The V&A Waterfront first introduced water wise measures to its operations in 2009, to conserve what was already a pressurized resource at that stage, and to manage water more efficiently going forward. The Waterfront is responsible for all infrastructure across the property, from roads and waterworks, to electricity and waste disposal, so water saving forms part of the overall sustainability programme.
In addition to actively communicating with customers and tenants to create awareness around the need to save water, the V&A Waterfront has introduced the following measures:
- Reduced irrigation of plants and increased use of drip irrigation
The V&A Waterfront prefers to use drip irrigation wherever possible, and during the rainy season in Cape Town, the system is turned off completely. During summer, when no water regulations are enforced, the watering system is on a timer to regulate the amount of time and water spent on irrigation, and we only irrigate during the night or in the early hours of the morning.
Under phase two water restrictions in 2015, the Waterfront watered mature plants twice weekly and all grass and younglings three times week. This led to a 30% reduction in water consumption.
All landscaped areas are individually metered so that management can continuously monitor consumption. Each of these areas is also equipped with a leak detection system that includes a in-built control valve to automatically shut off the water supply if a leak or a burst pipe is detected.
The head office gardens are connected to a grey water system.
- The use of sea water for cooling of buildings, instead of cooling towers
Like all other infrastructure that makes use of water at the V&A Waterfront, existing cooling towers on the property are metered. Additionally, the V&A has installed high- and low-level sensors to replace ball valves. The Marina residential development makes use of cool Atlantic seawater for cooling in apartments, and all the buildings in the Silo District are also on a seawater cooling system.
The V&A Waterfront is currently connecting the Clock Tower building to the Silo District’s cooling plant; this should be complete by the end of March 2017. Waterway House, the first building in the new Canal District development at the Waterfront, uses air-cooled chillers, requiring no cooling towers. On average, the property saves around 9 000 kL of water per building per month.
- Installation of pressure reducing valves on our main incoming lines
The V&A Waterfront installed pressure reducing valves in all incoming water lines three years ago, as part of its ongoing water conservation efforts. The property has seen fewer burst pipe and water leakages as a result of these valves, and has noted a 30% reduction in incoming water consumption. The system is also used to monitor water consumption in real time, 24 hours a day, which provides valuable guidance on where next to focus conservation efforts.
- Water leaks treated as a priority
Water leaks can lead to massive water losses, which are particularly concerning during a time of drought. Repairing water leaks is a priority at the V&A Waterfront. The property aims to repair all leaks within 24 hours of reporting, and often manages to do so sooner.
- Metering and analysis focuses on high consumption areas
Tenants’ consumption is individually metered, and they are billed for their water usage accordingly.
- Bathroom facilities
Waterless urinals and water efficient plumbing accessories such as sensor taps have been installed in all bathrooms across the V&A Waterfront.
- Planting of indigenous plants
The V&A Waterfront has adopted a landscaping strategy that focuses only on water wise indigenous plants, and, where possible, plants that are endemic to the Western Cape. Planting at all current and future developments are exclusively indigenous, in line with the V&A Waterfront’s sustainability drive. This means that plants used at new developments are accustomed to a Western Cape climate, and will not require additional resources that are not in-line with the natural Cape ecosystem.
- Use of boreholes
The V&A has two boreholes that are used for irrigation across the property, and is currently investigating the use of this water for other purposes.
- Green Star Ratings
All new buildings are 4-star (or higher) rated in terms of the Green Building Council of South Africa’s rating system, which ensures that all the buildings are resource efficient. Resources considered in these ratings include electricity, water, building materials, climate control, etc.