Municipal water costs R50/kilolitre; but just R9.20/kl from GrandWest’s treatment facility

While the cost of potable water currently is R50 per kilolitre (on the Level 6 commercial tariff),  it’s costing GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town just R9.20 per kilolitre from the treatment facility. It will take approximately 28 months for GrandWest to realise a return on its investment.

Sun International’s GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town has announced the completion of a water purification plant on the property that will in future treat borehole water to potable standards.

The initiative began In February 2017 when the casino investigated feasible options to using potable water. They commissioned a water treatment plant on site that includes four groundwater wells and a treatment plant with iron removal, sand filtration, reverse osmosis and stripping capability to comfortably deliver up to 10 000 kilolitres per month. A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between GrandWest and the City of Cape Town to ensure that all water quality specifications and legal requirements were met.

The hospitality and entertainment industry were particularly hard hit by the effects of the unprecedented drought, but since implementing water-saving measures, GrandWest has used almost 50% less potable water.

GrandWest General Manager Mervyn Naidoo said: “To ensure business continuity, it was important to change our water supply mix and be less reliant on public resources. Thankfully our 2018 rainfall is higher than last year, however, the severity of the situation has taught us the importance of having access to alternative resources. Through our boreholes and water treatment plant we are joining the water-saving efforts of millions of Cape Town residents, the City and other businesses. By not drawing water from public reserves there is also substantially more for the residents of Cape Town. We are mindful, though, that underground water is not an unlimited resource and its management is critical. We intend to apply the same Level 6B restrictions to our borehole water as we did to municipally-supplied potable water.”

Aside from being able to guarantee drinking water for customers, there is also a financial case to be made for the plant. The cost of potable water is currently R50 per kilolitre (on the Level 6 commercial tariff associated with Level 6 water restrictions) compared with R9.20 per kilolitre from the treatment facility. It will take approximately 28 months for GrandWest to realise a return on its investment.

Explaining the process, GrandWest’s Engineering Manager Johan Gelderblom said: “The plant consists of four boreholes and water drawn from these is passed through a set of pre-filters that removes most of the metals and suspended solids. The filters are aerated to assist with oxidisation of the water and from there, it is stored in a holding or buffer tank. The water is then taken through a set of reverse osmosis RO filters from where it is finally pumped into a 400 000 litre holding tank. As required, the water is later pumped to the main water reservoir by means of a UV generator unit which stops bacteria and further purifies the water.”

The borehole solution was built in phases. First we established the boreholes and tested the quality of the water. The appropriate purification process was then designed and, once City approval was obtained, the actual purification plant was built. The geohydrological measurements for the boreholes commenced in May 2017 and the plant produced its first purified water on 15 May 2018.”

Regular tests are conducted to ensure that the water quality complies with drinking water standards as laid down by the City.”

What else did GrandWest do?

  • Bath plugs have been removed from all bathroom
  • Water flow reducers have been fitted to shower heads
  • Basins have been fitted with faucet aerators
  • Bed linen and towels are only changed on request
  • Non-essential back-of-house water faucets have been locked
  • All water fountains on complex have been shut down;
  • Urinal flushes are set to its lowest level
  • Taps in the public facilities have been shut down (only one operational)
  • Hand sanitisers have been implemented in public facilities
  • Effluent treated greywater supply directly from the Municipal sewer treatment works, recycled water from The Ice Station, as well as non-potable water are used to water the gardens
  • Many plant beds have been converted to water wise plant beds
  • Boreholes drilled and the establishment of a water purification plant

Solar panel window blinds

This is for my wish list but you can pre-order them now at  SolarGaps smart blinds automatically track the sun throughout the day, adjusting position to the optimal angles to generate solar electricity to power devices in your home, apartment or office.

At about $1,000 a m², they’re not cheap… but discount the cost of curtains, the ability to control your blinds with your mobile phone, and maybe you can justify them.  But you can be sure, if this catches on, prices will drop!

They generate up to 100W-150W of renewable energy per ±1m² of window, enough to power 30 LED light bulbs or three MacBooks.  So with ±4m² of window on the north-eastern face of the house, I would be able to generate 1.6-2.4kWh over four hours just on one side of the house.

A very bright idea… save 98% of your water consumption!

It’s almost too outrageous to be true.  But you can save 98% of your water consumption simply by adding a nozzle onto your existing taps.  Or you will be able to from the end of this year when production of the Altered:Nozzle starts.

The new company turned to Kickstarter to help fund the project online… and they reached their Swedish KR250,000 target in three days!  Funding received to date totals KR2,660,320.  And that’s mainly because 4,145 people are so eager to lay their hands on this device.


Imagine the impact compulsory use of this device would have in South Africa!

You can read more about it at

The company website is at where you can preorder.

Not a Bright Idea!

LED bulb filled with insects

LED bulb filled with insectsA LED lightbulb is supposed to last for 6 — 12 years and, being rather pricey, they probably do. But this one will need to be replaced after about a year when a single candle will achieve more light than it does.

It’s taken less than two months for this bulb to attract the miggies or gnats you see lying at the bottom of the bulb.  The light is already 20% less powerful than when new.  At this rate, the bulb will be almost full by the end of the year and can hardly be called a light any more…

So, if you live in a area with a lot of miggies, choose your lightbulbs carefully!


Getting the most from your PV Panels

I wanted to run all lights, a power-hungry laptop (something I only discovered after I started), medium-sized fridge, wireless router, solar production & power consumption monitoring equipment, and battery charging for laptop, cellphone, camera and power drill. Could I do all this off one 150W PV panel (costing about R1700)?  Be patient, this is an unfolding story 🙂

This is an incremental experiment.  Starting off with “What is the most I can achieve for the least cost, and what lifestyle changes are necessary to achieve that?”  And then growing the solar installation to cater for what many regard as normal living.

Since I was starting at the height of summer, commonsense told me that a horizontal panel would be just fine, I “plonked” my panel on the almost flat and not-too-sturdy roof of a small outbuilding, using the rather pricey but rock-solid brackets from ExSolar, who were horrified by my plan.  But this was my temporary solution whereas they always fix panels that will last the lifetime of a sturdy roof.

150 watt panel

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The World IS changing!

While household dependence on power utilities like Eskom is becoming a thing of the past as more and more households turn to solar energy, the end of oil companies as we know them is also on the cards.

Nothing highlighted this more than one news service in the past week:

The last half of 2015 saw the tipping point where electric cars are becoming mainstream, in spite of oil prices being at record lows.  And with China leading the way, it’s a trend no-one can ignore.  Billions is being spent on new battery technologies.  And how long before an Apple iCar becomes the new “must-have”?

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The Smarter WiFi option

One of the early things needed for the house was WiFi — for electricity monitoring equipment and other “smart” elements that might be included.  Asking around, most people in the area use PaarlOnline — not always with great satisfaction.  This seemed to be echoed in some online forums, where BreedeNet was mentioned as an alternative.  Is there a smarter alternative?
Service Provider[attr style=”width:110px”],Speed,Once-off cost,5 Gig pm,10 Gig pm
PaarlOnline,up to 2Mbps,R2140¹,R350,R600
Breedenet,up to 2Mbps,R1000+¹,R450,R730
,up to 6Mbps,R1000+¹,R521,R828
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iShacks — Power for the People

iShack Proect at Ekanini, Stellenbosch

The iShack project at Ekanini in Stellenbosch is taking solar energy to the people, and over 1000 homes have been connected.

After being impressed by solar energy installations for poorer homes in the northern Drakensberg, I was delighted to discover that the biggest urban solar energy project for indigent families is nearby at Ekanini (population about 9,000) alongside Kayamandi in Stellenbosch.  The Sustainability Institute’s iShack Project has already provided electricity to over 1,000 homes. Continue reading

Surely the cheapest hot water system there is!

Hot water from the outset was an absolute necessity because I’m not good at cold showers.  And seeing I hadn’t worked out all the options, I certainly didn’t have a long-term plan.  So I wanted the cheapest, fastest solution which I wouldn’t have any hesitation in just throwing away or recycling after a month or two.

So here’s my R130 hot water system!  Can that be beaten price-wise?  It’s 100 metres of the cheapest 16mm irrigation pipe, coiled flat on the ground in a circle as tightly as I could.  It has a diameter of 1.8 metres but could be a little less.

Hot water coil

The hot water coil. It was neater before a storm and strong winds, so the hothouse cover is probably a necessity. 
It needs to be tidied up again so that all the piping is fully exposed to the sun.

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