From capturing grey water for reuse to the mass rollout of water efficient fittings, the Stellenbosch University has implemented a number of interventions to drive down water consumption.
The university's interventions, which are being driven by the Facilities Department, is part of broader initiatives to conserve water in the Stellenbosch Municipal area. Currently the area is on Level 5 restrictions, which limits individuals to 87 litres per person, and households to 20 kl per residential home.
Some of the University's interventions were recently highlighted at the bi-monthly Rector/Mayor Forum, where university and municipality officials discussed the water crisis.
Over the past few weeks Facilities Management has replaced plumbing fittings with more efficient ones. This large scale project included the fitment of efficient showerheads in residences, restrictor aerators on taps, waterless urinals, water replacement units and fittings in toilets. The University has also implemented electronic water meters to measure water use in each building and detect leaks. These initiatives should result in a 30% water saving.
Alternative sources of water have also been secured and several boreholes have been opened, tested and will soon become operational. Water from the boreholes will be used for the upkeep of the botanical garden, sports ground and for animals on the experimental farms. Greywater from showers and hand basins will also be filtered and reused to flush toilets and for irrigation. In addition to the various initiative, the Facilities Department is currently compiling a water optimization plan for the University.
Meanwhile, the Stellenbosch Municipality is preparing to start drilling of boreholes in order to supplement the water supply. Sites are being chosen where water is likely to be found in close proximity to existing reservoirs so the water can easily be fed into the municipal supply.
According to Mr Deon Louw, Director of Engineering Services at the Stellenbosch Municipality, the water will be purified to potable standards, and it is hoped that the water coming on line will be enough to supply all residents of Stellenbosch to at least Level 4 B water restrictions.