Telecommunications group Vodacom on Thursday unveiled its latest initiative to minimise the environmental impact of its head office, in Midrand. The R4.2-million rainwater harvesting project, which Vodacom said was the largest in South Africa, harvests one-million litres of rainwater a month, which would be redirected to provide 40% of the water required for the air conditioning of the Vodacom Commercial Park building. This removed 12-million litres a year of water demand from the local municipal supply, said Vodacom executive head of division: facilities north Thembani Jwambi.
The 0.04 km2 rainwater harvest storage dam, which was designed and constructed over a period of 18 months, had a storage capacity of one-million litres, collecting water from the 537 mm of rainfall the region has a year.
Any excess rainwater would be used to irrigate the gardens on the Vodacom premises.
The group had also, over the past year, replaced its semicircular “reflect surface” ponds with “water-wise gardens” owing to high levels of evaporation, leading to water losses.
Wastewater from the building’s air conditioning plants was also being reused for garden irrigation. Jwambi noted that the amount of water saved through these projects amounted to about 15%.
The group was currently assessing other projects related to water savings and environmental sustainability.