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Actual savings for industry in water efficiency Featured


The Industrial Water Efficiency (IWE) Project completed its first year of operations on a high by recording actual water savings of 89 000 kl (or m3) from its very first case study. These savings translate to cost saving of R2.2 million, confirming positive rewards for industry that is willing to adopt water efficient processes and technologies.


One of South Africa’s large poultry processing plants, RCL Rustenburg, achieved significant savings in a single year as a result of its participation in the National Cleaner Production Centre, South Africa’s (NCPC-SA) established IWE Project. The plant consumed over one million kilolitre of water annually, equating to approximately two percent of the total local municipal potable water supply. Consequently, the plant initiated a water assessment to determine how it could reduce water usage and ease its burden on the municipal supply.

The IWE Project conducted a detailed water assessment and identified a number of measures that were implemented to counterbalance the excessive water usage at the plant. The results amounted to an annual saving of 89 607 kilolitres of water, equalling an annual monetary saving of R2.2 million, and a cost saving of approximately R1.78 million for the company.

Seven assessments were completed by the IWE Project during 2017-18, with a further nine underway. Some assessments were delayed due to limited access quarantine measures being imposed at the sites, triggered by the bird flu and listeriosis outbreaks experienced by the sector during this period. The delayed assessments are currently underway and scheduled for completion during the 2018/19 financial year.

"A number of plants had to delay their assessments because they were focused on their survival in the market place," says Kevin Cilliers the Regional Manager for the NCPC-SA in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and national lead on the Industrial Water Efficiency Project.

Three previously assessed plants, namely the Vineyard Hotel, First National Battery, and the Oude Werf Hotel, also implemented assessment findings aimed at curtailing their respective plants water consumption.

Given South Africa’s water scarce status, the NCPC-SA launched the IWE Project two years ago as a means of influencing industry to reduce their water consumption and better manage their water usage. Since its inception, the work done by the IWE Project has grown to include six components all aimed at influencing the adoption of positive water management practices.

In line with the component to facilitate change in policy, the NCPC-SA through the IWE Project entered into a collaborative partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DSW), and the Danish Ministry for Environment and Food. The partnership resulted in the NCPC-SA conducting a review of the current SA policy landscape. "The review findings were useful input to the DWS’s National Water Master Plan," says Cilliers.

The IWE Project also successfully reviewed the current global practices around water management standards and practices worldwide. The report findings and recommendations will serve as input to develop a standardised approach and methodology as well as relevant water skills training modules.

The tremendous success achieved by the RNL Rustenburg plant is a true testimony to the work done by the NCPC-SA. Companies can apply for free water assessments and assistance with implementing water efficiency in their plants at the NCPC-SA offices operated across the country, with offices in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

"The IWE Project is well positioned to help industry to reduce their water usage and better manage their water consumption," says Cilliers.

For more information, please visit the NCPC-SA website (www.ncpc.co.za) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Industrial Water Efficiency project is one of the flagship projects of the national Cleaner production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA). The NCPC-SA is a programme of the Department of Trade and industry hosted by the CSIR. It works to assist industry to save energy, water and materials through resource efficient and cleaner production, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact of the industrial and selected commercial sectors.