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360 Vol 1 Nr 4 2011 – R49

Hydrodynamic screw introduced to SA market

Greening the bottling plant industry Corporate giants invest in water efficiency • water recycling – part 3


in this issue

Vol 1 NR 4 2011

design 03 Greening the bottling plant industry solutions 04 Tap water versus bottled mineral water


products 06 Floating islands increase

biofilms in wetlands


Fluid rights - book by Synne Movik

projects & case studies 08 Saving water and millions of rands


feature: water efficiency 10 Corporate giant makes a difference resource management 12 R9-million for water catchment areas 14 Treatment for water recycling in

breweries - Part 3


technologies 15 Hydrodynamic screw introduced

to the local market

news 16 Water woes to be addressed with

eco-friendly sanitation systems


Donation from corporate giant

boosts water initiative

15 360

Vol 1 NR 4 2011


E D I TO R ’ S NOTE Water management for breweries In this issue of WATER 360, we take a look at a very interesting case study. In our Water Efficiency section, we look at how two breweries tackle a very scarce natural resource, but a resource that is essential to their product and production process. SAB aims to set an example in how a brewery can conserve water . Operating seven breweries with an annual capacity of 3.1 billion litres, water availability and quality is mission critical. The calculation of their water footprint started right at the beginning of their product supply chain: the hops. Agriculture accounts for 95% of the water needed to manufacture beer. Reviewing their agriculture and agronomics, they worked closely with several stakeholders in the water risk arena to come up with solutions to minimise water usage. Read more about their project on page 10 and 11. We also feature the last part of our 3 part series from Talbot and Talbot on the treatment and filtration methods for water in breweries. Beer cannot be brewed without water and the efficient use of water is integral to the production process and final product. Read this final article on page 14. May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas and a safe festive season. Till 2012 then!

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, the editorial team or its agents. Although the utmost care is taken to ensure accuracy of the published content, the publisher, editor and journalists cannot be held liable for inaccurate information contributed, supplied or published.

Marlene E van Rooyen

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Contributions: The editor welcomes contributions and encourages items of interest to our readers in the energy sector. All advertisements and editorials are placed solely at the discretion of the editor and subject to prior approval. Water360 reserves the right to edit, withhold or alter any editorial material to complement the style of the publication. Subscriptions: Water360 is published bi-monthly as a print publication. Water360 is also available as a free web download. For more information, please contact the editor or editor’s assistant on Tel: +27 347 7530 or visit us on

Publisher: Media in Africa (Pty) Ltd • International Contact Information: Tel: +27 12 347 7530 • Fax: +27 12 347 7523 • E-mail: Postal Address: PO Box 25260, Monument Park, 0105, Republic of South Africa Physical Address: First Floor, Unit G, Castle Walk Corporate Park, Cnr Nossob & Swakop Streets, Erasmuskloof Ext. 3, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

The team: Editor: Marlene van Rooyen Tel: +27 83 327 3746 • E-mail: Founder: Schalk Burger (1943 – 2006) Publishing Manager: Liezel van der Merwe Financial Manager: Fanie Venter Accountant: Gerda Bezuidenhout E-mail: business unit coordinator: Zuerita Gouws Tel: +27 12 347 7530 • E-mail: Design and Layout: Ilze Janse van Rensburg Journalist: Nichelle Lemmer Tel: +27 72 209 2040 • E-mail: Proofreader: Elizabeth Kruger Reproduction & Printing: Business Print Centre 360 Vol 1 NR 4 2011


Greening the

bottling plant

industry C

oca-Cola’s new Valpré premium spring water bottling plant in Heidelberg is setting a new standard for greening the bottled industry in South Africa. This state-of-the-art plant, recently opened in July 2011, is equipped with environmentally-friendly technology and is the greenest plant in Africa. Its office facility has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. This internationally recognised certification programme is the accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The plant will receive certification at a later date based on trends and performance.

Investing in the local community In line with Coca-Cola’s commitment to environmental stewardship and contributing to the health and sustainability of communities, Coca-Cola not only developed a green plant, but also hired a number of black women operators. This female empowerment is a component of Coca-Cola’s 5 BY

After receiving approval from the Department of Water and Environment Affairs through the project’s environmental impact assessment, the necessary certificates allowed Coca-Cola to break ground for the plant in 2009. During the construction of the plant, an estimated 300 people were employed, including people from the local community. Environmentally-friendly Coca-Cola understands that climate change puts water resources, public health and agriculture at risk. The company invested R400-million into the development, design and construction of the Valpré premium spring water plant. The design of the facility maximizes recycled materials and makes optimal use of water and solar energy. It also has a “zero to landfill” target. Rainfall harvesting and 100% treatment of effluent forms part of the project’s strategy to conserve water. Sunlight was also utilized fully to add to the ecofriendly design of the plant.

Coca-Cola understands that climate change puts water resources, public health and agriculture at risk. The Valpré premium spring water is distributed in the Plantbottle™ packaging, also a first in Africa. Plantbottle™ packaging is the most innovative plastic bottle in the beverage industry made from up to 30% plant extracts and remains 100% recyclable. Plantbottle™ packaging has a lighter footprint on the environment due to its reduced dependence on nonrenewables such as petroleum, and therefore reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from its production. South Africa is only the 10th market in the world to package beverages in PlantBottle™ packaging.

The plant’s site was selected for its similarity to the Valpré premium spring water taste profile as well as its close proximity to markets and distribution sites in the Gauteng region, decreasing transport costs and emissions.

20 Pledge to empower five million women through its business system by 2020. The company has engaged the local community and government from the beginning in order to understand and help address local community needs for economic and social development. The plant’s site was selected for its similarity to the Valpré premium spring water taste profile as well as its close proximity to markets and distribution sites in the Gauteng region, decreasing transport costs and emissions. 360

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A comparison of the environmental impact of tap water versus bottled mineral water


aving been available in this country since the late 1960’s, Sodastream is still South Africa’s only home carbonated drinks maker system and, by offering an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic-bottled drinks, is experiencing increased favour due to the growing global backlash against bottled water. WATER 360 is indebted to Sodastream for providing the details of an in-depth study commissioned by the Swiss Gas & Water Association (SGWA). The study was authored by Dr Niels Jungbluth of ESU Services in Switzerland, who were commissioned by SGWA to perform a well-founded life-cycle assessment (LCA) analysis comparing the environmental impact of bottled water versus tap water, an edited version of which is contained within this article. This study traces the entire life cycle from water catchment/extraction to serving it in a glass in a LCA. Different variants are compared with one another, for example, carbonated versus non-carbonated (CO2), and refrigerated versus unrefrigerated. It also looks at water quality, transportation, refrigeration and carbonation, and finds that the environmental impact of drinking bottled water is five times higher than drinking tap water. If one uses a home soda maker, the impact on the environment is also lessened. Drinking water is a basic necessity. A person should drink at least two litres a day. But how can people satisfy this basic need in the most environmentally-friendly manner as possible and what contribution can tap water make in this regard? A direct comparison of drinking water from the tap with unrefrigerated bottled water shows an environmental impact of tap water which is less than one percent of that of bottled water. Even when refrigerated and carbonated, the environmental impact of tap water is approximately only one fourth of that of bottled water. Thus, from an environmental point of view, tap water is preferable to bottled water as a beverage. The average drinking water consumption has dropped slightly during the past couple of years, after rising slowly but steadily until well into the 1980s. Today, about 162 litres of drinking water is consumed on average per person per day in private households in Switzerland. Of this amount, only a fraction is drunk. The per capita consumption of bottled mineral water in Switzerland has grown continuously during the past couple of years, currently amounting to approximately 130 litres per year. Imports of bottled water have more than tripled during the past decade, now accounting for almost one third of the Swiss consumption of bottled water.



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In the study at hand, various waters are analysed by way of a life-cycle assessment (LCA) or life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA). An LCA is a method for assessing the environmental impact associated with a product. In doing so, the environmental impact is examined throughout a product’s entire life cycle from resource extraction, production and usage to disposal of the product and production waste. The main focus of the study is devoted to a direct comparison of tap water versus bottled mineral water, which involves juxtaposing comparable variants for each scenario. Other aspects like an in-depth analysis of the water supply, comparison of various beverage packages or optimising logistics concepts are not covered in the study. The basis of comparison is 1 litre of beverage available to consumers for drinking, but the LCA does not make any comparison regarding the positive or negative effects on health of substances contained in the water. It is assumed that both alternatives are equally suitable for consumers to drink. In the study the entire life cycle of tap and bottled water is traced from water catchment/extraction to serving it in a glass. This includes water catchment/ extraction, treatment, bottling including packaging as applicable, distribution via wholesale and retail channels, transportation home, distribution via water pipes including the requisite infrastructure, plumbing and treatment at the consumption site (refrigeration, soda-water maker, etc.). The following evaluation methods are applied in assessing the computed pollutant emissions and resource consumption: • Cumulative primary energy consumption: nuclear, fossil and hydrology resources, however, excluding biological and other renewable resources like wind, solar and geothermal energy (Frischknecht et al. 2004). The cumulative primary energy consumption is converted into COE to facilitate comparison. • Climate change potential within 100 years (greenhouse emissions, IPCC 2001) for describing the potential impact of provisioning beverages on the climate. • Environmental impact points (EIPs) 1997 (Brand et al. 1998): assessment method which performs a weighting of various contaminants, resources and waste on the basis of Swiss environmental policy objectives. • Eco-indicator 99 H/A (Goedkoop & Spriensma 2000): assessment method in which the various contaminants and resources are weighed with regard to the damage caused by them to the environment and health. Although this article does not go into detail on the life-cycle inventory data, the provisioning of drinking water and the consumption of tap water in private households, in the study data is collected on material and energy flows for all essential process steps.

solutions As to including background processes in the LCA, e.g. sewage disposal, packaging materials, transportation and construction materials, data is taken from the current eco-invent database (Eco-invent Centre 2004). The city of Zurich and a rural area were taken as being representative examples for tap water supply. Overall comparison: tap water versus bottled water In Figure 4.2 a relative comparison is made of the environmental impact of bottled mineral water versus tap water. The figures show how high the environmental impact of the tap water variant is in relation to the bottled water variant. On the whole, the various methods produce similar results with relatively large absolute differences among the different variants for the provisioning of tap water versus bottled water. Unrefrigerated, non-carbonated bottled water makes for an environmental impact between 90 and 1 000+ times that of tap water. The difference becomes more pronounced the farther the bottled water has to be transported to the customer. Apart from the transportation distance from the bottling site to the consumer, the chosen modes of transportation are also highly significant. That is why travelling even short differences by car can play a major role. As to refrigerated beverages, tap water leads to better results as compared to bottled water. The relative difference here is less, amounting to approximately one fourth to 50% of that of bottled water. The comparison of various carbonated beverages points to advantages associated with the use of home carbonated drinks makers as compared to carbonated mineral water. When comparing unrefrigerated, carbonated tap water with bottled mineral water, the environmental impact of the latter is five to eight times higher than that of the former. On the whole, in all comparable variants, beverages based on tap water lead to better results than those based on bottled water. This finding is also true when taking into account the limitation posed by exact figures being subject to larger fluctuation in part, since they are dependent on difficult-to-determine factors like consumer behaviour. The exact transportation distances for bottled water cannot be determined with any accuracy due to the large number of different supplies. The conclusions are underpinned by the fact that rather conservative estimates were posted for drinking water, whereas for bottled water variants with minimal environmental impacts were also evaluated in cases of doubt. Plain drinking water which is bottled, transported and sold like bottled mineral water doesn’t provide for any ecological advantage as it also necessitates packaging and transportation by road or rail.

Recommendations From an environmental point of view, tap water is generally preferable to bottled water as a beverage. However, refrigeration in a refrigerator or a water dispenser increases the environmental impact substantially. If carbonated water is preferred for reasons of taste, a home carbonated soda-water maker is justifiable, ecologically speaking. If, as an exception, bottled water is consumed, its origin is much more relevant for its environmental impact than its packaging. Generally speaking, the distance between the bottling site to the consumer should be as short as possible. Only then is giving preference to returnable bottles or jugs a viable alternative. As to refrigeration, it is difficult to make clear-cut recommendations in favour of a specific equipment type. The decision in favour of the best unit depends on actual usage and power consumption. If a unit is already present (e.g. a refrigerator), purchasing an additional water dispenser increases power consumption substantially. On the whole, dispensing with bottled water or reducing one’s consumption of water leads to a relatively small contribution to lessening one’s environmental impact as the consumption of water accounts for only a small portion of overall environmental impact. However, food and beverages are frequently a consumer’s first point of departure in examining his or her ecological behaviour. The recommendations pertaining to short transportation distances, less refrigeration or economical use of resources also apply to other beverages (e.g. beer, wine, juices, etc.) or food and thus can attain greater significance. The following tips can be derived from the evaluations for the owners and operators of water supply networks: The key environmental impact is caused by the infrastructure in general and pipes in particular. Environmentallyfriendly materials and processes should be used for new construction and maintenance, servicing and repair work. A key factor in this context is power consumption. Water lost in the distribution network and personal consumption can substantially increase a customer’s environmental impact. Both should be reduced as much as possible. This is just an excerpt of the report. For the full report, including graphics, visit details&gid=57&Itemid=99.


Vol 1 NR 4 2011



BioHaven Floating Island

Floating islands increase biofilms in wetlands

ne of the most interesting and unique developments, which not only provides an attractive addition to any water feature in a landscape, but also acts as highly efficient floating water treatment wetlands, is now being introduced to South Africa.


These floating islands may not only be planted with either aquatic or terrestrial plants. They may also be used for growing cut flowers or vegetables, thus providing an income or food security in addition to improved water quality.

Manufactured from a patented concept that mimics nature, the BioHaven Floating Islands provide the most significant development in artificial wetland technology currently available.

Larger versions, with recirculation devices and other features, can be added to existing wastewater treatment plants to cope with meeting effluent treatment needs. The options are endless.

For the first time it is now possible to substantially increase the biological working surface (biofilm) in existing wetland environments, augmenting the treatment capacity without the need for additional land area. BioHavens create opportunities for continuous wetland function, irrespective of water levels and flow rates.

Sometimes all a polluted pond or dam needs is a little care from an island – a floating treatment wetland. Load soil onto loofah-like mesh of plastic (made from recycled carpet and water bottles), plant it, float it and let it grow. The plant roots become home to biofilms that absorb nitrates and phosphates, denying these nutrients to algal blooms. Micro-organisms eat the biofilms, fish eat them and the water gradually gets cleaner. They also remove a host of chemical and pharmaceutical pollutants!

The option to install BioHavens as a functional component of new wetlands allows for a smaller wetland footprint, as well as the ability to sequestrate dissolved nutrients and pollutants that would be difficult to achieve with conventional wetland systems. BioHavens provide a wide range of options for the functional beautification of both natural and artificial wetlands, maturation and ornamental ponds, dams and other water bodies.



Vol 1 NR 4 2011

They can also be used to great effect in natural swimming pools! DH Environmental Consulting Tel: +27 (21) 855 2528 E-mail: Website:;


Fluid rights: water allocation reform in South Africa

The following is a synopsis of a book by Synne Movik, which was recently published by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press.


ater is a vital resource. It’s essential for human life and well-being, healthy ecosystems, agriculture, energy and industries. It is at the heart of human existence and development.

The issue of water governance has become a global concern, as attention to water resources has been mounting over the last few decades. Reports of increasing scarcity and a looming crisis are rife, but the focus on physical quantification has often led to a neglect of the multiple dimensions of water scarcity, which are deeply connected to issues of power, rights and access. In Fluid Rights: Water Allocation Reform in South Africa (HSRC Press), author Synne Movik explores how evolving doctrines and policies have shaped the way that water-use rights are conceptualised and governed. Focusing on the National Water Act of 1998 and the ensuing Water Allocation Reform, she examines the policy formulation processes and practices of reform, arguing that it is helpful to understand how water rights are conceptualised and made to work through examining how rights are construed through policy formulation processes. She contrasts what she terms “allocation discourses” at the policy level with the practices of governance and access to water “on the ground”. South Africa’s National Water Act of 1998 is regarded as one of the world’s most progressive pieces of legislation. The country’s past, characterised by colonialism and apartheid, left a lasting legacy of inequality in access to water resources, and the Act is explicitly aimed to redress this. South Africa thus presents an interesting case in terms of examining the conceptions of equity and efficiency in the allocation of water rights. It also provides an opportunity to look at how the state justifies particular allocation principles and how such justifications mesh with local-level practices. Both theoretical analysis and fieldwork in the Inkomati region of South Africa form part of the author’s study. The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter 1 briefly sets out the framework of the study, in particular the concepts of water, scarcity, governance and allocation discourses.

Chapter 2 describes the wider context within which South Africa’s water policy reform is taking shape. It highlights how history has provided a key impetus for the more equitable distribution of resources and locates the current processes of change within the socio-political context, showing among other things how macroeconomic policy and the resurgence of traditional authority have influenced the direction of reform efforts. Chapter 3 concentrates on the making of policy (the Water Allocation Reform) through analysing the political, personal and professional manoeuverings that went on during the policy formulation process. It focuses on how the principles of allocation were arrived at and how differing perceptions gave rise to competing discourses on how water should be allocated, reflecting wider divisions in policy and politics. Chapter 4 provides a local case study which looks at water allocation in the Inkomati region. The voices of real people on the ground come forward in this chapter, including departmental officials, farmers and potential water users, contrasting local-level perceptions with national-level policy. The chapter reinforces the general argument about rights and discourse, but makes it more sophisticated. The concluding chapter draws together the preceding insights. It offers reflections on the wider political economy of process and outcomes, and also reflects on the lessons from South Africa in a wider, international context. Fluid Rights: Water Allocation Reform in South Africa should prove to be of vital interest to those involved in water reform, as well as those in the field of land reform and policy-making in general. Movik’s frank prose and multi-level research makes this a valuable addition to debates on allocation and access. Fluid Rights: Water Allocation Reform in South Africa (HSRC Press) is written by Synne Movik. For copies of the book or an interview with the author, contact Jeremy Wightman of HSRC Press on telephone +27 21 466 8000, fax 21 461 0836, e-mail or on the website Tel: +2721 466 8000 Fax: +2721 461 0836 E-mail: Website:


Vol 1 NR 4 2011


p r o j e c t s & c a s e s t u di e s

Saving water and

millions of rands

Reduction in leaks and burst pipes eThekwini Water & Sanitation (EWS) saved R58,5-million over the past financial year.


t has been proven that as a result of a reduction in leaks and burst pipes eThekwini Water & Sanitation (EWS) saved R58,5-million over the past financial year and added another R19,2-million in increased billing as illegal connections were reduced. Neil Macleod, the head of EWS, stated that in the past financial year the department reached a number of important milestones as it continued to implement a proactive 17-point plan to minimise water losses and optimise service delivery to consumers throughout the city. As a result, he said, Durban was KwaZulu-Natal’s top performer when it came to managing precious water resources.

Our long-term goal is to reduce water loss to 25% within the next eight years. He said the 2010/11 financial year was particularly successful as EWS had actually surpassed its 35% non-revenue water target. “In the past, the total loss of water had been as high as 39,8%. This year, we achieved a figure of 33,2%, which amounted to an improvement of 4,3% over 2009/10.



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“Our long-term goal is to reduce water loss to 25% within the next eight years. We believe that commitment to our goals, proactive measures to curb water losses and a sharp focus on service delivery have paid dividends. Ultimately, our successes and savings on operational costs are passed on to consumers as they will undoubtedly help to minimise future water-tariff increases.” Macleod said another highlight of the financial year was the fact that real losses of water – the physical leak or loss volume – decreased by 1,9% or 46,4 Ml/day. Unbilled and illegal connection consumption decreased by an average of 27 584 kl/day. “Despite the fact that the eThekwini Municipality’s average daily purchases from Umgeni Water reduced by almost 51 Ml/day to levels last seen in July 2007, the number of registered connections increased by 18 002, which translated into a 5,2 Ml/day increase in sales. This enabled us to achieve our highest growth since 2004/05 while still saving water.” He said the EWS 17-point plan comprised twelve strategies that focused on billing improvement and five that concentrated on reducing real losses through the reduction of high water pressure, which is a major cause of leaks and bursts, detection and repair of leaks and proactive maintenance.

p r o j e c t s & c a s e s t u di e s Of these, nine achieved their targets and two were extremely close. During the financial year ending on 30 June 2011, EWS installed 230 pressure-reduction valves and seven innovative i20 pressure controllers. The latter is a revolutionary device that possesses “artificial intelligence”, which optimises the control of water pressure. Utilising Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication signals, the i2O controller is constantly updated with pressure information from a critical point in the zone. Using advanced algorithms, it then makes minute adjustments to a pressure-reducing valve to ensure that the water pressures are kept at optimum levels at all times. Macleod said the operational savings recorded during the financial year did not include savings stemming from reduced leaks and bursts attributed to pressure management during the past financial year. “Decreasing the pressure at which water is delivered to homes to the correct levels stipulated by the Department of Water Affairs will mean an ongoing reduction of water loss through leaks and burst pipes. Preliminary investigations have indicated that a reduction of 40% in pipe bursts in reticulation under PRV control is possible. This will ultimately save the city almost R50-million a year.” The benefits of pressure reduction are already being felt. “With the maximum night flow in the Durban CBD reducing from an already optimised 599m3/hr to 352m3/hr, a reduction of 247m3/hr or approximately 5 Ml/day (equating to approximately R6-million per year) was achieved between September 2010 and June 2011,” he said. In addition, the commissioning of i20 controllers on the Berea Ridge normalised pressures and allowed for booster pump systems on two reservoirs along the Berea Ridge (St Thomas and Cato Manor reservoirs) to be decommissioned in March 2011 without affecting the level of service to customers. This is saving EWS over R2-million per annum in energy costs.

the programme not only benefitted the students, but it also provided EWS with additional manpower, improved efficiencies and saw EWS contribute towards lessening the skills shortage in South Africa.

Macleod said this year’s operational savings were also impacted by a pioneering approach when repairing leaks. “As part of our leak detection and repair strategy, we use contracted plumbers in informal and formal areas. During the course of the financial year, this proved extremely successful with a dramatic increase in the number of leaks repaired at a far lower cost. This will be continued in the next financial year.” Macleod said another area in which EWS had optimised its use of resources was through an agreement with the Durban University of Technology to become part of the Singakwenza Ndawonye student empowerment training scheme, which allows students with an S3 qualification to gain valuable work experience while earning contributions to a bursary that will allow for their contained studies and completion of their diplomas. During this financial year, nine students were utilised by EWS. Macleod said the programme not only benefitted the students, but it also provided EWS with additional manpower, improved efficiencies and saw EWS contribute towards lessening the skills shortage in South Africa. EWS Neil Macleod Tel: +27 (31) 311 8605 E-mail: Website:

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f e a t u r e : w a t e r e f f ici e n c y

Corporate giant makes a difference by managing its

water footprint

Written by Nichelle Lemmer

Water footprint results

Water security in South Africa is under pressure. Government, scientists and experts in the field alike confirmed that South Africa is a water-scarce country, while the demand for accessible water in the country keeps growing. The availability of this life source is constantly challenged by climate change, economic growth and a dire need to conserve water.

The first step in calculating the SAB’s water footprint was to look at how many litres of water are used to manufacture their products. Fourie said that most of the water used in the manufacturing process came from growing hops, a key ingredient in beer. “95% of the water needed to manufacture a beer comes from the agricultural sector.”

The South African Breweries (SAB) saw the need to address this problem and is one of the first companies that undertook to calculate its water footprint to find solutions for these challenges. Andre Fourie, head of sustainable development at SAB, recently talked about the company’s water plan and how this corporate giant aims to set an example in conserving water. He says SAB operates seven breweries and 40 depots in the country with an annual brewing capacity of 3,1-billion litres.

He says SAB needed to come up with a strategy to manage water usage in this sector. “We brought together key stakeholders in the water-risk landscape that the SAB hops farms operate in.”

Water-basin reconciliation studies predict water shortages in Gauteng, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane and Cape Town over the next 10 years. With all seven of SAB’s breweries in these areas, it is not surprising that the company is concerned about the security of long-term water supply. “Investing in sustainable development to conserve water makes business sense,” Fourie explains. “This is a clear indication that developing a water agenda for big industries to ensure adequate water supply in the future is sound business practice.” SAB went ahead and developed an extensive water plan that covers all the business aspects, starting from the growth of hops and barley to the stewardship of water usage in the supply chain.

The company took hands with key environmental role-players such as GIZ, the World Wild Fund (WWF) and the CSIR to undertake an extensive waterrisk assessment. In the assessment future risk scenarios in various sectors like hydrology, climate change, socio-economic change and agronomics were taken into account. “We are currently working with these organisations and stakeholders to evaluate various options in formulating a response to future water-risk projections.” Looking at agronomics SAB took a deeper look at the agronomics of the hops farms, better known as scientific agriculture, which includes looking at the application of various soil and plant sciences to use in soil management and crop production. According to Fourie, SAB currently uses 13 growers, which utilize 483 hectares of land. A total of 63% of the crops produced are monoculture farms. Monoculture farming is the agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture and its implementation has allowed for large harvests from minimal labour. Fourie says the hops farms need about 10 000 m3 litres of water per hectare, amounting to 4,8-million m3 litres per annum. The industry generates R55-million a year and employs 1 500 people. Climate change impact Another factor that will come into play is the impact climate change will have on crop production. Fourie says the changing of seasonal rain patterns will affect the rainfall. “If more storms and droughts are brought about by



Vol 1 NR 4 2011

f e a t u r e : w a t e r e f f ici e n c y

changing weather patterns, this could influence crop production and water availability, which could ultimately have a huge impact on the supply of hops.” The assessment showed that a drop of 10% in rainfall is predicted for one of the areas of crop growth. Temperature changes could also come into play and change crop production. “It is difficult to apply macro climate change models on a local level in regards to temperature rises. Predictions show that temperature rises are in the cards, especially in critical winter periods.” Response to challenges It takes a hands-on approach for a company such as SAB to manage these risks and various strategies can be followed to curb water usage. One of these is the catchment rehabilitation and stewardship action plan that SAB implemented to conserve water on a local level. “Ecological functionality of areas can be improved by the removal of invasive alien trees,” Fourie says. “We will also be looking at ways to strengthen water institutions and implement regular measure reports or water levels.” He says farms could function at a higher level of optimisation by regularly checking for leaks and scheduling irrigation. “Breeding drought-resistant crops will also lower pressure on production when weather patterns change.” Another way of managing water resources at a micro level was to look at the barley farms and saving water through better irrigation. Fourie says SAB works closely with small-scale farmers in Taung to ensure optimal irrigation through the measurement of soil moisture. “This will enhance the sustainability of producers by cutting costs for unnecessary irrigation water and electricity and will even increase yield and straw-strength quality to increase the profitability of barley.” The aim of the barley irrigation-optimisation project is to optimise irrigation scheduling and to reduce the total amount of water used in irrigation applied to barley. Part of the project is to also undertake a research study with the University of the Free State to determine a crop factor of barley and develop a computerised irrigation strategy exclusively for barley. “We aim to reduce the average of total irrigation of the selected producers in the Vaalharts area by 13% and in the Douglas area by 19%.” Making green friends SAB partnered with the WWF to get inside information on the development of standards, certification and the best environmental practices. “The WWF provides information focussed on commodities where production is water-intensive. They help corporate giants to understand global water production footprints and to identify biodiversity priority regions in the world,” Fourie says.

He says the WWF developed a framework for sustainable agricultural production. “I refer to one of these documents, The Living Farms, a WWFSA report compiled in collaboration with Conservation South Africa and the GreenChoice Alliance, that has valuable information one can use to gear up a company towards a green approach.” SAB also took their partnership with the WWF further by designing the Better Barley, Better Beer campaign. “The principles of sustainability, economic, social and environmental impact are the pillars of the campaign that will be incorporated into the project,” he says. The project will enable barley growers to evaluate their own production practices through a process of self-assessment. “The assessment will help them to determine the extent to which they are operating at best practice, meeting all the aspects of legal compliance and highlight farming practices that need further attention.” Through the campaign, economically viable farm production will be enhanced. “The agronomic, livestock, veld and forage resources and mechanisations practices of the farm are integrated with climate, soils, water and topography to maintain and even better economic prospects of the farm.” The social pillar of the campaign will focus on the rights of the local communities involved, ensuring that fair labour laws are applied and employees are aware of their rights. The environmental pillar will help farmers to use natural resources like water and soil in a sustainable manner. “This will result in a reduced environmental footprint and will have an impact on the water usage, as well as a positive impact on biodiversity,” Fourie explains. “Ploughing virgin lands, the control of alien invasive species and fire management can all make a difference in biodiversity management.” He says that maintaining living soil in ensuring soil health and looking at methods for waste reuse ability, as well as managing the energy-efficiency of these farms, will ultimately help SAB to be a greener company. Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to SAB for the information used in this article. 360

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R e s o u rc e M a n a g e m e n t

WWF-SA’s clearing sites in the Kouga (Eastern Cape).


to be invested in South Africa’s critical water catchment areas


he Nedbank Group is going to invest R9-million in the innovative Water Balance Programme, an initiative by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) South Africa.

Through the Green Trust, Nedbank has been involved in several projects aimed at combating threats to South Africa’s fresh water supply, including the Enkangala Grasslands Project, the Riparian Rehabilitation Project in the Kouga River catchment and flood simulation for the Pongola floodplain. Earlier this year, Nedbank became the first South African bank to participate in the CEO Water Mandate. This programme is cultivated by the world’s biggest corporate responsibility initiative, the United Nations Global Compact. The CEO Water Mandate is a public-private partnership that focuses mainly on developing strategies and solutions to contribute positively to the emerging global water crisis. Apart from this, Nedbank is also a voluntary participant in the Water Disclosure Project.



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In addition, Nedbank Capital has played a major funding role in various water infrastructure projects such as the Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the Vaal River Eastern Sub-Augmentation Project, the Komati Water Scheme Augmentation Project and the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Programme. Nedbank also acted as arranger and sub-underwriter of the Roodeplaat Temba Water Services Scheme and as adviser to the South African government on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II. Nedbank’s increased focus on water is a key part of their climate change response strategy and underpins the urgent need to tackle climate change impacts, which will be addressed at COP17 in Durban later this year. The WWF estimates that about 98% of South Africa’s freshwater supplies are currently allocated and that demand will outstrip supply by 2025, jeopardising economic growth that is vital for ongoing socio-economic development.

R e s o u rc e M a n a g e m e n t

In proportion to Nedbank’s operational water usage, the bank has decided to make an investment in the WWF Water Balance Programme. This work encourages water-users to take ownership of South Africa’s common water challenge by going beyond reducing their own water demand to also making an investment back into water-provisioning ecosystems. Nedbank will be investing R9-million over a period of five years. This particular investment will link high-level commitments, such as the CEO Water Mandate, to tangible on-the-ground outcomes in some of the highest water-yield ecosystems in the country. According to Nedbank, this investment will aid in improving the country’s water supply through rehabilitating, maintaining and conserving the natural areas which form the critical catchments and water factories of the country. “Without investing in the ecosystem, dams and other infrastructure will be rendered useless, as water does not come from dams,” says Nedbank. “Through our provision of water-infrastructure funding, our 20-year involvement with the Green Trust and our own sustainability initiatives, we have invested in a range of water-related projects in line with our waterstewardship programme, which addresses water scarcity, water quality and

access to water. This new multimillion-rand investment raises our waterstewardship efforts to a much higher and more impactful level,” said Mike Brown, Nedbank’s chief executive officer. Dr Deon Nel, head of the WWF’s Biodiversity Unit, said the WWF has identified the availability of water and the health of water-provisioning catchments as one of the most critical challenges facing South Africa. Following its achievement of becoming Africa’s first carbon-neutral financial organisation in 2010, water is the next step in Nedbank’s sustainability journey. A 17% reduction in its own water consumption over the past two years is further evidence of this commitment. “When one considers that approximately 3 300-million kilolitres of water is trapped by invasive alien species in South Africa – equating to about 7% of the country’s water run-off – it’s easy to understand how important this investment is in improving water security in our country,” said Brown. The WWF believes there may be several ways to determine the required proportionate investment a water-user should make in the rehabilitation and stewardship of water-provisioning ecosystems. For now the WWF is concentrating on the quantification of water that is made available through the removal of invasive alien plants. According to the WWF, the large amount of data available on the topic through the current and historic experiences of the Working for Water Programme made this an obvious first choice. So, in order to facilitate the calculation of the proportionate investments to be made by the water-user, the WWF has joined forces with scientists to estimate the water used by different invasive alien plant species as well as the national norms for the cost to clear these species. According to the WWF Nedbank Water Balance Programme, the three principal input values that are used when determining the rand value of the proportionate investment are: • The water-user’s operational water usage. • The national average amount of water “replenished” through the clearing of a hectare of invasive alien plants and maintaining it in a natural infestation-free state. • The average cost of clearing a hectare of invasive alien plants and maintaining it in an infestation-free state. Valuable spin-offs also include job creation and support for farmers who show further commitment to environmental sustainability. “Water, energy and food security are inextricably linked and it is a pleasing addition to the programme that we can support the agricultural sector through this work too. We are enthusiastic about this next step in our sustainability journey and hope this encourages other corporate organisations to play their role in making things happen,” states Brown. Nedbank Group Communications Tel: +27 11 294 4274 Website: 360

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R e s o u rc e M a n a g e m e n t

Treatment for water

recycling in breweries: Part 3


his is the last in a three-part series of edited articles in WATER360 on reusing water to make beer, by Dr Bernard Talbot of Talbot & Talbot. This article will once again focus on filtration methods and other technologies for water recycling in breweries.

become apparent. It could be counter-argued that the water-recovery programme does not increase the amount (load) of sodium released to the river, but only the concentration. However, sodium will have an impact due to concentration alone.

There is little doubt that returning treated effluent back into the brewery operations should be practised with great care, and there are numerous qualifiers that need to accompany the reuse programme, including the strict need to prevent ingress of domestic sewage into the effluent reticulation.

Where the brewer is assured of a secured supply of good water quality, the drivers for water recovery largely disappear due to the higher capital and operating costs associated with the required treatment steps. These added costs, combined with added operating and maintenance complexities, will otherwise limit treatment to anaerobic and aerobic treatment.

Exhaustive testing needs to be done, using a variety of techniques, including dye-tracer studies to verify that streams emanating from ablutions facilities are kept segregated and discharged separately from the effluent. Experience in several breweries suggests that, as a rule of thumb, recycling should be limited to 60-65% of the effluent volume generated, because as water flows through the brewery it picks up substantial quantities of sodium, chlorides, sulphates and other species. Many of these flow right through the biological treatment steps unaltered and into the RO membranes, where they are separated from the water and end up in the brine for discharge. The effluent that is not reused, about 35-40% has to be the carrier for practically all the inorganic component of the full effluent stream. In this way, the lower the discharged volume, the higher the concentration of the inorganic species such as sodium and chloride. Sodium is a classic example: We find this cation entering the brewery at <100 mg/l, but leaving around 500 mg/l to 600 mg/l. All of this works its way through the anaerobic and aerobic treatment steps and ends up going through to the membranes. Almost all of it is retained in the membrane and discharged with the brine. Here its concentration increases to 1 400 mg/l to 1 800 mg/l. At this point, the discharged stream has the potential to become problematic. If the river water is used for irrigation, for example, sodicity problems can



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The resultant increase in process complexity with components such as ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis is very real, and we often find such treatment trains are best operated and maintained on an outsourced basis by a specialist utility company. Operational experience is key not only in the treatment area, but also in managing events within the brewery to ensure appropriate quality of the brewery effluent. The brewery industry can afford the luxury of debating whether beer can be brewed without malt â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but it cannot escape the simple fact that beer cannot be brewed without water. With proper care, reuse of treated effluent can alleviate the constraints of poor water supply, as is already the case in a few breweries around the world. All this will demand is a shift in attitude. It is high time that one of the larger beer producers takes the bold step of producing a beer that is proudly presented as a genuine, fully recycled drink and marketed as a green product. Others will follow. Maybe we will yet produce beer without water â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at least without freshwater â&#x20AC;&#x201C; whatever that might be. Talbot & Talbot Tel: +27 33 3461 444 E-mail: Website:


Hydrodynamic screw introduced to the local market


or the environmentally-conscious industries in South Africa a revolutionary new hydrodynamic screw has been introduced to the local market by the WAMGROUP , an internationally-recognised specialist in the manufacturing of screw conveyors and various other bulk material-handling and processing equipment.

products, varying in standards of quality and price, are designed to meet the needs of all clients. With a strong focus on the requirements of the market, our team of industry experts strives to ensure that all clients are provided with the best value for money by offering unrivalled after-sales and technical support on the entire WAMGROUP product range.”

Marketed under the brand name Hydro dynamic screw, it is manufactured by the WAMGROUP’S s Italian sister company, Roncuzzi S.p.a, as an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective reversible volumetric machine which is designed for the production of electrical energy by converting hydro energy into mechanical energy.

Marchand concludes by adding that the Hydroscrew has been used in a number of industrial applications across Europe over the past number of years and she is confident that the innovative machine will gain measurable and sustainable market share in South Africa in the short-term future.

WAM South Africa’s general manager, Emilie Marchand, points out that the Hydroscrew is ideal for numerous applications, including the replacement of damaged waterwheels, clean water discharge in wastewater treatment plants, the utilisation of water power in channels, and for process water in paper and water-milling applications. “The operation of the machine is based on the difference in potential energy between two varying points in a water flow. The water, thanks to the drop from the highest point of its natural flow, is used by the rotor to transform the energy before flowing back to its bed,” she explains. “The Hydroscrew is fed by the weight of the water, which moves from the top to the bottom by force of gravity. The mechanical energy generated by the liquid moving the rotor is transformed into electric energy by a power generator, which is connected through a panel to the local power network.” Marchand notes that the Hydroscrew is placed into a river or stream with a minimum decline of 1m and a weir is built to divert water into the screw. “While one single machine is able to produce up to 300 kW of renewable energy and can handle a head of up to 6 metres and a flow rate of up to 7 000 litres per second, several machines can be combined to handle more water or higher heads,” she continues.

Hydroscrew is placed into a river or stream with a minimum decline of 1m and a weir is built to divert water into the screw.

Marchand also highlights the fact that the Hydroscrew is environmentallyfriendly. “Installation of the Hydroscrew requires minimal underground digging, thereby reducing the environmental impact. Due to the fact that the Hydroscrew does not require a fine screen, it is also considered to be fish-friendly.” She points out that the Hydroscrew proves to be cost-effective and efficient. “The Hydroscrew provides higher efficiency than waterwheels or small turbines. Furthermore, the machine requires no cleaning and little maintenance, which ultimately leads to the shortest possible machine downtime.” With its unique price-to-quality ratio, Marchand says that WAM South Africa offers excellent value for money in the local market. “Our uncompromising dedication to research and development ensures that a vast range of

WAM South Africa Tel: +27 (11) 822 2623 E-mail: Website:; 360

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to be addressed with eco-friendly sanitation systems

In recent years, the government started to look at dry sanitation solutions and entertain the idea of using waterless toilets as an acceptable sanitation system. According to the website, flush toilets are still a symbol of status, and it is difficult to persuade the poor to accept waterless toilets as an alternative when providing them with sanitation systems. The website further states that with climate change and the depletion of natural resources becoming more threatening, more upper-class households should also consider rethinking their sanitation systems to switch to more eco-friendly systems. At the moment manufacturers and distributors of green toilets are struggling to enter the middle-class market as the designs of the products have fit into aesthetically beautiful bathrooms designs. Green toilets that fit into this picture are more readily available in developed countries, while eco-friendly toilets in South Africa are more or less designed for low-cost housing projects. According to the website, this is where education plays a key role in familiarising families from all classes in the country with the benefits of using waterless or composting toilets. How does a composting or waterless toilet work? According to Ecosan, an eco-friendly toilet distributer, a waterless toilet system is a sanitation system that does not require any water to function. It saves on water usage and is isolated from the environment to prevent the contamination of underground water resources. The system utilises a natural biological process to break down human waste into a dehydrated odourless compost-like material. Ecosan defines dry sanitation as the disposal of human waste without the use of water as a carrier. According to them, the end-product can be used as a fertilizer. They say that when using dehydrating waterless toilets, some urine is diverted away and human waste is collected in a waste bag. In their case the waste is dried with the aid of evaporation. A wind turbine is supplied with the system.

Written by Nichelle Lemmer Sustainable building methods could play a key role in preserving natural resources for future generations. With water resources in South Africa already at a low, the redesign of all households systems to become more eco-friendly is on the cards. Sanitation systems like toilets that use litres of water a day will also have to be transformed. The need to find a solution created a new market for various ecofriendly toilets that are currently available in South Africa. Need for sanitation in South Africa overwhelming Millions of people in South Africa lack access to sanitation as about 200 000 households are still reliant on bucket systems. As the need for sanitation grows, the capability to meet these needs gets more difficult. An alternative to regular flush toilets that also make a dent in natural resources could be a solution to this complex problem. These facts created a market for eco-friendly toilets that are more cost-effective and water-efficient.



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Temperature, airflow and moisture content should all be carefully controlled to maintain aerobic conditions. Urine is sometimes diverted (male stand up urination), but more often evaporated. Switch to an eco-friendly solution Ecosan lists various environmental advantages to using waterless sanitation systems. These include vastly reduced water usage, protection of the groundwater, cost savings on water reticulation infrastructure and the recycling of bio-waste. Dehydration is also dependent on ambient weather conditions. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our agents in Europe report that the units that they have purchased in the last year are all working well.â&#x20AC;? They say that there are various other advantages to using such a system. No plumbing, drains or pipes are required. Low odour levels are also a benefit. These systems are chemical-free and are relatively light and easy to install. Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to Ecosan for the information used in this article.


Chinese energy policies harming neighbours Written by John Daly China’s omnivorous energy requirements have been attracting increasing attention lately, as Beijing attempts to secure all sources of power for its growing industrial base. Nowhere is this more noticeable than with Beijing’s policies in the South China Sea, where Chinese assertions of sovereignty are unsettling the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, all of whom have counterclaims on the various shoals and islets. China’s landward neighbours are also feeling the hot breath of Beijing’s mandarins. However, most notably is its economic rival India, with whom China fought a brief war in the Himalayas in 1962 over a disputed frontier, where the alpine conflict, according to China’s official military history, achieved China’s policy objectives of securing borders in its western sector in retaining Chinese control of the Aksai Chin with India accepting the de facto borders which codified along the line of actual control. Now China and India are engaged yet again in a spat, this time over the headwaters of the Brahmaputra River. According to New Delhi, China is planning up to 24 hydroelectric facilities with a cumulative power generation capacity of nearly 2 000 megawatts along the Brahmaputra’s source, the Arun River, before it descends into India. Further east, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos are alarmed by China’s intentions to build three massive dams on the upper reaches of the Mekong River, adding to six existing hydroelectric facilities. What is singularly lacking in all these plans is any regional or concerted international effort to counter China’s plans. India’s concerns are heightened by the fact that most of its major rivers originate in Tibet, which China invaded and annexed in 1950, declaring it an integral part of Western China. Both the Brahmaputra and Indus Rivers have their origins in a lake in western Tibet near Mount Kailash. Complicating India’s efforts to discuss the issue, is China’s reluctance to acknowledge the validity of satellite imagery, which Beijing regards as espionage, even though in 2010 China acknowledged as a result of India’s space observation that it was in fact building the Zangmu Dam on the Brahmaputra River, as the imagery received from Indian satellites confirmed the construction. Indian strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney observed: “China has always been unapologetic about its refusal to enter into water-sharing agreements with any states. It has always maintained that it would take into account interests of the lower riparian states, but about half of the world’s total number of large dams is in China. India, with so many of its major rivers originating in Tibet, is going to be among the worst affected. The issue is usually soft-pedaled by the water resources ministry, and there is never any international pressure on this, although the list of countries suffering because of China’s refusal is quite long, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.” Chellaney’s list of aggrieved states along China’s landward frontiers is extensive – what remains to be seen is whether the region’s two substantive powers, Russia and India, are willing to confront Beijing, either singly or in concert, over Beijing’s efforts to harness Asia’s river flow to power its industrial miracle. So far, the signs are not encouraging, as Chinese economic “soft power” seduces Russia and India as covertly as it does America’s economy. Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to for the article. is a web based information hub that will keep you up to date on the latest news in the oil industry. Visit the website for specialised and specific information on relevant topics in the oil market.

Donation from corporate giant boosts water initiative The World Wide Fund (WWF-SA’s) Water Balance Programme was greatly assisted by the donation of a NP300 Hardbody from Nissan South Africa recently. In order to reduce the demand, increase the supply and maintain the health of the country’s high water-provisioning catchment areas, the Water Balance Programme was established in 2008, aiming to challenge corporate South Africa to get involved. “Healthy and functional water systems are vital to our social well-being and sustainable development. Increased urbanisation and economic growth place these systems under great threat,” says Rodney February, implementation manager of the WWF Water Balance Programme. “The South African freshwater systems are under immense pressure, which is increased by the impact of invasive alien species that suck dry our limited resources. We need to apply an urgent and concerted effort from all sectors to successfully respond to these challenges,” he explained. The successful implementation of the programme is enhanced by Nissan’s donation. February says a large part of the Water Balance Programme involves off-road travelling. “A four-wheel drive vehicle is essential when travelling to the mountain catchment areas mainly in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. With this vehicle we will be able to remove invasive alien vegetation.” Nissan SA’s corporate and general affairs director, Wonga Mesatywa, says by donating to the programme Nissan has an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to environmental practices and to introduce their new fuelefficient NP300 Hardbody. Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to Nissan for the information used in this article. 360

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WATER 360  

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