With the SIZA Environmental Standard being recognised as a sustainability standard for water, it is important that all aspects relating to the sustainable and efficient utilisation of water is assessed on the day of the audit and addressed within the audit report. With the standard following an integrated approach towards environmental stewardship, the requirements for water range from undertaking risk assessments and implementing adequate procedures, to monitoring the efficient and sustainable utilisation of water.

As a baseline, it is important that management maintain a deep understanding of the business’s impacts on water and that adequate measures are implemented to prevent the contamination or degradation of water resources above or below ground. To ensure that there is no decrease in water quality, water samples should be taken at least annually and analysed by an accredited laboratory.

In addition to preventing the contamination and degradation of water, the usage of water should be measured and as efficient as it can be. Evidence of registration papers and consumption records for surface and groundwater abstraction should be available for audit purposes. Water efficiency and conservation techniques should be implemented as part of the business’s water management plan and the water-use efficiency (WUE) of the business should be calculated. This entails calculating the litres of water used per kilogram or tonne of fruit produced and should, if possible, be calculated per block/field. The annual WUE is used to establish a baseline for each block/field and can then be used to set and measure realistic targets for water conservation.

The following formula can be used to measure the WUE:

As the efficiency of any production input is measured in metrics, SIZA implemented the Digital Recordkeeping Tool as part of the MySIZA platform to ease the process around the interpretation and monitoring of current management practices. The SIZA Digital Recordkeeping Tool is a monitoring tool that will allow management to capture their production inputs such as water, fuel, electricity, fertilisers, chemicals, and waste each month.

Data entered as part of the tool will be automatically processed into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are measurable values such as water-use efficiency; fuel use efficiency and product used per hectare that illustrate how effectively a company is achieving its goals and objectives.

For more information on the Digital Recordkeeping Tool, please contact Henko Vlok at henko@siza.co.za or call 021 852 8184.