In 2007, Spier installed a pioneering treatment plant that recycles 100% of its wastewater, treating it using only environmentally friendly methodology. The clean water is then used to irrigate the garden and grounds. It would take a river 350km to purify what the wastewater treatment plant can do in one day, and it can process up to a million litres of wastewater at any given time.
“Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in the Winelands,” says Spier’s sustainability director, Heidi Newton-King. “This award highlights our efforts in working towards a water-secure future, as we aim to minimise our consumption of water from external sources such as the Theewaterskloof dam and the municipality.”
A holistic approach
The recycling of wastewater is just one element of Spier’s holistic approach to water. Over the past decade, thirsty aliens have been removed, and replaced by more than 53,000 water-wise indigenous plants. Various water-saving interventions in Spier’s winery ensures that only 1.96L of water used to make 1L – significantly less than 5.6L average consumed by other similar-sized wineries.
Spier’s hotel and conferencing facilities also have water-saving devices such as low-flow taps and shower heads which were installed as part of its commitment to reducing municipal water consumption by 50% from 2009 levels.
In this together
Newton-King stresses the importance of collaboration when approaching water issues.
“Water scarcity and quality affects the entire Stellenbosch region, and it is only through working together with stakeholders including government, the community and other businesses that can we achieve a meaningful positive impact,” she says. “Working beyond our borders on these issues is critical. It is through these working partnerships that we can collectively achieve more.'
It is this stance that resulted in Spier co-chairing the Stellenbosch River Collaborative (SRC), which launched in late 2013. This group of likeminded organisations and people is committed to improving the water quality of the rivers in the Eerste River Catchment. Their aim is to develop a collaborative governance response to the water quality issues and the environment in the catchment.