Hygiene and sanitation company Ecowize, which services the food sector, emphasises the importance of food producers and manufacturers introducing strict control elements for water use, as the resource impacts directly on their operations.
Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said in June last year that South Africa could “dry out” by 2050, if no action was taken to conserve water.
It is, therefore, pertinent that the key role-players in South Africa’s corporate sector implement strict water-saving measures to help deal with the impending water deficit that is threatening food security and produce across the country, Ecowize tells Engineering News.
“It is crucial for food producers and manu- facturers to introduce elements of strict control by implementing water-saving disciplines, as water will always be a basic necessity. “Food producers and manufacturers will also be able to save significant amounts of water by providing staff with efficient water-saving training. “This will help develop their skills and knowledge so that they can identify the causes of water being wasted and ways to solve them,” says Ecowize MD Gareth Lloyd-Jones.
South Africa has a dual agriculture eco- nomy, with well-developed commercial farming and more subsistence-based production in the deep rural areas, states the Department of Environmental Affairs. About 1.3-million hectares of land is under irrigation and about 50% of the country’s water is used for agriculture.
Further, Lloyd-Jones adds that, to avoid the unscheduled use of water, food producers and manufacturers need to introduce strict elements of control that set aside specific times for the use of tools such as hoses. Also, farmers can implement water-saving incentives, such as performance-pay systems, which are driven by how well staff follow set water-saving disciplines.
As a company that also provides hygiene and sanitation services for the pharma-ceuticals and healthcare industries, Ecowize states that companies should introduce universal benchmarks to determine and set water allocations for particular jobs. Ecowize points out that this can be achieved through monitoring three important variables – the value, pressure and the temperature of water.
“These variables need to be balanced and measured regularly as this will help determine the overuse of water. For example, measuring fluctuating water pressures will indicate inconsistencies or leaks. “Conducting a thorough root-cause analy-sis will enable farmers to determine the cause of the problems and eliminate them from re-occurring,” Lloyd-Jones explains.
He notes that businesses that use water for daily activities, such as cleaning, need to realise the significance of the fact that South Africa has limited water reserves and take responsibility by making a concerted effort to prevent the wasting of water, which is often caused by pipe bursts, water leaks and unscheduled water use.
“Other simple and cost-effective water-saving disciplines include having a water recycling system in place, whereby used water is drained through a filtration process to remove all solids and then chemically treated to ensure it is suitable for use at plants. “This water can then be used to wash down areas such as driveways,” notes Lloyd-Jones.