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Lian van Wyk

Eendrag, despite the severe South African drought, has one of the best-looking quads around. Green grass and luscious trees make the residence’s inner space look like something entirely unrelated to the parched world outside.What is the secret to this isolated utopia? Simple – greywater.

By now, it is safe to say that everyone on campus has at least heard of greywater. It seems to be the solution to lowering the strain on municipal drinking water reserves. Eendrag seemingly figured out the inner workings of this water-efficient system.

“We collect about 8 000 litres of water per day to use for irrigation for our quad,” said Willem Rautenbach, prim of Eendrag. “That’s 8 000 litres saved from flowing down the drain.”

Eendrag has been benefiting from their greywater system since 2017. After realising that the drought was here to stay, Albert van Rensburg, then a member of the House Committee (HK), approached the University with an initiative to install a greywater system at Eendrag.

The idea was approved and Eendrag became the first residence on campus with their own greywater system. Four strategically-place 1 000 litre tanks can be seen positioned in Eendrag’s quad. The tanks collect water from 36 of Eendrag’s showers.

When full, a pump is used to distribute the water to areas of necessity through hose pipes connected to the tanks. According to Rautenbach, the system costs about R75 000.

“The University liked the idea. They had no reluctance in giving us the money we needed,” he said.

For the purposes of tank maintenance and the moving of hosepipes, a “Quad Committee” was appointed.

“We have a lot of guys who are passionate about the quad,” said Rautenbach. “They move the pipes and clean the filters, all the while equipping themselves with the skills to deal with systems like these.”

Rautenbach said that the University will have to close when the taps run dry.

“It just won’t be possible to keep the whole thing afloat. A system like this at every residence might buy us a bit more time.”

It seems like more residences are propelled into action by the seriousness of the crisis, with Simosberg and Nerina already reaping the benefits of their own greywater systems.

The Eendrag template seems to be a way forward for all residences surrounding campus.

Photo: Lian van Wyk

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