Taking into account South Africa's status as a water-scarce region, Saint-Gobain has been reviewing the water consumption patterns and levels of its operations in the country, including that of its Brakpan plant.
After assessing different options, management at Brakpan decided to reduce reliance on municipal water by sinking a borehole and building a two-million litre capacity reservoir.
“The project was a big investment, but has proven its worth,” says Kurt Van Schoor, continuous improvement manager. “The system works well and our production will be secure in most emergencies. We have no firefighting concerns and, more importantly, there are clear financial benefits.”
75% of the reservoir is dedicated to production, while the other quarter is for firefighting purposes only. It is kept to maximum capacity via a combination of municipal water, rainwater and borehole water. A physical barrier makes sure that the firefighting water cannot be used for production.
As a result, the Brakpan plant self-supplies at least 30% of its water requirements, reducing its reliance on municipal water and ensuring continuous production.