Build­ing in­dus­try must be wa­ter wise

Best prac­tice is needed, urges MEC

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JOSEPH BOOYSEN

ECO­NOMIC Op­por­tu­ni­ties MEC Alan Winde has said that although wa­ter is needed for con­struc­tion, the in­dus­try needs to be clever with how they use wa­ter.

“That’s why across the board I’ve asked that we start to de­velop a best prac­tice wa­ter mea­sure­ment tool, for ex­am­ple, in con­struc­tion how many litres of wa­ter are used per square me­tre in a house, or per square me­tre in a skyrise or per square me­tre in a fac­tory.

“Ob­vi­ously they will all use dif­fer­ent amounts of wa­ter but it’s not about just let­ting the taps flow while you’re mix­ing ce­ment or tiling or clean­ing off, its about be­com­ing wise. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I am very en­cour­aged by the proac­tive work that is done in the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try.”

Winde said, for in­stance, some­one from a paint com­pany con­tacted him and told him they are busy with wa­ter tankers and they had wa­ter tanks col­lect­ing wa­ter off their roofs and he is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether wa­ter can be pumped out of some of the old quar­ries which have filled up with wa­ter which could be used to fill up tankers be­fore go­ing off to sites.

“Now you can high pres­sure the roof that you are go­ing to paint be­cause you are not us­ing potable wa­ter. So how do we get to a stage where the con­struc­tion in­dus­try can get to say ‘well we don’t use potable wa­ter in con­struc­tion’. It has to be re­cy­cled in some way or other. It’s easy to say it, we have to build those in, but I am en­cour­aged by the num­ber of busi­nesses that are al­ready think­ing that way.”

Winde said the con­struc­tion in­dus­try had had 2.2% growth in 2015 and last year growth was 1% and the fore­cast for this year is at 2.2%.

“We are see­ing good con­struc­tion specif­i­cally in tourism at the mo­ment. So we have the two ho­tels just opened by Tsogo Sun (Sun Square and Stay Easy), we have three ho­tels com­ing up now, Radis­son RED opened this week. In the wa­ter­front there is lots of con­struc­tion of head of­fices, apart­ments, we see in the three Mar­riotts go­ing up, so we’re see­ing tourism in­vest­ment def­i­nitely but that’s on the back of the high tourism growth num­bers so that ob­vi­ously drives con­struc­tion.”

He said the ex­ten­sion of the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre was in the fi­nal fin­ish­ing stages and was re­cently opened as well as a fair amount of res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion hap­pen­ing. Winde said with the wa­ter short­age there was pres­sure in that sec­tor and the whole in­dus­try has to be wa­ter con­scious and this also ap­plies to tourism.

He said his de­part­ment was work­ing with all of the tourism com­pa­nies and was im­pressed to see the wa­ter-sav­ing aware­ness in the town­ship when he vis­ited some Airbnb es­tab­lish­ments in Khayelit­sha this week.

“The tourism in­dus­try is also se­ri­ous about it, they un­der­stand the risk ...”

Alan Winde

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