Water recovery offers huge cost and reputation benefits

22 May 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914657

Water & Effluent Management

WITH the price of water to industry soaring and the quality of supply falling, it’s making increasing sense for businesses to seek out innovative measure, both technological and financial, to ensure a continued supply, curtail costs and mitigate risks.

That was the message to emerge from a seminar hosted in Durban this week by Pietermaritzburg-based global water and wastewater company, Talbot & Talbot.

“We recently celebrated 30 years in business and there’s never been more of a need for the services we offer,” Chief Executive Officer Carl Haycock told delegates from leading KwaZulu-Natal-based firms.

“The water landscape is changing. Government and municipalities want to increase revenue and one of the ways they’re doing this is through increasing tariffs on water and wastewater. In addition, increasingly onerous compliance measures are in the pipeline.

“We’ve reached an inflection point where it now makes sense to look at water recovery and associated solutions. The technology is now at a stage where it can pay for itself,” he said.

Talbot & Talbot Transaction Economist, Mike Smith, demonstrated three cases studies – fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), industrial and water recovery – in which significant savings were realised, even assuming a conservative escalation in water costs of 10 percent.

The FMCG project was particularly impressive, generating a saving of R960 million at a cost of R150 million. The savings soared to R1.7 billion when an escalation of 16 percent in water costs was factored in.

Smith also outlined a range a financing models ranging from self-financed purchase to lease and rental options. He said the build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT/PPA), whereby Talbot & Talbot co-owns and operates plant with the client, was becoming increasingly popular as it presented opportunities to secure funding from a number of sources at no cost to the client.

“It’s money the client doesn’t have to borrow themselves. They only pay for performance, so the risk is low. The onus is on us to perform.”

Apart from the cost savings, sustainability was another important factor for businesses to consider when looking at water recovery options. “It’s not just feel-good but increasingly a reputational issue. While water reuse is now sometimes frowned upon, in a few years it will be a necessity,” Smith said.

Haycock concurred, saying there were significant reputational benefits to organisations who took prompt action on water reduction and treatment. “Those who act now will get the kudos for being early movers in this field. Those who come late to the party will be criticised for not acting quickly enough and will end up paying a premium to install these solutions.”

The seminar was the first in a series to be held across the country over the next few months as part of Talbot & Talbot’s 30th anniversary celebrations. In that time, it has grown to employ more than 140 people who have delivered specialised water and wastewater projects and advice across 25 African countries, the Indian Ocean islands, Australasia and eastern Europe.

Thesele Group, a 100% black-owned investment holding company, recently acquired a 35% stake in the business.

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