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South African property developer Growthpoint Property has taken its first commercial property off the municipal water grid.

The District Building in Cape Town was consuming an aggregate 45,000 ℓ/d of water, the property firm said on Thursday.

Reporting on the story, Engineering News noted: “The building, which has seven floors and five basement levels with 18,721 m2 of lettable area accommodating 25 businesses, is now using a naturally occurring underground mountain spring that flows to the building’s basement and is provided at the same rate as the municipal water.

“Some 140,000 ℓ/d of water flows naturally through the sump and the building’s new filtration plant, located in its own sterile glass-fronted room in the basement, has been designed to clean the entire flow.”

“It is incredibly frustrating to have a sustainable alternative water source that has to be flushed down the drain because it is not safe to drink. So, we challenged ourselves to find a way to use the sump to provide drinking water that is completely safe for human consumption for the entire building,” said Growthpoint’s regional asset manager for the Western Cape, Timothy Irvine.

The District is the first of a number of buildings that Growthpoint intends to take off the municipal water grid, with plans to convert the water source of its 200 on Main property next.

“By taking The District and other commercial buildings off the water grid, and substituting municipal water with a safe and sustainable alternative source of drinking water, we are taking pressure off the City’s potable water reserves, adding to the resilience of the City’s water system, and contributing positively to the environment,” Irvine said.

“Net-zero water initiatives are an important part of Growthpoint’s journey as it strives to make all its new developments net-zero by 2030,” he added.

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