Since Meatco realises the importance of saving water, the corporation has saved 30% of water since 2011 and other initiatives are in place to save even more.
To survive the current water crisis, residents and businesses in Windhoek have to save up to 25% of water every day. If Namibians do not use water sparingly, a shortage is expected as from August 2016.
One of the most effective tools to save, is the measuring of water use – a gauge that continues to be effective. Since 2011, practices such as the deep cleaning (a type of washing where food contact areas in the abattoirs are thoroughly cleaned with excessive amounts of water) have been phased out. Also, through the years, Meatco has replaced most of the grass at the Windhoek and Okahandja offices with interlocks.
Another initiative that was discussed by Meatco’s water committee was that when security guards do their rounds every day, they should check for leaking taps. In addition, clerks must ensure that this is done at all Meatco offices. If any taps are leaking, it must be fixed right away. With these small steps, huge amounts of water can be saved, bringing Meatco one step closer to helping the City of Windhoek avoid water shortages next year.
The committee also discussed measures on how water can be saved when cattle are washed. One suggestion is to keep the water in the turf that remains when all the cattle have had something to drink. Water can be saved by using the same water for the next scheduled slaughter by covering the turfs, thus preventing it from becoming undrinkable.
Meatco’s water committee urged staff to refrain from using high pressure pipes or nozzles, as this consumes a lot of water. The use of pipes with many holes that operate with less water but clean just as effectively, was suggested. The committee agreed with this point, saying it should be implement as soon as possible.
Another place to save water is in the showers. “Usage needs to be measured to determine how much water the showers actually use and how it can be controlled,” Meatco’s Plant Engineer, Tony Holbing said.
“The committee is very worried about the fact that water is only available until August 2016. This is not only a concern for us, but also a nationwide issue. Meatco is constantly aware of saving water,” he said.
Meatco has its own target to save up to 25% of water per day. Both the Windhoek and Okahandja Plant Managers and staff will manage this on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Meatco’s water committee wants to implement all other water saving initiatives as soon as possible.
In addition, careful consideration is being exercised while planning business operations for 2016.
Given the first scenario of having water available until August 2016 based on NamWater predictions, Meatco may consider opening the Windhoek abattoir from February to July, while Okahandja remains closed, with operations in Okahandja only starting in July 2016 and running until the end of the year. This means that both abattoirs would only be open and operational at the same time in July 2016.
The second scenario would be to keep the Okahandja plant open throughout the year for normal operations, and only open the Windhoek abattoir for slaughter and deboning during the peak season from May to July 2016.
The third option we have depending on water crisis projections in the coming year, would be to operate the Windhoek abattoir for deboning only from May to July, while keeping the Okahandja abattoir open all year for slaughter purposes.
These options are still under review as much depends on the rain in the coming months as well as water restrictions that NamWater will impose on business entities going forward.