JOHANNESBURG - Vodacom launched South Africa's largest rainwater harvesting project at its head office in Midrand today.
The project is in line with municipal growth and development strategies in respect of water management. At projected population growth and economic development rates, it is unlikely that the projected demand on water resources locally will be sustainable.
In response to this challenge and in an attempt to save on utility bills, Vodacom aims to reduce some of its municipal water usage through the harvesting of rainwater in a storage dam.
The rainwater harvest project has a storage capacity of one mega litres and is expected to harvest about 12 million litres per annum (Ml/annum) on average, from a total excess area of 0.04 km2 and annual rainfall of 537mm/a.
About one mega litre or 1 000 000 litres of water that would normally be running down the storm water channel will be utilised to cool down the company's air-conditioning system at the Vodacom Commercial Park building. The rainwater will also be used to irrigate the extensive gardens on the Vodacom campus.
Vodacom's Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs, Maya Makanjee, highlighted the opportunity for companies to be innovative in their search for solutions to meet critical social and environmental challenges.
"The rainwater harvesting project has been integrated with a central control automation system that allows for continuous monitoring of both water quality and quantity.
The system has been fitted with a non-return valve to prevent rainwater contamination with municipal water and this feature makes it unique," Makanjee says.
Other projects related to water conservation at Vodacom include: The artistic water features as well as their semi-circular "reflect surface" ponds have been replaced with "water wise gardens" because evaporation rates were excessively high, resulting in unnecessary water loss.
Makanjee says: "In a water scarce country such as ours, the private sector must take the lead in looking for innovative solutions to reduce its water footprint. Vodacom has begun taking steps in this direction and hopes to be setting a trend in rainwater harvesting."