Water wise warriors in Stellenbosch

  • February 21, 2018

No doubt we've all heard plenty about Cape Town and it's beautiful surrounds experiencing the worst drought in recorded history. Our wine farms have bared the brunt of these long dry spells and little rain, but with some worthy successes throughout. One of them being a more focussed approach to water conservation and sustainability, not only in how water is used in producing their exceptional wines but in all service offerings on the farms as well. Read up on the concerted efforts of some of our partners and how you can best assist when you #visitstellenbosch  

Spier wine estate:

We’d like to join the rest of the hospitality sector and government in assuring you that in spite of the seriousness of the drought, your visit will not be affected and there will be an adequate supply of water available throughout your visit.

At Spier, we have always been committed to conserving water.

 If Day Zero does come into effect, we have implemented various initiatives to ensure that it’s business as usual at Spier:
·      A water filtration plant which can filter 120,000L of borehole water per day will provide water for showers, taps and toilets.

·      There will be plentiful supplies of drinking water – both in bottles and from Spier’s new Water From Air™ machine, which harnesses the atmosphere’s humidity to make up to 1,500L of water per day.

·      Our main swimming pool will remain open as it fills and is maintained through a rain-harvesting system. All courtyard pools are also open for use, as they make use of non-potable water.


Our commitment to conserving water dates back to 2007 when we set ourselves the goal of halving our municipal water consumption. This is constantly monitored and measured (even on a per-guest basis) with the farm constantly exploring ways to improve efficiency and consumption.
We’re seeing major savings: in the last six months, compared to the pre-drought period of July – Dec 2015, the Hotel saved 58% and Conferencing 55% in water usage.
100% of Spier’s black and grey wastewater is recycled by our own eco-friendly treatment plant on the farm. This produces 50 million litres of clean water annually, which is used for flushing in the estate’s busiest washrooms and to irrigate our gardens and lawns.
We have installed 400 water-saving devices on showers, basins and toilets across our farm. These include flush buddies, waterless urinals, aerators and sensor taps. Our Hotel guest rooms have no bath plugs available, we encourage guests to rather shower.
We are aiming for less than 50L per day, per hotel visitor. As part of the FEDHASA Cape Waterwise Pledge we’ve committed to reducing water usage and consumption by 40% over the period of one year.  

Together with you and the good citizens of Cape Town, our water saving-efforts can make a difference.

You can also read more on their waste water treatment plant here.


Jordan Wines:

With “Day Zero” looming, we recognise how precious and limited water supply is in some parts of the country and while we are doing all we can to preserve this precious resource, are pleased that Jordan Wine Estate is self-sustaining and not reliant on municipal supplies for any services.

At Jordan Wine Estate, we are very fortunate to have natural springs and deep underground water resources, as well as dams for irrigating our vineyards, should this be essential. These sources of water make us entirely independent from municipal supplies, and enable us to supply water to maintain the Jordan Restaurant, Bakery at Jordan, winery and Jordan Luxury Suites, as well as limited irrigation for certain vineyards. However, we have always been, and will always continue to be, extremely water-wise.


Years ago, we had the foresight to implement a number of water-saving devices in our cellar, and subsequently use less than half the water that most cellars generally use.

Our gardens are irrigated with recycled, non-potable wastewater. All run-off is caught and channelled into specially constructed dams.

Guests at the Jordan Luxury Suites are informed upon arrival about the critical water situation in the Western Cape. Discreet signs are placed around the suites as non-intrusive reminders to reduce water usage in general by having shorter showers and not over-using water in the basins. Spa treatments are all done in-room with eco-friendly oils that do not leave stains on towels or garments, resulting in less water use for our in-house laundry.

Bath plugs have been removed from all suites but are available from reception should guests require them. Routine daily changes of linen and towels is also discouraged although fresh linen and towels are available on request.

In addition, waterless hand sanitiser has replaced all soap dispensers on the estate, and our filtered, natural spring water, flowing deeply within our 600 million year old granite formations, is made readily available to guests as drinking water.

Photo by @trudyvanrooy


In terms of the vineyards, we pro-actively manage our water in conjunction with data received from our own weather station and only irrigate through a drip-irrigation system which has a 90% system effectiveness. We are very fortunate that the rain received during the growing season was perfectly timed. Our weather station at Jordan Estate recorded over 132 mm of rain during the growing season to date and this enabled us to irrigate less than usual.

September 30.4 mm
October 30.0 mm
November 38.8 mm
December 19 mm
January 14 mm

Through innovative water management techniques, we have enough water to irrigate essential vineyards during verasion (colour change) and are looking forward to our 2018 wines that promise concentration and exceptional quality. We will, as usual, continue to encourage the conservation of water and to do all we can to save this very precious resource.


Remember to tag @stellenboschexperience while out at either of our partners using the hashtag #visitstellenbosch 

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