Business owners in South Africa can play an important part in conserving water resources by reducing their utility bills by embracing water efficiency as a way of life. In doing so, they can play a valuable role in assisting the country to manage the effects of a prolonged drought.
That’s according to Anton van Heerden, Executive Vice-President Africa and Middle East at Sage, who says the challenge is for small businesses that depend heavily on water to produce goods or deliver services – for example, gyms, laundromats, agribusinesses, restaurants, hair dressers, car washes, the hospitality sector and many factories.
The current drought is the worst that South Africa has experienced in decades, and it has already had a severe impact on jobs in agriculture and food manufacturing. Earlier this year, Stats SA reported that the drought last summer saw jobs in agriculture decline by 37 000. At the same time, food prices are rising because of poor rainfall.
Van Heerden offers some tips for Small & Medium Businesses on how they can improve their water efficiency in the future:
Find creative ways to work around the water crisis – for example, waterless car wash franchises. This reduces the amount of water wasted from using unnecessary hose pipes and installed washers.
Water efficiency in the kitchen and canteen
When it’s time to replace fittings and equipment, buy pressurised coffee machines, water-wise baseline dishwashers, efficient tap fittings and so on.
Clean without wasting water
Many businesses waste water when washing floors, cars and walls. Rather use a bucket and a cloth, mop or a broom to clean.
Detect leaks and plug them
Keep an eye on your water bill. If it’s unexpectedly large, you might have a leaking pipe or dripping tap.
Make sure your bathrooms are water-wise
Consider using water-efficient bathroom fittings.
Tending to the grounds and garden
• Go for drought-tolerant, indigenous plants rather than thirstier alien plants.
• If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is properly maintained and configured. Switch it off completely if there is rain. A more affordable option to consider is a greywater system.
• Install a rainwater tank and use that for watering your plants.
To ensure that your efforts to conserve water are successful, you may need to change behaviour among your employees.