Building industry must be water wise
Best practice is needed, urges MEC
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 ...”