Water is a finite resource. Factories use between 25 and 30% of South Africa’s entire water consumption. As the industry grows, a bigger demand will be placed on our water resources. South Africa is considered to be a relatively dry country and experiences approximately half of the world’s average rainfall per year. In addition to this, our rainfall is very inconsistent and typically only occurs in concentrated areas.
The prevailing consequences are inevitable and the price of water is set to rise dramatically in the years to come with some commentators predicting a premium for industrial water us. In the factory environment, water is primarily used for general cleaning, product cleaning, cooling, human consumption, sanitation and as part of the finished product.
Water can be saved and/or recycled in all these areas but usually leaves the factory as part of the product or as an effluent. Contaminated water waste affects water drainage systems, streams, rivers, lakes and the sea. In fact whole eco-systems including municipal water supply can be affected by contaminated water effluent from industry. With the implementation of the South African Water Act (1998), there are laws in place that force factories to clean up their effluents before it is discharged. Today industry is been made increasingly responsible to prevent pollution at its source. Water can be re-used if not contaminated or cleaned up for re-use through proper treatment.