01 Mar UPD Cape Town tackles day zero
UPD Although there has been some temporary respite from Cape Town’s Day Zero (the day Cape Town’s taps are turned off) which has moved from April to May and now early June, households and businesses are still putting contingency plans in place.
We spoke to UPD’s General Manager Coastal, Leon Steyn, about how UPD was making sure that the Western Cape facility will continue to operate in the event of Day Zero becoming a reality.
“The impact on households is obvious, including Cape Town’s residents having to queue for water, possibly for hours at a time. But, in terms of health regulations, a business may not operate if you cannot supply drinking water to employees or supply water to flush toilets, wash hands, and wash cutlery and crockery,” says Leon.
Plans put in place by Leon and his team include:
- 4 x 5 000lt JOJO tanks, previously used to recycle water from the sprinkler system, will be used to harvest the condensation emanating from the newly installed air conditioning systems as well as any water (e.g. dew, rain) from the roof. An additional 2 X JOJO tanks have also been ordered.
- A trailer with a tank will be purchased to collect water from the Clicks DC (Distribution Centre) which is sinking a borehole.
- Drinking water will be obtained from UPD’s Cape Town stockholding and, if need be, UPD will look to source drinking water from other DCs. The team will also be purchasing water dispensers and water bottles, including 25lt water containers, to keep employees hydrated.
- The hiring of mobile toilets is a strong option as these facilities do not require water. Another water-saving initiative involves closing the bathroom taps and providing hand sanitisers, something which many businesses (and even shopping centres) are already doing.
- Even the canteen has not escaped scrutiny with consideration being given to only offering food that does not require boiling. Replacing crockery with paper plates is also on the cards to save water.
- Managers encouraging employees to save water not only at UPD, but also at home.
Leon believes that what we’re seeing is perhaps the ‘new normal’ and that we need to adapt. The measures being put in place by UPD’s Cape Town facility are now common place and no longer considered extraordinary in the region. He also points out that while Cape Town is attracting the headlines, the Eastern Cape has similar problems.
“UPD is a robust, relentless and enduring business – a leader because of these traits and its ability to adapt and be innovative. These attributes will help our Cape Town team to not only manage this situation, but continue serving our clients with distinction,” says Leon.