Cape Town retailers prepare for the day water runs out
• Ablutions: Toilets need to be flushed. The inability to do so poses as another health hazard to businesses, staff, tenants and customers.”Property companies need to do their part to keep tenants and customers happy during this crisis by implementing measures to control the situation. It is critical that all stakeholders collaborate in order to ensure the best possible outcome for all,” says the report.The South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC) Cape Town’s shopping malls and retailers about their plans and campaigns to cope with Day Zero.
V&A Waterfront (Growthpoint Properties)
The V&A Waterfront is regarded as a premier tourist destination in South Africa with tremendous international tourist exposure. Stephan Le Roux, the director of Growthpoint Properties said: “It is imperative that the V&A continues to operate at an acceptable level. Not only does the precinct have the highest concentration of hotels and restaurants but it is the ‘showcase’ of Cape Town. Over and above the extensive water-saving initiatives already deployed, the V&A will be constructing their own dedicated desalination plant. Whilst this will not be in time for the current projected D-day, it will ensure future water security.”
He added that Growthpoint was a founding member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and one of the industry leaders in implementing sustainable and resource-saving technologies, ranging from solar energy to recycling. “We have, over the past number of years, implemented a number of water-saving initiatives across our portfolio such as rainwater harvesting, waterless urinals, replacing water-thirsty plants with indigenous plants and hard landscaping, abandoning irrigation all together-even from boreholes.
He said that people can adapt if there is a will to do so. “As such, we have noticed a significant decline in water consumption at our Cape Town properties. Notwithstanding the lower water usage by all, operations and trading are like normal. There is a high level of awareness among our shoppers and people are not only encouraging others to save water but are also policing water waste. The major concern at this stage though is if water supply is totally turned off on ‘D-day’. Our shopping centres have to trade – not only because thousands of people depend on the income and salaries but also as the public will continue to need daily access to stores.”
Growthpoint says it is also installing boreholes, water tanks and water purification plants where possible, as well as securing chemical toilets.
Canal Walk, Cape Gate and Somerset Mall (Hyprop Investments Limited)
Camilla Lor, marketing executive for Canal Walk said that Hyprop Investments Limited has instituted stringent measures at all its shopping centres in the affected areas. “This includes limiting the use of water deployed inside the centres and external amenities. To remain top of mind and to reinforce the change in attitude that is required from everyone – shoppers, retailers, visitors, staff, etc – all centres have engaged in regular communications to tenants, including suggestions for easily implementable water saving tactics, as well as highlighting the successes the centres achieve on an ongoing basis.”
Hyprop’s Western Cape centres have committed a R19 million capex budget to implement these long-term solutions to safeguard against future water stress.
Tyger Valley Centre (Mowana Properties)
Nozipho Khumalo, the national marketing manager for Mowana Properties, said that they had been working tirelessly on various initiatives in a bid to ensure that continuity of business is achieved, should day zero be reached.
“We have been working very closely with our largest consumers of water within the centre which are air conditioning, tenant usage and ablutions to aim to drive and exceed the savings on consumption demanded by the council. We have identified and met with the large water users within the mall including anchor tenants and have encouraged water saving throughout the mall.”
Various tenants have implemented their own initiatives such as dry water washing at the hair-dressers and the usage of disposable towels. In a bid to save water, we have investigated alternative water sources, such as borehole water in preparation for Day Zero. Day Zero affects all parties and is not the sole responsibility of the landlord. A water expert has just been appointed to assist us with scientific water saving methods and we are also encouraging tenants to play their part and to introduce initiatives of their own.”
Khumalo added that Mowana Properties was also implementing other initiatives such as rainwater harvesting in preparation for future rainfall and is formulating a formal disaster plan for the centre should Day Zero be reached. “
Food Lover’s Market
Retailers too have rolled up their sleeves as Day Zero approaches. Commenting on the efforts at Food Lover’s Market, group head of sustainability, Andrew Millson said that Food Lover’s Market had been preparing for this crisis for some time. “We first set up a water emergency group, consisting of various department heads and senior managers, in October 2017. This was primarily aimed at reduction of water use. However as the drought shifted, more emphasis has been placed on Day Zero itself,” he said.
Changes that were made at the various Food Lover’s Market stores in Cape Town include: Implementing water tanks with rainwater harvesting and filtration at stores, pack-houses and distribution centres. Daily water readings being collected from all stores and head office and sourcing of water from sustainable sources to fill tanks should Day Zero arrive
Millson said: “The long-term implications may well be very positive, with a great deal of new infrastructure being put in place leading to a more decentralised reticulation system. People’s awareness of water has substantially shifted too, as has the feelings around climate change and how this impacts our lives.”
He said: “Our distribution centre has various detailed water plans and measures put in place to significantly reduce our consumption. We have been actively involved at a retail level by engaging, advising, guiding and supporting our retailers and store owners on an ongoing basis. Providing leadership and guidance in terms of water saving initiatives and various other solutions in an attempt to delay Day Zero indefinitely.”
She said: “We have very clearly defined plans in place to continue operations in our stores, distribution centres and head office. We are also actively working with our suppliers to assist them in finding solutions so that we can continue to meet our commitments to our customers. We have installed water tanks at our Western Cape stores, distribution centres and our head office to ensure uninterrupted water supply in the event of Day Zero. We are investigating alternative water source options such as investing in a desalination solution and alternative water sources outside of the Western Cape.”