South Africa’s potable water use can be reduced by 25%

Consulting engineering company SRK reports that with careful planning and research, potable water use in South Africa could be 
reduced by 25%.

industrial water pollution

Industrial water abuse

SRK principal hydrologist and partner, based at the company’s Johannesburg office Peter Shepherd, says that it is estimated that industry uses about 27% of South Africa’s current demand for potable water.

He adds that even though industry is extremely serious about reducing demand for potable water, and can 
reflect savings of up to 40% in 
demand from suppliers, more can be done to save water by reusing grey water.

Grey water is made up of bath, shower, bathroom sink and washing machine water and other water that has already been used.

While progressive industrial undertakings are setting the pace in South Africa for the efficient use of scarce water resources, more needs to be done to further 
reduce industrial demands on potable water supplies, says Shepherd.

He adds that existing industrial 
undertakings are resulting in 
investments of billions of rands on research and improved facilities for the reuse of water. New undertakings, he says, are opting for processes to lessen pollution and optimise water use.

Shepherd says that while 
environmental management consultants were previously largely responsible for identifying water solutions, consultants are now employed to assist with upfront planning and to anticipate and minimise potential challenges.

However, he says that it is disappointing that industry has not significantly reduced its water use. Shepherd suggests that more effort needs to be put into the use of grey water, instead of using 
potable water.

Potable water should not be used by industry where water of a lower quality can be used.

“South African industry uses about 27% of the country’s water, which should be replaced with sewerage water or water from one industry transferred to another. 
This revolves around cleaning water for reuse, but it is not 
necessary to purify water to 
potable standards for reuse.

Experts estimate that the 
industrial demand on potable water could be reduced by a 
further 25%, which is possible, if industry is serious about reducing its water demand from primary sources.

Source: Excerpts from

Industry in South Africa has been responsible for a substantial proportion of water pollution.  There are still industries that continue to abuse water and pollute the environment.  It seems illogical for manufacturing processes to use potable water supplies; reusing gray water and recycled sewage water is the obvious solution.  A 25% reduction in use of 0ur potable water will give us more time to implement water conservation measures and prepare for the water crisis.  Water from residential grey water systems could be channeled to industries as a free or much cheaper source of water for their manufacturing procedures.  Industrial warehouses have huge roof surface areas- perfect for rainwater harvesting.  Water has always been a relatively cheap resource, especially to industries where bulk water is purchased.  Perhaps when the price of water skyrockets in the future, we’ll see industries and individuals making more of an effort to conserve water.  Water Rhapsody is passionate about water conservation and the environment. Go to the about us page and scroll down to read a 1994 newspaper article about the inventor behind the Water Rhapsody Conservation Systems.

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