online Think Water Calculatorwill see that showering can quickly use up the 50 litre allocation – a six minute shower can use up to 60 litres! Showering tips to help cut down your water consumption would be to reduce water pressure and listen to a short song as a timer to ensure that you don’t get carried away when ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Support sustainable businesses

While the calculator can give you a rough idea of your water usage, your footprint extends to the products you purchase from stores. For instance, one takeaway cup of coffee bought at a restaurant takes 200 litres of water to make (from growing the coffee beans and sugar, to manufacturing the paper cup and sleeve). Purchasing from sustainably conscious businesses that use water efficiency strategies in their manufacturing process can assist in saving water. (Also, remember to take along your own travel mug the next time you need to get your on-the-go cup of Joe and help cut down on the number of paper cups used).

Clever cleanliness

Ever thought about how many times a day you wash your hands? According to the City’s calculator, even just washing them once can use three litres! With Capetonians being urged to preserve precious drinking water, using a hand sanitiser may be the solution. Keep Clean 200ml Hand Sanitiser (R40), made with Aloe Vera, moisturises hands whilst helping to protect against germs and bacteria. Another option for keeping hands clean is Busby Outdoor Wipes (R30). These handy anti-bacterial wet-wipes are enriched with natural extracts and formulated to cleanse. Plus, they provide soothing relief for inflamed and irritated skin.

Outdoor showers made easy

With the water restrictions taking a toll on gardens, taking outdoor showers may just be the water wise solution for keeping them alive. With the UST Solar Shower (R275), all the grey water will go directly into the garden. It is incredibly easy to use too! Fill the bag with water and place in the sun for a few hours to absorb the heat. When ready, use the built-in handle to hang it on a tree branch or pole and enjoy a warm, outdoor shower. The bag holds up to 18 litres of water (less than what’s used by a regular two-minute shower) and with the water saving nozzle, multiple showers can be enjoyed per use.

Less waste with a reusable bottle

Opting for a reusable bottle to drink from can help cut down on the number of glasses used and washed throughout the day. Using water from the bottle while brushing your teeth automatically reduces the time the tap is left running and can help to further reduce water waste.

A helping hand

While handwashing laundry and dishes are helpful when it comes to saving water, why not go the extra mile by using rain or spring water too. The UST Water Carrier (R99) is able to hold up to 10 litres of liquid and can be hung above a sink from its sturdy wooden handles. It also features an easy-to-use spout that allows for one-handed operation and conveniently rolls up for easy storage.

“We are not facing a water crisis as much as we are facing a consumer realisation that a product we have taken for granted has become non-renewable to a degree, forcing us to reconsider our utilisation of this life-giving resource that could determine the wars of our future. It is no longer a matter of conserving water for the short-term goal of avoiding ‘Day Zero’. Rather, it is a mind-set and behavioural change that must be acted upon to ensure a future for us, our children, our city, our continent and our world,” concludes Lucas.

Please note, all the above mentioned products are subject to availability.

For information visit

Additional Day Zero-defeating products from Cape Union Mart include:

Cape Union Water Purifying Tablets (R45) This is the must-have treatment for potentially harmful water sources. One tablet treats one litre.
Coghlans Collapsible Water Container 5g/20L (R299) A convenient way to transport and use water wherever you need it, this BPA-free container features a removable on/off spigot for easy filling, along with moulded handles for effortless carrying. When empty, it folds flat for easy storage.
Lifestraw Personal Straw Water Filter (R399) Worried about water quality? The Lifestraw filters water straight from the source. Originally developed as a way to provide drinkable water to disaster areas in emergency situations, the unfiltered water gets sucked through the LifeStraw and the filter inside delivers fresh, filtered drinking water.
Lifestraw Go Bottle Filter (R699) Using the same technology as the Lifestraw, this helps you to take unfiltered water with you and transform it into drinking water while on the go.
Medi-Health Claritabs (R45) A single tablet is all that’s needed to purify one litre of water.
One Drop Water Purifier 30ml (R60) or 200ml (R199) When making use of water from natural sources such as lakes and streams, One Drop Water Purifier helps to kill cholera, e-coli and other water-borne pathogens. Simply treat the water, allow it to stand for 30 minutes and then pour it through a cloth filter to remove the precipitate and ensure safe consumption.
Coghlans Solar Shower 5g/18.9L (R199) This lightweight, non-toxic PVC camp shower stores enough water for up to four showers. Despite being super compact, it has a 20 litre capacity and is easy to use with its handle for hanging.
Aqua Salveo 30ml Water Disinfectant (R99) Kill any nasties and enjoy clean, safe drinking water by treating up to 300 litres with 30ml of Aqua Salveo.

Old Mutual installs largest corporate solar carport in SA

Old Mutual was recently awarded a five-star Green Star SA Existing Building Performance rating for its Mutualpark offices in Pinelands, Cape Town. This rating by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) is said to make it the largest existing building to achieve this rating in the southern hemisphere.

Old Mutual also unveiled its Mutualpark solar installation, which is claimed the largest corporate solar carport in South Africa. It consists of 3,600 solar panels over about 14,500m2. With output just over 1MWp (mega watt peak) and covering 565 carports, the solar photovoltaic system will produce enough electricity to cut up to 8% of Mutualpark’s consumption. This equates to one free month of Mutualpark’s electricity per year or about R4.5m per year.

Finding solutions to the challenges of our time

Speaking at the handover of the Green Star SA certification and the official opening of the Mutualpark solar project, Rose Keanly, COO of Old Mutual Emerging Markets, said that the certification and solar installation underscore Old Mutual’s commitment to making a positive impact on broader socio-economic and environmental issues in the country. It proves that big corporates are able to make a meaningful difference by being resourceful and thinking creatively to find solutions for the challenges of our time.

“Given rising electricity tariffs and the current constraints on South Africa’s electricity supply, energy efficiency is critical to economic growth and stability. Responsible environmental management is one of the five pillars that define our responsible business approach. As Mutualpark is home to 7,000 employees, the building is one of the largest consumers of electricity in the Western Cape and this project now enables us to free up a significant amount of electricity on the City of Cape Town grid.”

True green building

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, said that Mutualpark represents what a true green building should aspire to be – energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible. “A five-star Green Star SA performance certification in a complex of this size is truly remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that some of the buildings at Mutualpark date back to 1954, debunking the myth that green building performance is only possible in new buildings. This is, by far, the largest green building in South Africa and it is fitting that Old Mutual, who we all know as ‘the big green’, has demonstrated its leadership by achieving this certification.”

The GBCSA’s Green Star SA certification system regards five stars as “South African Excellence” and for Old Mutual to demonstrate its commitment to environmental responsibility in such a significant way shows true leadership, he said. “Old Mutual now joins the league of what we like to call Planet Shapers, demonstrating to all stakeholders that operating premises in an environmentally responsible way is both achievable and makes business sense – doing well by doing good,” said Wilkinson.

Group Climate Change Strategy

In addition to its Green Star SA rating achievement, Mutualpark was also commended by the City of Cape Town at the recent 2016 Energy Efficiency Forum Awards for its efforts to reduce energy consumption.
Keanly said Old Mutual will continue to monitor, manage and reduce its direct and indirect environmental impact. “This is in line with our Group Climate Change Strategy, which aims to improve the completeness and accuracy of our emissions data.”
She added that in Johannesburg construction is on track to complete Old Mutual’s new 12-storey 30,000m² head office in Sandton by end 2017. The new building will also target a five-star Green Star SA rating from the GBCSA for office design.
Keanly concluded that Old Mutual will continue to seek ways to become progressively more resource efficient while supporting a healthier local environment for people to live and work in.

Source: bizcommunity

Cape Town may be upgraded to tougher water restrictions

On Thursday the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee requested that council implement more severe water restrictions at its sitting next week.

The mayoral committee proposed a plan to upgrade the current Level 3 water restrictions to Level 3B because of diminishing dam levels and unnecessary residential water usage.

Mayoral committee member councillor Xanthea Limberg said that although many residents have been prime examples of water ambassadors, the city has not met its water usage target because of less conscientious residents.

“We will continue to take action against these culprits and will target the city’s top 20 000 high water users – the majority of whom reside in formal areas of the metro.”

“We are committed to bringing this group to book. They are scuppering all of our efforts to bring down water usage,” said Limberg.

In the meantime, water restrictions may become stricter.

If Level 3B water restrictions are implemented, residents will only be allowed to water their gardens on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 09:00 or after 18:00 with a bucket or watering can.

This is grim compared to the current Level 3 water restrictions which do not limit residents to watering their gardens during certain times.

Residents will also have to wait for 48 hours before they water their gardens after rainfall, as opposed to the current 24 hours, and they won’t be allowed to wash their boats or vehicles at all, even with a bucket or watering can.

If council approves this suggestion, it will be implemented from February 1, 2017.

Source: news24

Cape Town set for tolling showdown with Sanral

CAPE TOWN – A long-awaited showdown between the City of Cape Town and Sanral is set to take place in court over proposed tolling in the Western Cape. Print Send to Friend 0 0 The city is approaching the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday to have Sanral’s decision to toll sections of the N1 and N2 set aside. Democratic Alliance provincial deputy leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and other party members are set to picket outside the building in Keerom Street to oppose the tolling scheme. About 180 km of highway will be tolled should the Winelands Toll Highway project go ahead.

Transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron said on Monday that the application could be regarded as “the trial of the century” because the outcome would have far-reaching consequences for the city’s future. “It will take all of us who are opposed to the inequity of this scheme to stand together, to voice our objections, and to fight to prevent it,” he said. “I am of the firm view that the proposed Winelands Toll Scheme is as irrational, reckless and dangerous to our future as the Gauteng e-tolls scheme was and is.”

Last month, the SA National Roads Agency CEO Nazir Alli told the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the benefits of the proposed project would far outweigh the cost to road users. Alli emphasised that, while the initial bid was unsolicited, Sanral went through a rigorous and competitive tender process to get to a stage where there was a preferred bidder.

“But the process is far from concluded, and the final costing still has to be determined. While the City of Cape Town in the past was at pains to point out what it would cost road users to travel on the planned toll roads, tariffs had not been set and whatever numbers are bandied about are pure speculation,” said Alli. The minister of transport will set the final toll tariffs, he said. Alli pointed out that the “user pay” principle for tolled roads was firmly entrenched as part of government policy. Herron said the city’s legal case was complex and ran into thousands of pages of reports and documents.

Essentially, it would argue that the transport minister at the time’s decision to declare the highways as toll roads was unlawful because he failed to consider the merits and impacts of tolling. It would also argue that the then-national environmental affairs minister’s decision to provide environmental authorisation for tolling did not consider the socioeconomic impact and was thus unlawful. The city is concerned about the impact the tolls would have on the economy and its residents.

“The Sanral board never made the decision to declare the N1 and N2 as toll roads as it was required to do. By implication, we will argue that the decision to toll was made by the CEO of SANRAL who was unauthorised to do so,” Herron said. Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in April that it was “totally wrong” to say Alli took the decision on his own as the toll road declaration was made at ministerial level. Mona also emphasised that the sections of road were deteriorating and that Sanral wanted to start work on the highway as soon as possible.

Source: engineeringnews

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Cape transport study ‘flawed’

The City of Cape Town’s transport and development plans for the South Peninsula, which is expected to get at least 2 000 new residential units in the next few years, is based on a “flawed” road impact study, the planning portfolio committee has warned.

And while it would take about R40 million for the initial upgrade of Ou Kaapseweg and Kommetjie Road to keep pace with proposed developments, the city has only allocated R4m in this financial year.

Councillor Simon Liell-Cock said during a meeting of the spatial planning, environment and land use portfolio committee: “The community can see that the developers and city planners are following a scorched earth policy that will bring the tourist economy to a standstill. We need a detailed report for the whole of the deep south. The money that has been set aside (for upgrades) is not enough.”

He said the transport assessment that formed part of the 2005 Bulk Infrastructure Study looking at the development scenario for the Kommetjie and Sun Valley region until 2028, indicated that it would cost about R42m for the initial road upgrades needed.

Concerned residents have already raised red flags about developments in the area, and there are appeals pending against approvals for at least two projects – Wireless 1 and 2 in Kommetjie.

The Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA) has also lodged its intention to appeal the approval of Protea Ridge, which will bring just over 100 residential units into the area.

Liell-Cock said the 2005 transport impact assessment, that was revised in 2013, had fundamental flaws.

The study did not factor in other traffic sources, such as the growing number of cars coming from Masiphumelele and other parts of the south. It did not consider the fact that Chapman’s Peak, as a major route, was not always open to traffic.

Tony Viera, manager of infrastructure management and investment for the city’s transport directorate, made a short verbal presentation to the committee about the state of the road upgrades and transport plans for the South Peninsula.

Councillor Jerimia Thuynsma, of the ANC, said transport was a concern, seeing that development applications were coming in “thick and fast”.

Viera admitted that the transport impact study was limited to the Kommetjie area and needed to be revised. But he said R4m had been allocated for road upgrades in the current financial year, R1m in 2016 and R5m for future years.

Following the objections to the 2005 and 2013 traffic studies referred to in the assessment reports for Wireless 1 and 2 developments, and an independent peer review by Sturgeon Consulting that found that the study area did not deal with the traffic impact of neighbouring areas such as Glencairn and Fish Hoek, the department of environmental affairs and planning included the following condition in its development approvals: “The section of Kommetjie Main Road between Ou Kaapseweg and Capri Drive and the section of Ou Kaapseweg between Kommetjie Main Road and Buller Louw Drive must be upgraded to a four-lane dual carriageway to accommodate the revised 2018 development scenario.”

But Bruce Campbell, of the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, later told the Cape Argus that the revisions to the transport plan did not include all the units approved and pending outside the study area.

“There is no doubt that the traffic generated from these developments will exacerbate the traffic congestion from the Glencairn/ Kommetjie Road intersection en route to Ou Kaapseweg.”

The association has argued that the traffic study was done by the developers’ consultants, and was therefore being used to justify the developments.

He said Sturgeon’s report, which found that the traffic impact assessment report considered as part of the developers’ applications was unreliable, was still not being addressed in current applications.

The “minimal” upgrades being proposed would need to be funded in part by the developers, and there was still no clarity on the anticipated costs of all the developments, and these would be financed.

The portfolio committee agreed that a detailed report of traffic scenarios in the deep south was needed before more development applications were considered.

Source: IOL News

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