With South Africa being a water-scare country, property group Atterbury’s multi-million-rand investment into sustainable water management systems at several of its landmark properties has seen more than 100 million litres of water saved.
The well-known Pretoria-based property investor and developer highlighted the saving ahead of World Water Day being marked on Monday.
Currently eight of its buildings are part of the innovative water-saving project, including developments such as the Deloitte headquarters at Waterfall City (jointly owned with JSE-listed Attacq) and Newtown Junction Shopping Centre in the Johannesburg CBD.
“While Atterbury has always monitored and responsibly managed its water use, it recently embarked on an intensive drive to bring down water consumption at its buildings through implementing sustainable water management systems,” the group notes.
Atterbury appointed AQUAffection, a company specialising in water management, to design, install and commission sustainable water management systems at the eight buildings, to understand and manage demand.
“As a result of its water management initiatives, Atterbury is now saving more than 250 000 litres daily compared to historical usage,” says the group.
It has achieved this through a combination of improved efficiencies, optimisation and augmentation with a mix of rainwater, groundwater and borehole water. The group now harvests rainwater from a vast 15 000-plus square metres of roof area.
“Water efficiency makes both environmental and economic sense for commercial property owners because it future-proofs property assets,” comments Wessel Boshoff, head of technical of Atterbury South Africa.
He says responsible investment into water security is part of the group’s commitment to doing its part in saving water to get to the #SurplusWater2025 target.
“Water scarcity is not going away soon; in fact, it is just getting worse. With a growing global population, the demand for potable water is increasing daily.”
“South Africa has moved from being a water-stressed country to a water-scarce country, and we are currently the 30th driest country in the world. Predictions are that by 2025, South Africa will form part of the ‘extreme scarcity’ category,” Atterbury points out.
“With this in mind, Atterbury embarked on its water-saving journey by taking a deep dive into how much water its buildings had used in the past, which is called a building’s design demand,” it notes.
“Then, it implemented monitoring and efficiency measures to lower the water demand effectively. Based on the reduced demand, it also added alternative water sources to the municipal supply and designed backup systems,” the group adds.
Efficiency measures typically involve finding and fixing leaks, eliminating unnecessary water waste from toilets and taps, and optimising irrigation systems. These measures are tracked and monitored with electronic monitoring devices. However, some buildings present the opportunity for even bigger positive impacts.
“Like many other buildings, the Deloitte HQ building has an underground basement parking, with an influx of groundwater into basements sumps. In the past, this water would typically have been pumped out into the stormwater system to avoid flooding but was identified as a useful water source to augment aspects of the building’s overall water demand,” highlights Atterbury.
“This water is now filtered and used for irrigation, flushing toilets and other purposes. Between 40 and 50kl per day of groundwater is collected in the basement sumps and then pumped to a central raw water holding tank,” the company explains.
Rainwater collected from a 7 500m2 catchment area on the Deloitte building’s roof is also added to this holding tank.
The other success story is at Newtown Junction Shopping Centre, where the daily water from council was reduced by 120kl per day to less than 70kl.
“Some 60kl of the shopping centre’s daily water is now supplied from a groundwater sump. That is a reduction in daily demand of more than 60% and annual water savings of more than 40 million litres,” says Atterbury.
“This has an enormous financial saving associated with it and also mitigates risk in times of water outages,” the company adds.