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Rethinking water management – making responsible decisions – Dr. Leslie Hoy – Manager Environmental Management Services – Rand Water

Rainfall across the country has historically been variable over time, season, and locations.  This has been exacerbated due to the many influences of climate change across our country. Added to this, as our population continues to grow, increased housing, educational, business and leisure facilities are also required.  Many other challenges such as aging infrastructure, inadequate infrastructure, leaking infrastructure and ill-informed decisions on water use, also place enormous strain on water management in the country. These are not unique to South Africa as there are many African and international countries (e.g. United Kingdom, Germany and Italy) that have similar environmental and human related challenges.

Considering this, it is critical that we need to be making urgent responsible decisions to address the challenges we face in our management of water. Admittedly as individuals we cannot solve all these problems on our own. However as individual people, businesses, and industry we can take steps to address them if we make a conscious decision to do so.

Some water management solutions are offered:

  • Responsible use – This starts with only using specifically what is needed. Responsible water use includes the implementation of water management practices within our business activities, systems and processes.
  • Education – It is key to have ongoing awareness campaigns specifically targeted to inform and upskill, family members, staff, colleagues and users on the efficient and responsible use of water.
  • Retrofitting – Technology is continuously evolving to allow for more water efficient devices, mechanisms, and systems, to be installed in place of inefficient technology.
  • Water conservation – It is everyone’s business and goes way beyond just “turning off the taps”. This also includes aspects such as, responsible protection of our environment (more specifically the water linked environment), paying for the water you receive and wise use of water.
  • Reduce water use – Reducing water in a business sense, results that in the long-term, water is saved and water expenditure is reduced.
  • Reuse and recycling of water – The water (our finite resource) used by the dinosaurs is most likely the same water we drink today, with the cycle ever continuing. Most river and dam sources have a portion of their water that is already recycled from various sources. For landscapes, the reuse of water through implementation of grey water filtrations systems (those naturally constructed in the landscape, and those pre-manufactured) should be considered. Where needs be, 100% of effluent can be recycled (this may require expensive and unique technology, but what really matters is that it is possible).
  • Harvesting of rainwater allows for a wide variety of options and is essential to supplement water use in a variety of situations.
  • Landscape design – Potentially much water is used in some landscapes. It is therefore essential that a holistic approach be considered to ensure that whilst designing to achieve function and aesthetics, that responsible water management is achieved.
  • Measure and monitor – you can only monitor water use and savings if it is measured and records are kept. Submetering of water use on a premises or site is also crucial to know exactly where water is being used and to what extent. In many instances submetering just doesn’t exist which adds to our challenges. Monitoring of water use can vary from very basic manual meter reading systems to extremely complex systems that provide accurate water use within minutes of the use taken place. Technology has allowed for this live data management which can assist us to amongst others, address leaks almost immediately.
  • Consider your water footprint – The water footprint is able to measure the amount of water used to produce each of the goods and services we use. It is able to measure for a single process, such as growing a crop, for a product produced (e.g. clothing, cars, furniture, etc). It can also tell us how much water is being consumed by a particular country or from a specific river basin.

Implementing solutions is not necessarily an easy task and is almost certain not something we do in isolation. Implementation requires that both time and energy is budgeted for. If we are prepared to take action, we need to make a stand and be counted.  The responsible water management decisions we make must provide tangible solutions that will ensure water for all in the future.

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

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Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

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Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

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