Old Mutual leads the way with water filtration project to help stave off Day Zero

By Janice Roberts

In its quest to find effective solutions to the current water crisis in the Western Cape, Old Mutual has become the first corporate in South Africa to launch a ‘from-waste-to-drinking-water’ filtration project at its Mutualpark offices in Pinelands, Cape Town.

Speaking after the launch of its multi-million rand project, Old Mutual’s Chief Operating Officer Iain Williamson said the initiative underscores the group’s commitment to making a positive impact on broader socio-economic and environmental issues in the country.

It proves that big corporates are able to make a meaningful difference by being resourceful and thinking creatively to find solutions for the challenges of our time. “The cluster of interconnected environment-related risks – including extreme weather events, climate change and water crises – has consistently featured among the top global risks for the past seven years. Preserving water resources and helping secure clean water have become vital to sustain numerous industries and societies across the world.

“In South Africa, we are currently living with the effect of one of the worst droughts in 113 years – and it is the responsibility of everyone to save more and waste less.

“As Mutualpark is home to about 9 000 employees, we have a large footprint and we need to do whatever we can to protect our scarce water reserves, and at the same time educate, inspire and empower all our employees to take action and commit to water-saving behaviours,” he said.

The filtration project is expected to be completed by April 2018, and the entire process is tightly governed by legislation and the relevant health department to ensure that the quality of the water is not compromised.

The new system will catch all waste water from Mutualpark and then purify it through a series of processes to meet the stringent requirements stipulated in the South African National Standard (SANS 241) for drinking water. The clean water will be stored in large tanks to ensure Mutualpark has enough drinking water capacity to cater for all its needs. This system will save between 10 and 15 million litres of municipal water per month.

“As a responsible business, we have pledged our whole-hearted support to the City of Cape Town’s #ThinkWater campaign, and we’re joining the WWF with their #WatershedWednesday initiative to commit to making water sacrifices in the workplace. We want to thank our partners and our employees who continue to work with us to protect our precious resources and limit our environmental impact. Together, we can avoid Day Zero,” Williamson said.

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