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Water wise at the V&A waterfront

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The V&A Waterfront first introduced water wise measures to its operations in 2009, to conserve what was already a pressurised resource and to manage water more efficiently. The Waterfront is responsible for all infrastructures across the property, from roads and waterworks, to electricity and waste disposal, so water saving forms part of its overall sustainability programme.

In addition to creating 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 use of drip irrigation is turned off during the rainy season in Cape Town, and in summer, when no water regulations are enforced, the watering system is on a timer operating at 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 an 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.

Use of sea water for cooling of buildings, instead of cooling towers

Existing cooling towers on the property are metered and high and low-level sensors 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. Waterway House, the first building in the new Canal District development 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

Pressure reducing valves in all incoming water lines were installed three years ago, as part of its ongoing water conservation efforts. The property has seen fewer burst pipes 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

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.

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.

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