Getting Water-Wise: Saving Our Most Precious Resource

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It’s no secret that the Western Cape is really struggling with water shortages. At Spier we’ve spent the last decade doing everything we can to save as much of this precious resource as possible.

In 2007 we committed to halving our municipal water consumption over the next 10 years. We installed 400 water-saving devices on showers, basins and toilets in our hotel, conference centre, restaurants and other public spaces. We monitor and measure water consumption per guest – constantly looking at ways to improve efficiency. Consumption per guest in the conference centre has been reduced by 55% and by 15% in the hotel.

Spier believes the plant is a first of its kind in South Africa. “It combines environmentally-friendly cleansing and natural ‘healing’ techniques to bring life and energy back to the water,” explains Heidi Newton-King, Spier’s sustainability director. “After initial treatment through an activated-sludge process and in a bioreactor, the water passes through a reed bed into a ying-yang shaped pond where it is driven through a number of ‘flow forms’ before being transported to a nearby irrigation dam.”

The plant can process up to a million litres of wastewater at any given time – purifying 50 million litres of clean water annually. It would take a river 350km to purify what the treatment plant can do in one day. The clean water is then used for flushing in the washrooms and to irrigate our gardens and grounds.  The plant resulted in Spier receiving the Getaway Award for Leadership in Water Conservation at the 2015 Nedbank Green Wine Awards.

The clearing of thirsty invasive species and the replanting of millions of indigenous plants has also helped reduce consumption.

Spier’s commitment to water conservation goes well beyond the farm gate. “We believe it’s crucial to work together with government, other businesses and communities in the region to achieve a meaningful positive impact,” Newton-King says.

This approach has resulted in Spier co- chairing the Stellenbosch River Collaborative which was launched in late 2013 to restore the health and water quality of rivers in the Eerste River Catchment which forms a vital lifeline for communities in the area.

Did you know?

Since 2007, we’ve also recycled 100% of our wastewater through an eco-friendly treatment plant – the first of its kind in South Africa.