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Posted by Abu Bakr Brey in: open box

You’ll have no doubt seen the fairly dramatic headlines about the current water crisis in Cape Town, and the very real danger of us being the first major city in the world to run out of water. This has been our new normal for more than a year, so I wanted to give you a sense of what we are doing to ensure our people stay safe and comfortable, and things remain business as usual for our clients around the world.

Water scarcity is increasingly a reality around the world

We’re tackling the challenge in two ways: saving water, and sourcing alternative water supplies to replace the municipal water we currently use.

Water Saving

Although we can supply water to our building even if the municipal supply ceases (see below), we will continue to implement our waterwise initiatives. The more water we save today, the better our chances of stretching our current water supplies through to the winter rainfall season in the middle of the year. Plus, unfortunately water scarcity is increasingly a reality around the world, and so saving water is just the right thing to do.

What we are currently doing:

Collecting water from our air conditioner units.

  • We discovered we can collect 25 litres of water from our server room air conditioners in a day and a half, so we’ll be rolling this out to the other 80 air con units in the building, collecting all that water as well.
  • This water is currently being used for washing our floors and wiping desks. We’ll use the additional water to wash the dishes and use it for other general office purposes, further reducing our use of municipal water.

Limiting toilet flushing volume

  • We have 12 toilets across the 3 floors in our building. We’ve reduced the amount of water needed for each flush by 1.5 litres by putting displacement objects in the toilet cisterns.

Waterless sanitation

  • Each bathroom has a supply of waterless hand cleaner so people don’t need to use water to wash their hands.

Limited water flow in taps

  • We’ve added aerators to all our taps, reducing the water flow to 2 litres a minute.

Water Sourcing

At Open Box we have the advantage of being our own landlord, and so we have the flexibility to quickly implement alternative water sources to the municipal water supply. We have already installed a wellpoint to tap into groundwater, which is currently being tested. This water will be filtered for both plumbing and drinking use. The plan is to be up and running within two months, which is before the predicted date when the regular water supply will be cut off. This date is called Day Zero, and so far fortunately keeps moving out, as our collective water saving efforts as a city make a difference.

We continue to educate ourselves about water use

So, in summary, along with the rest of the city, we are applying many creative ideas to use water wisely to save water in the first instance. Then we are also ensuring we have a viable source of safe water if Day Zero arrives. And as a team we continue to educate ourselves about water use and initiatives that we can all implement both at work and home.

So yes, the situation is serious. But we are working hard to put all the contingency plans in place to deal with the worst case scenario, ensure our people are looked after, and that you continue to receive the same level of service and attention you are used to.

If you have any questions about this please feel free to reach out to me.


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