Where we are based, in Cape Town South Africa, water is now a critical resource and in 2018 the city nearly exhausted its dam's supply. Our approach to water solutions goes further than simply installing a water tank. We look at the whole picture and ensure every drop is used optimally. We seek to design and build systems that meet on-site water needs and at the same time support a healthy hydrological balance going forward.
We Start By Asking
- What is the “water budget”? Ie. What do we need water for and how much? What is the vision for the site?
- How much are we able to sustainably harvest and store?
- How we can return water and store it, unpolluted, in the ground around us?
- Can we use ecosystem services (soil, gravity & wetlands) to help us move and clean our water instead of using technology that uses electricity, oil and that will eventually break and need replacement?
- How can we limit our water storage requirements using greywater recycling and passive harvesting of stormwater run-off? (Passive harvesting is the practice of spreading and sinking water run-off back into the water table.)
- What is the most efficient way to irrigate a productive garden and how can we improve the soil so that it holds water for longer?
Rainwater Harvesting & Rooftop Catchment
1mm of rain equates to 1 litre of storable water. In Cape Town, this means a 125sqm roof can harvest up to 65 000 litres of water a year (based on ave. of 520mm per year). We are experts at designing water harvesting systems. Whether it is simply installing one tank or designing complex systems that can cater for a large demand off-grid water supply. We assess the suitability of a system in each unique context and help with placement, filtration, and choices around water storage size.
Additionally, we design low-tech, easily maintained systems to filter water and provide automated municipal backup that kicks in when your tanks run dry.
We always have the technical & the aesthetic in mind when designing water systems. (Right) rainQueen corrugated tanks are a beautiful option to seamlessly integrate sustainable solutions with architectural detail.
Grey Water Solutions
Greywater is the water that comes from showers, baths, washing machines, and bathroom sinks. It is water that is no longer potable but suitable for reuse and recycling in a myriad of ways. Blackwater is the water that comes from kitchen sinks and toilets. *
We integrate grey water solutions that range from simple washing machines to landscape systems to fully automated filtration and irrigation systems to beautiful living wetlands. They all have pros and cons and different contexts in which they are best applied and we have tried them all.
* Black Water can be reused and recycled through biodigestors and other technologies.
Constructed wetlands are a beautiful and functional way to deal with greywater but just one of MANY options according to the need and context.
Passive Water Harvesting
Passive water harvesting is the science of channeling water through terraces, water-infiltration swales, ponds, and rain gardens in such a way that you slow it spread it out, and allow it to sink into the soil. If the soil is healthy and well mulched. The water is essentially “stored” in the ground. A giant, free water tank!
Spread, sink and store. This is the motto and primary focuses of any sustainable landscape water solution. In urban areas, 85% of rainfall generally ends up rushing down cement and tarred covered surfaces and into storm drains when it should be ending up where it is desperately needed. In the soil.
It is a very simple principle on one level but requires sound knowledge and observation of soil, hydrology, and a plant's water needs. Whether it is a small urban garden or a large-acre rural landscape we can design storm-water management and passive water harvesting plan that will make your landscape thrive.
Before and after illustrating how the overflow from the rainwater tanks is fed into a swale (trench). The excavated swale was filled with wood chips to turn it into a garden path, you wouldn't even know it was there. Now no water run-off leaves this property.
Borehole & Rain Water Filtration
Whether you are looking for completely potable water or just irrigation water, filtration is almost always needed to some degree. We offer solutions and installation of filtration systems that are simple, cost-effective, and fit for purpose. We design filtration/treatment systems that do not use chemicals that will poison your family and your soil life and are low maintenance requiring no consumables that need to be constantly topped up.
If one is looking to go 100% off-grid water filtration is an integral part of the whole system design that is considered alongside, irrigation, power consumption, and water harvesting design.
We design and integrate water filtration systems that consider power consumption, consumables, and chlorine-free water.