Western Cape water economy can grow into a multi-billion Rand industry

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, today confirmed that the manufacturing and supply of water related technologies and services has the potential to grow into a multi-billion Rand industry in the Western Cape, according to a new study.

The 2018 Water Market Intelligence Report (MIR), prepared by GreenCape, found that the drought, and an uncertain supply of water in the future, is the key driver in growing this sector.

Winde said “The drought has been difficult for many sectors in the province, however, it has also presented us with opportunities and this report shows us the value of those opportunities. We should never waste a good crisis. Now is the time for businesses and residents to invest in their own water resilience to ensure that we continue to grow the economy, secure the jobs we already have, and create more going forward.”

The report details several key opportunities in this sector including:

  • Growing private sector demand for smart water metering systems as a tool for improved water management.
  • New residential and commercial property developments in the province are a key market for water efficient devices and greywater reuse systems, presenting a potential market of ~R900m per year.
  • Municipalities are increasingly interested in potable water reuse of their municipal wastewater. In Cape Town there is a potential market of almost R2bn.
  • There are a number of opportunities relating to groundwater and rainwater systems across all private sector markets. The potential residential market in the Western Cape could be worth ~R5.8bn.
  • Large-scale seawater desalination is an emerging market that presents a number of opportunities for investors. The potential market in the City of Cape Town is around R3bn.
  • The potential market for Water Consumption and Water Demand Management (WCWDM) projects that reduce non-revenue water in South African metros is estimated at ~R2bn a year, of which ~R500m is unfunded.
  • Water reuse in the industrial sector presents opportunities for both technology and service providers. The total gross value added (GVA) for moderate and highly water intense users in the WC in 2016, excluding agriculture, was R155bn in 2017.

In the past 12 months there has been significant growth in demand for boreholes, well points and water treatment systems in the Western Cape.

Rainwater systems have also been in huge demand, with Western Cape based tank manufacturers reporting that they are booked up in advance, with supply being sought from elsewhere in the country. The GreenCape MIR identifies opportunities in the design, supply, and installation of cost effective rainwater harvesting systems for use indoors such as toilet flushing and for laundries.

The MIR indicates that a small home in Cape Town would be able to harvest around 12 kilolitres (kl) of water annually, while a small home in George, could harvest over 16 kl per year.

In the Western Cape, the Oceana and Sea Harvest plants in Saldanha Bay have made investments into desalination plants, while in Cape Town, desalination plants are on the cards, or have been installed at the V&A Waterfront and at Tsogo Sun hotels. Minister Winde applauded these businesses for adopting water wise strategies.

Minister Winde also commended GreenCape for their work in assisting businesses to become more water resilient, and greener overall. The Western Cape Government funds GreenCape to grow the green economy.

Said Winde: “The more we can do now to save water and energy and to reduce waste, the more resilient we will be in the future,” he said.

The CEO of GreenCape, Mike Mulcahy added that the drought has been a catalyst for the water sector in the Western Cape and has reshaped the local water market. “The water crisis has driven the adoption of water technology in the private sector with significant growth seen in the commercial and residential sectors. Our ‘fresh off the press’ 2018 Water MIR highlights many of the current and potential opportunities and market growth we are seeing in this sector. Furthermore, due to the drought and long-term concerns over water security, municipalities are looking to procure alternative supplies, such as large-scale desalination, and to invest in water conservation and demand management measures.”


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