All residents and businesses in Cape Town have to cut non-essential municipal water.
Rain or shine, we have reached a point where all consumers must use below 87 litres per day per person. The City has warned businesses to start implementing contingency and alternative water measures in their own operations.
At Villiera Wines we have always taken water recycling and usage seriously. In the cellar, all water use is monitored and recorded. Waste is settled and sent through a marsh area to purify the water before it enters an irrigation dam. Water samples are taken regularly to check on water quality. Water can then be put through a drip irrigation system back into the vineyards.
Most of the vineyard is drip irrigated. Approximately 40ha is dry land as irrigation is not necessary on those soils. Water which comes from the Theewaterskloof dam is blended with up to 400 million litres of drainage water. This is the excess that drains from the vineyards in winter and is stored in seven dams for summer. Vineyard moisture is monitored by neutron probes and we only irrigate when necessary and only an amount which can be used by the vines (no wastage).
In keeping with our sustainable approach and bearing in mind our current water crisis, we have been very busy over the past month installing a rainwater harvesting system. All roof water is now diverted from our roofs through rudimentary filters into our irrigation main lines. At the dams, the water bypasses the pumps and empties into them. Up to 10 July 2017 we have connected 8500 m2 of roof. Our average rainfall is 700mm per year equating to 595,0000 litres per year. Put clearly, each millimeter of rain per m2 surface equates to 1 Ltr of water. If we could replicate and store the water at 36500 other sites in Cape Town and surrounds we would supply all the city’s water requirements for the year.
Bring on net water metering.
Video of Simon Grier telling us about Rainwater Harvesting at Villiera Wines: https://youtu.be/V5i6Otwwlxc