There are growing concerns around water supplies in South Africa, mainly due to the following:
› Climate change is having an impact, as rainfalls that previously replenished the country’s water supplies become less frequent.
› With urbanisation from rural areas increasing, pressure is mounting on cities to meet their water demands.
› According to AquaAffection, 37% percent of water in South African cities is lost in the current urban transmission infrastructure.
› The construction of dams in key areas have either been delayed or are still in the process of being built, while existing structures are deteriorating.
Emira appreciates the importance of good water stewardship and continuously strives to improve the operational usage and quality of water at its properties.
Emira’s 16 water projects save 128 553KL annually.
Equal to annual saving of 51,4 Olympic-sized swimming pools of 2,5ML each.
Current water savings ~450 000L per day.
In monetary terms, R5,27 million or ~15,6% is saved annually.
Water projects save 13,5% of the Fund’s annual water consumption of 825 986KL.
Across the world, the issue of water scarcity is becoming increasingly serious. With a growing global population, the demand for potable water increases daily. In 1975, the scale of water scarcity was limited to a small number of countries in North Africa, Europe and the Middle East. By 2000 water scarcity had spread to a number of large and densely populated countries in Asia.
South Africa has escalated from a water stressed country to a water scarce country and ranks as the 30th driest country in the world. On its current trajectory, South Africa could be included in the ‘extreme scarcity’ category by 2025.
Emira supports the #SurplusWater2025 campaign, which seeks to ensure a sustainable water supply for the future.
Emira takes heed of water scarcity and the potential impact on its stakeholders. The advent of Day-Zero water in the Western Cape in late 2017 and early 2018, highlighted the country’s dependence on water as well as serious deficiencies in water conservation.
To enhance tenant experience, Emira is targeting the storage of a minimum two-day supply of potable water at each of its core properties. Once in place, short-term supply interruptions due to water infrastructure repairs and maintenance can be absorbed by the backup supply and prevent an impact on day-to-day operations.
Emira is also exploring and implementing solutions to harvest rainfall, ground water and borehole water to ensure that its properties have alternate water sources and mitigate the risk of future Day-Zero scenarios.
Currently, Emira’s largest borehole-to-potable water project harvests, cleans and utilises over 200 000L per day.
CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING RAINFALL
Climate change is increasing in intensity and is an identified risk to the Fund. Changing rainfall patterns have made modelling using historical data very difficult and unreliable. As part of the ongoing PV roll-out projects, Emira is installing weather stations at each of its PV farms. This will help to monitor the real solar radiation and rainfall being experienced at the Fund’s properties.
The Company believes that having its own weather-related data will provide better insight into the capital costs of climate change and allow it to develop specific strategies to strengthen the portfolio’s resilience.
CLIMATE ACTION: ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS
LIFE BELOW WATER
PLASTIC REDUCTION AND RECYCLING
The world’s recycling efforts will not bring an to end the global climate crisis, however, Emira recognises the importance of the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials, especially single-use items. The Fund has introduced recycling facilities at all of its retail centres as well as at certain key commercial assets. The Company’s waste streams are monitored and are now included in its carbon disclosure, the details of which are on page 54.
While not directly owning any assets that impact the world’s oceans, Emira recognises the inter-connectedness of the global ecological system. Moreover, Emira supports and encourages the reduction of single use plastics and strives to improve the recycling at each of its properties to reduce the ongoing contamination of water resources.
WATER QUALITY TESTING
Due to the ageing infrastructure of South Africa’s water treatment and transmission networks, Emira monitors and tests the quality of water on all sites where it has undertaken water projects. This is either performed on sites where water is being harvested for potable usage, or by independent laboratories where water is used for non-potable consumption.