Talbot News

Securing water, industry’s ultimate multi-tasker


You’d be hard pressed to think of any industry or production process that doesn’t – in some way – rely on water. Whether we’re talking about electronics, food processing, hospitality, textiles, mining, cosmetics, power production or automotives, each one of these sectors needs water to survive.

In the same way that water sustains life, it sustains industry and economies.

A recent article by the World Economic Forum, Liquid asset: why we won’t solve the climate crisis without fixing water, defines this acutely undervalued resource as the earth’s ‘bloodstream’ and ‘regenerative force’.

So how does industry as a collective build resilience for the long term, and not just against the kind of climate-driven drought we’ve seen recently in many parts of the world.

Similarly, while in many parts of South Africa, dams and rivers are swollen, manufacturers and processing plants find themselves ‘water stressed’. We’re seeing first-hand a lack of reliable water supply due to crumbling or woefully inadequate water infrastructure that’s either poorly maintained (or not maintained at all) is cutting off companies’ ‘bloodstreams’ and impacting their production and bottom line

Water is the ultimate multi-tasker at many industrial sites. It’s used to fabricate, process, wash, dilute, boil, cool, or transport a product. And without it, all this stops.

After numerous client engagements over the last few weeks, it’s evident how issues such as poor incoming water quality and inconsistent supply, or both are affecting them.

I’ve spoken to an FMCG company looking for solutions to bolster water security at five sites across the country, a client in pharmaceuticals that’s struggling with sub-standard water quality, and a miner that’s trying to resolve its security of supply issues.

The truth is, industry is starting to look at water in the same way as it does power. The problem is that with energy, you can find alternatives like solar, biofuels, gas or diesel – you can’t make water.

But there are local solutions to maximise the water we do have and to reduce the exposure to risk associated with of a variable or tainted municipal supply.

Modern water recovery facilities put as much as 75% of input water back into the process, and through treatment, recovery and reuse, companies can maintain almost full control over the water that feeds their factories.

National Water Week’s theme in 2023 is ‘Accelerating Change’, and companies have it within their grasp to do just this. They just need to know the best people for the job. Let us tell you how.

Perina Bridgmohan is associate director of optimisation and management at Talbot, a South African sustainable water solutions provider. She has a BSc Honours and Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Bridgmohan oversees water operations – from source to discharge – with special focus on treatment, reuse and recovery.

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