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Teniqua Enviro Tip 2

Water and how Teniqua manages it

Rainwater supplies about 40% of our water and 60 % comes from the Outeniqua mountains river system.

Rainwater Harvesting:

For every mm of rain, a square meter catches 1 liter. Teniqua has approximately 800 m² of suitable rooves, therefore for every mm of rain we should manage to collect around 800 liters.

There are several factors that can affect the catchment:

  1. The gutters need to be clear of debris otherwise the water backs up and flows over the gutters
  2. There must be leaf catchers before all the catchment tanks
  3. Gutters need to be as watertight as possible

As we are in a dense forest environment, we need to clean our gutters on a weekly basis. Monkeys love to sit on the roof tops and shout the odds. While they focus on hurling abuse at us, they tend to break the gutters which need to be repaired. The leaf catchers fill up with debris and need to be cleaned before and while it is raining otherwise, we lose too much water. The roofs need to be brushed down periodically to remove dust and forest biproducts (AKA bird poop).

We have 3 catchment areas, the water is pumped from each area to a central reservoir which can hold 130 000 liters, we circulate this water through a sand filter 3 hours per day.

                    Tannin water from the river     The same water after being treated

Purifying River Water:
We pump water 800 m up from the Karatara River to a reservoir, this river forms part of the Outeniqua catchment system. It contains tannins, in our case only humic acid, which is mainly made from decaying plants. Tannins are used in making immune system remedies and gives the water its iconic cola-colored look.

We run the river water through our water plant which consists of the following stages:

From the reservoir to the 5000 l holding tank, it passes through

  1. A disk filter
  2. A sieve filter

In the holding tank,

  1. An ozone generator assists with getting rid of unwanted bacteria.

The water is then pumped to the water plant, where it is passed through

  1. A 32 mm sieve filter
  2. A 25 mm sieve filter
  3. A multimedia filter
  4. A carbon filter
  5. A tannin extraction filter
  6. A 5-micron filter
  7. A carbon filter
  8. A 1-micron filter
  9. 4 Reverse Osmosis membranes

Water is then pumped to the main holding tank where the rainwater is stored

  1. Circulated for 3 hours a day and passed through a sand filter
  2. A 40 mm sieve filter
  3. A 10-micron filter

Clean water, using zero chemicals is piped to a tap in your Treetop Suite.

Although no chemicals are used to make the water clean, we do generate a lot of “waste” water which we pump to the toilet tank and use for watering the gardens around reception. This water is very high in tannins and is fantastic for plants, however, the toilet water is brown and tends to stain the toilets.

Maintenance on this system is rather high, the filters need to be cleaned on a weekly basis and we need to backwash the large filters twice a week, the “waste” water generated from the backwashing goes through a wetland filter into a tilapia breeding dam, these fish attract water birds and reptiles to the area.

During rainy periods we have no need to run the water plant, however, we still filter and circulate the water.

Wastewater – we hate wasting water at Teniqua. We only use certified eco-friendly washing products, so our laundry water is also run through the wetland filter and into our tilapia dam. The toilet wastewater goes to septic tanks which contain bacteria that eat the solids, the wastewater then goes to a soak-away pit which waters the forest. (before you ask – none of our soak-aways are close to any freshwater source). The septic tank system doesn’t always work as planned as some guests tend to forget we have septic tank systems and we have fished out some very interesting articles from the tanks…… Every five years we get the “honey-sucker” in to empty the septic tanks and we start the process again.

Used bath and shower water is directed to pipes with holes in them that run around each Treetop Suite.

Sink water goes through a grease trap which then feeds into the used bath and shower pipes.

Our water program is just another method we use to help keep our forest healthy and thriving

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