Never before has the UN’s International World Water Day been so pertinent. With South Africa and many regions of the world caught in the grip of drought, businesses have had to grapple with the reality of severe water-scarcity.
One company that anticipated a water scarce future is Sun International’s Durban-based Sibaya Casino, which first introduced operational changes to water conservation in 2014. Since then efforts have been ramped up with interventions focused on a combination of water storage and recovery, and constantly reviewing the efficacy of water consumption across the casino, the hotel and the lodge.
Explaining Sibaya’s views on water, General Manager Myan Moodley said, “We have to accept that South Africa is an arid country and rainfall patterns are becoming less predictable, so every drop of water is precious. We applaud initiatives such as World Water Day which draw attention to the problem, but as custodians of our environment we at Sibaya believe we should respect and conserve our natural resources every day. Our management is actively involved in rooting out wasteful mind sets among our staff and inculcating a culture of environmental conservation and sustainability.
Water conservation efforts
Sibaya’s water saving programme began in 2014 with a novel water recovery system that caught waste water from the cooling towers and reused it for irrigation on the property.
The project gathered momentum in 2015 with a series of implementations including the construction of a new 250 Kilolitre reservoir. A new 450 kilolitre water reservoir was completed by 2019. This has massively increased the complex’s domestic storage capacity from 300 kilolitres to 1000 kilolitres.
To further reduce water consumption across the complex, a total of 158 water and energy saving showerheads were installed. These restrict the flow of water by aerating it, and so reduce the amount of water used in each shower without compromising the guest experience. 78 Push taps were also installed in all of the back of house areas to prevent taps from being left running unnecessarily. Water pressure throughout the complex was also reduced to help curb consumption.
“We stopped using municipal water supply for irrigation in early 2015 and reduced the depth of our ponds to lower the water volume. We use grey water captured from the cooling towers to irrigate our gardens as well as to wash waste bins. Installation work has been completed to run grey water from the cooling towers to a public toilet so that clean, potable water does not have to be used for flushing of toilets and urinals,” says Ravin Sahadev, Maintenance Manager at Sibaya.
A Geberit twin flush system has also been installed on all toilets. With its half flush option, the system literally translates into a 50% water saving with each flush.
“We closely monitor water consumption and trends across the resort to ensure that problems in the reticulation system are quickly identified and remedied to prevent wastage. Our goal is to ensure that no water is wasted and that every drop is used mindfully,” explains Ravin.
The casino has been testing rainwater harvesting from its roofs, as well as capturing condensation water from its air conditioning system. This is stored in four 20 kilolitre storage tanks for various purposes. Conscious of the amount of water that they use, they aim to save this precious resource wherever and however they can.