Sasol has become the only private institution with a wastewater treatment system to be Green Drop certified. This is revealed in the Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) long-awaited 2022 Green Drop Certification Programme Report, which was published on Friday, 1 April 2022.
The Blue Drop and Green Drop Certification Programmes forms an integral part of the flagship incentive-based regulation system pioneered by the South African Water Sector. Since its inception in 2008 these programmes have sought to align the minimum requirements and best practices into a new Green Drop or Blue Drop standard in order to raise the bar for the management of wastewater and drinking water quality in South Africa.
According to the latest Green Drop report, 995 wastewater networks and treatment works belonging to private and public water services institutions, were subjected to the Green Drop Audit from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. Of these, only 23 wastewater systems scored a minimum of 90% when measured against the Green Drop standards and thus qualified for Green Drop Certification. This is lower than the 60 wastewater systems awarded Green Drop Status in 2013.
“The results indicate that the vast majority of rural municipalities struggle to score more than 50%; only 5% of systems in Free State and Limpopo reached this threshold in comparison of 75% of systems in Gauteng. This coincides with the availability of specialist engineering and scientific skills being more prevalent in the urban municipalities,” the report stated. Sasol’s Sasolburg Operations received an outstanding score of 96 percent, up from 86 percent in 2013 making it the only private sector company to obtain the Green Drop certification.
Sasol Secunda Operations achieved an impressive 89%, coming in at second place in the Private Sector Best Progress Category.
“We rely heavily on water for our processes and consider it a precious resource.” said Sasol’s Dr Sarushen Pillay, Vice President Environmental Sustainability.
“Our water use globally is highly regulated through water use authorisations which we adhere to. We are committed to sustainable water use, and this is further reflected in our support of the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate as a signatory since 2008. We continue to adopt the Mandate’s Water Stewardship Framework in responding to water risks.”
Over the years, Sasol has pressed on with its efforts to responsibly manage its water use particularly in water-scarce areas, and to ensure that the quality of the catchment areas does not deteriorate.
Sasol has implemented the following community projects related to water since 2017:
- In Secunda, we continued to support the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality by investing approximately R180 million in water and sanitation infrastructure projects in recent years. This includes completing two sewer pump-stations in Kinross, which we’ve handed to the local local government.
- In Sasolburg, we continued to support the Metsimaholo Local Municipality through the following projects:
- Installation of water-saving devices and monitoring systems in schools.
- Contracting plumbers and water warriors to carry out basic leak repairs at over 28 schools and 10 000 homes in Zamdela.
- Our Mining operations implemented the following projects in 2021:
- Upgraded the Greylingstad sewer and wastewater treatment works.
- Built a water pipeline from eMbalenhle to Charl Cilliers to provide the Charl Cilliers community with better access to water.
- Rehabilitated bridges in Polar Township near Ogies in Mpumalanga. River water use decreased from 115,5 million m³ in 2020 to 108,6 million m³ in 2021 mainly due to divestment of assets in the United States and the joint venture partner being responsible for reporting on river water use.
- Potable water use has increased from 12,9 million m³ to 13,4 million m³ which is attributed mainly to an increase in demand for potable water in Secunda for industrial purposes to offset a deterioration in river water quality.
- Other water use has increased slightly by 4% from 2020.
- Our global water demand decreased by 3% in 2021 due to divestment of the United States assets.
Demand for water by all users from the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), which is the main supplier of water for Sasol, continues to outstrip supply. As a result, Sasol has introduced the following mitigation actions:
- Tracking the performance of the IVRS
- Maintaining relationships with the operators of water pumping transfer stations to obtain early warning signs of critical water supply challenges.
- Providing technical support and inputs to Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on critical water supply pump stations.
- Escalating challenges through formal communication to the relevant personnel within DWS.
- Engaging with other stakeholders such as Eskom and Rand Water to identify catchment water challenges which are suitable for collective response.
- Supporting the partnership between the Water Research Commission and Rhodes University to address water quality challenges in the Vaal river catchment.
- Supporting the South African Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN), an engagement platform where the private, public and civil society partners collaborate to close the water gap facing the country.
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