According to Vodacom, South Africa is a water-scarce country and the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature has identified it as one of the 30 driest countries in the world. Rapidly growing urban areas are placing heavy pressure on water resources and climate change is also having a negative impact on the country's water supplies.

In response to this, Vodacom has implemented water-saving strategies across its property portfolio by introducing water-wise gardens and a rainwater harvest dam on its Midrand campus.

Additional measures include the installation of timed aerator taps, which reduce water flows, waterless urinals, chemical flushing of toilets and waterless hand sanitising stations.

Since 2015, Vodacom has reduced its water usage by over 63% and through the company's enterprise business, it offers Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions to improve water resource management. This is particularly in rural communities, according to the provider.

It forms part of an overall strategy to develop new approaches to addressing challenges faced by managers of water facilities. The IoT technology solutions are set to help drastically reduce water loss by giving municipalities a real-time view of their water infrastructure, says Vodacom.

Faulty meters and accurate consumption can be monitored, maintenance teams can receive instant alerts via email or SMS about faults and corrective action can be taken in a very short time frame. Alerts include the GPS location of the meter, its status, flow rates and consumption.

"As Vodacom, we are not an intensive consumer of water, due to the nature of our business. However, we realise that water is a scarce resource and have therefore implemented various water-saving measures, which have significantly reduced water consumption in South Africa since 2015," says Takalani Netshitenzhe, chief officer for external affairs at Vodacom South Africa. 

"We also encourage our employees and customers to adopt water-efficient practices at home and at work," adds Netshitenzhe. "We have also implemented various water-wise initiatives in communities across the country, including providing Jojo tanks with drinkable water to 23 teacher centres, 50 schools and 12 schools of excellence in the North West, Northern Cape and Free State."

"In addition, Vodacom donated a total of R6.5-million towards disaster relief in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal," Netshitenzhe adds. "At Vodacom, we believe that urgent and sustained action is required to protect and conserve the country's water resources and that business success should not come at a cost to the environment."

"Vodacom's water conservation programmes support our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and, through our commitment to halve our environmental impact, we will help to ensure a sustainable future for all," concludes Netshitenzhe.

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