Dam levels are reaching critically low levels and the City of Windhoek has warned residents to reduce their water consumption by at least 30%.
Meatco has taken the initiative of setting up a proactive water committee that gives staff guidelines on effective water use, Windhoek Plant Manager Clarence Zamuee said. “It is vital to keep coming up with innovative mechanisms to save water and to always note the small ideas that culminate in water savings for Meatco.”
As a business, we continuously look at ways to reduce our water consumption. A practice like deep cleaning – a type of washing where food contact areas in the abattoirs are cleaned with excessive amounts of water – was identified as major consumer of water. While it is a critical hygienic process, we are currently reviewing how efficiently water is used here.
Over the years Meatco has also replaced most of its grass with interlocks at both the Windhoek and Okahandja offices.
Since 2011, Meatco has put various water saving measures in place and we continue to investigate other ways to increase savings. Our target is to save up to 50% of water per day – a goal that is managed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Meatco’s water committee comprises managers, operations staff and the communications department who are fully committed to continually find ways to invest in the future of the industry and the economy as a whole, by ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability. This is achieved by informing staff about the value of water, our most precious natural resource, and of course implementing various strategies to proactively save water. These water saving strategies are not simply quick fix solutions but are seen as long-term initiatives.
Cleaning is the activity that uses the most water. Whether we slaughter one animal or 100 head of cattle, the water consumption remains the same. Therefore, we decided to close one of our plants and run production at full capacity. Windhoek closed from September 2015 until end January 2016, and upon reopening in February, Okahandja was closed and will likely remain so until the end of the year.
Windhoek residents use about 25 million cubic metres of water a year which comes mainly from the Swakoppoort, Von Bach and Omatako storage dams. The city also gets about 20% of its water from the Goreangab Water Reclamation Plant, groundwater sources and Berg Aukas near Grootfontein.
Meatco’s Windhoek abattoir uses only 1.29% of this total volume every year, while the Northern Industry, which includes other businesses like Namibian Breweries, Coca-Cola and Nakara, uses less than 9% of the 25.528 mm3.
Meatco’s water committee urges employees to stay clear of using high-pressure pipes or nozzles, as this consumes a lot of water. They should rather use pipes that operate with less water but clean just as effectively.
Why is it important?
• With no inflow in the dams and no water saving = Dams will run dry by August 2016. Boreholes in Windhoek can only supply 36% of the city’s total demand.
• With no inflow in the dams and with a 15% water saving = Dams will run dry by November 2016. Boreholes in Windhoek can only supply 36% of the city’s total demand.
• With no inflow in the dams and a 15% water saving + 15% additional supply from other sources (Berg Aukas, Kombat, increased Windhoek aquifer supply) = Dams will run dry by April 2017. Additional supply can only provide 68% of Windhoek’s total demand.
Most of the larger industries have water and energy savings included in their Key Performance Areas, as it is an expense that can and must be controlled. However, in many cases any further limitations may have a negative impact to production capacity. For example, in Meatco’s case, we have to comply with EU hygiene rules and regulations.