Residential Estate Industry Journal 4 - Page 53

SOUTH AFRICA’S WATER CRISIS SHOWS NO SIGN OF ABATING, ESPECIALLY IN THE WESTERN CAPE, WHERE DAM LEVELS ARE AT WORRYINGLY LOW LEVELS, PROMPTING THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN TO DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY. done this have provided on-site backup security, health and safety being foremost of water, or have implemented systems to amongst these. Yet, for the residential estate community, the long-term and sustainable strategic plans implementation of on-site storage, in-house irrigation systems or on-site boreholes has meant that many estate managers feel that these water worries simply do not apply to them. How wrong could they be? The problem is at the doorstep of everyone, and that includes the residential estate community. A lack of appreciation of the extent and acuteness of the looming problems of water and the environment means that many estates simply do not realise how badly this can impact their guarantee the quality of the water backup, or introduced alternative sources of water, but they are few in number. Doing this has allowed these estates to implement a range of options for the improvement and sustainability of their water supply and the environment. The first step in taking action is to forge regarding water and the environment, and to allocate a budget for both short- and long-term projects needed to mitigate these risks in the future. As a general rule, a As seen by the destruction caused in Knysna and the fire in Braamfontein, there is also a fire risk associated with a possible deterioration of water pressure, and it is therefore essential that the board of trustees (or equivalent) of an estate consider this and other aspects in their risk planning. Being water wise is not just about using less of it. The team at Gurumanzi suggest incorporating an integrated approach to water and the environment, and propose that an estate forges programmes and short-term budget plan is for anything up solutions that will reduce all related risks to three years, while long-term plans are for on the estate. anything up to ten years and beyond. Some water issues, however, demand immediate attention. Dr. Shane Sparg, an leading environmentalist, believes that, in many cases, an estate may consider turning all water and environmental The estate needs solutions that are designed for the purpose and that address such things as strategic storage options, alternative clean and safe water sources, re-use and recycling, and to allow nature do more of the work. estate’s sustainability and future value. issues into a service that might be dealt with in a similar fashion to security and According to Prof. Anthony Turton of According to specialists at Gurumanzi, an other outsourced services. Contracts such Gurumanzi, the future for water and the innovative, strategic water risk consultancy, as these could address all the related environment is an unusual business situation, with specific interest in the residential estate risks, and converting capital expenses into and a fundamental and urgent rethink in industry, as the Assurance of Supply (AOS) operational expenses might be an attractive approach is needed. for water declines, the risk to consumers option for some estates. and businesses increases dramatically. The Assurance of Supply relating to water is normally the responsibility of the municipality and consists of six elements: the quality of the water, the quantity supplied, at a time (24 hours), at a place (the individual house or estate), at an acceptable pressure, and at an acceptable price. All these elements may be impacted severely in the near future. Gurumanzi believes many estates are taking a huge risk by not improving their governance of the estate and taking these A good place to start is by asking what Dr Anthony Turton contingency plans are in place when, and if, water disruptions or quality deteriorations occur. It is essential that estate directors and their management constantly evaluate water and the environment as long-term and interdependent risks to the value of the estate property and its brand. Many estates see this as an opportunity to add value to their brand by offering water security and environmental features as part of the package residents are buying into. relevant water and environmental concerns Water and environmental risks impact on into the boardroom. The few that have virtually all other risks on an estate too, with PAGE 51