Bridgiot is a company conceived at the University of Stellenbosch. It initially offered a solution to geyser electricity consumption, but soon realised the product could be tailored to measure water consumption and pinpoint areas where leakages have occurred. The main focus has been schools, as that is where children spend the majority of their time and with the recent water restrictions, it was important to make sure drinking water was not going to waste. After their work with Stellenbosch Primary School, Shoprite partnered with Bridgiot to challenge themselves and other corporate firms to sponsor the Smartwater device and installation in underprivileged schools in the Western Cape. PwC is proud to be involved in this project.
PwC met with Mfuleni High School principal, Mr. Mlotywa, and a Bridgiot representative, on Thursday 12 April for the sponsored installation of Bridgiot’s Smartwater device. Given the water shortage in the Western Cape, saving water is a top priority for PwC, and a way of demonstrating how we’re helping our communities solve important problems and building trust in society by raising awareness.
Mfuleni High School is dedicated to ensuring that its 1 374 students have the tools they need to secure their future. In 2017 the school had a matric pass rate of 80%, and it’s aiming to increase this to 90% in 2018. It has various programmes in place to help students, including extra classes over weekends and during holidays. Their next project is a mountain hike for the matric class to Silvermine Nature Reserve, during which students will learn from motivational speakers on the trail. The school’s efforts to ensure a sustainable future for their students are admirable, which is why PwC didn’t hesitate to sponsor their water-saving device.
Bridgiot’s Smartwater device measures the school’s water usage and alerts the principal via SMS if any leaks or wastage are detected. All readings are done online, making the process simple and effective, with weekly reports sent to the school to enable them to monitor usage. The school currently uses underground water for cleaning and other functions, so as much drinking water as possible is available for the learners.
The PwC office in Cape Town has made several efforts to lower water consumption. The efforts to reduce the office’s water footprint are led by partner Thinus Hamman and the facilities team. It’s not only businesses like laundromats and carwashes that need to be conscious of the impact a drought will have on their day-to-day activities. As a corporate, PwC needs to be able to provide water to staff for different needs, like drinking and sanitization. Some of the measures taken are to turn off all but one of the taps in the restrooms in favour of hand sanitizers; the use of imported biodegradable paper plates, bowls, cups and cutlery to cut down on dishwashing; giving all staff water bottles to save drinkable water etc. Because of these measures, we’ve been able to cut down on the amount of water used in the office on a daily basis without compromising the health or wellbeing of our staff. Our restaurant provider has even changed the menu to incorporate food items that require less water for cooking.
PwC is also working with the City of Cape Town provincial government to make sure that disaster is averted and that all residents will have enough drinkable water during the winter months. The City has implemented the Water Resilience Programme which focuses on water saving initiatives in Cape Town and sourcing alternative means for water supply. PwC supports the programme by sending technical experts in water engineering to help them with evaluations of tenders/proposals. The PwC experts then support the initiatives that are approved.
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