How you can save water as a small business owner

Business owners in South Africa can play an important part in conserving water resources while reducing their utility bills by embracing water efficiency as a way of life.

That’s according to Anton van Heerden, executive vice-president Africa and Middle East at Sage Accounting, based in Wendywood, who said the challenge was for small businesses that depend heavily on water to produce goods or deliver services in a more efficient manner. Some examples of water dependent businesses include gyms, laundromats, agribusinesses, restaurants, hairdressers, car washes and the hospitality sector.

“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. 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.” said Van Heerden.

He offered some tips to improve their water efficiency:

  • When it’s time to replace fittings and equipment, buy pressurised coffee machines, water-wise baseline dishwashers, efficient tap fittings, and so on. They are sometimes more expensive but will pay for themselves over time
  • Many South African businesses waste water when washing floors, cars and walls. Use a bucket and a cloth, mop or a broom to clean
  • Keep an eye on your water bill. If it’s unexpectedly large, you might have a leaking pipe or dripping tap. If you notice a pipe or tap is leaking, fix it immediately
  • Consider using water-efficient bathroom fittings – for example, taps with an aerator or flow restrictor to use less water; as well as water-efficient urinals
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is properly maintained and configured. Switch it off completely if there’s rain. A more affordable option to consider is a greywater system
  • Install a rainwater tank and use that for watering your plants
  • There are many innovations that can help you to save water but be skeptical of the sales pitches of fly-by-night companies that have emerged to take advantage of the water crisis. Many people are looking to make a quick buck rather than to sell you a sustainable solution
  • Educate employees about how they can avoid wasting water by not leaving taps running when they wash their hands or their lunch dishes.

“The business community needs to step up and play a role in safeguarding our precious water resources as an urgency, and we all need to accept that water scarcity is likely to become a way of life in the future,” he concluded.

Read: Continue to save water

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