No matter what features a building has, water savings will be effective only if you can convert the users. “People have to change their habits. Reuse cups instead of washing them each time. They have to take responsibility for water wherever they are — at home or at work. “They cannot shower at work instead of at home to ‘save water’ — that defeats the whole purpose. People need to start seeing it as a communal resource, not just their own water bill,” says Groves.
She recommends that large companies abandon hot water in bathrooms altogether so that there is no wastage from run-through. Retrofitting solutions can also include adapting urinals to create waterless versions, with a trap to prevent odours coming up the pipe. They can be cleaned daily with a bucket-flush of water. Groves says that one of the most important things a commercial building user can do is to report any visible water wastage to the facilities manager. The executive director of Spire Property Management Sean Paul says it can be challenging to speedily change water-use habits among employees in an office building. Landlords should implement water-saving methods that remove the responsibility from employees or customers.
The City of Cape Town has put several increasingly stringent measures in place to stem the flow of water usage in residential households. Commercial buildings are required to reduce overall water consumption by 20% or face strict penalties.
“The drought will come to an end; however, the benefits of employing water-saving measures will have a far-reaching beneficial effect for years to come,” says Paul.
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