Glacier Storms River Traverse boasts Dryland’s Water Neutral policy
Monday, 18 July 2016, 10:10
In 2013 Dryland took the decision to ensure that all their events are water neutral and off set their water use by freeing up water through alien vegetation clearing and water course rehabilitation.
SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS - In 2013 when the Southern Cape was in the grip of the worst drought in living memory, Dryland Event Management began implementing steps to ensure their events became ‘water neutral’.
As one of South Africa’s largest event organisers Dryland prides itself on the company’s sustainable approach to both business and the environments within which it operates. The 2016 Glacier Storms River Traverse, sponsored by Glacier by Sanlam, will proudly uphold this legacy of water neutrality and environmental sustainability.
Despite being held in one of the highest rainfall areas of our water scarce country, the Glacier Storms River Traverse, which takes place from the 6th to the 8th of August, draws a significant amount of water from the local environment. According to www.waterwise.co.za, in a water-conscious South African household each individual uses 71 litres of water per day.
With this figure in mind as the amount of water which needed to be off-set per rider, for each day of the event, Dryland Event Management formulated their water neutral policy. Their first water neutral event was the 2013 Cape Pioneer Trek and since 2014 the Glacier Storms River Traverse has been water neutral two.
For the previous two Glacier Storms River Traverse events, an alien vegetation clearing programme was funded by Dryland Event Management and the 2016 event aims to continue the good work. Between September and December 2015 they cleared six hectares of a watercourse, which resulted in the doubling of the river’s flow rate.
Not only does the alien clearing offset the water used during the Glacier Storms River Traverse, it also provides 20 times more water than the event uses. This excess can be used to supply up to 360 local households with water.
Alien, or non-indigenous plant species, tend to be thirstier than the indigenous plants which would otherwise have stood in their stead. Each pine tree, for example, consumes on average 200 litres of water per day. In an area like the Tsitsikamma, where pine forests were once planted for commercial logging, clearing pines and allowing the indigenous coastal forest species to reclaim their erstwhile domains has broader benefits beyond water savings.
Regrowth of coastal forest is vital to the sustainability of the area’s biodiversity; it increases the available habitat for rare and endangered species, like the Cape leopard, and endemic species, like the Knysna lourie.
Glacier by Sanlam echoes this responsible approach. As a business offering a wide range of financial solutions, Glacier believes in the importance of remaining “socially responsible and environmentally conscious.”
As Glacier by Sanlam Marketing Head, Zaida Essop explains the community upliftment and water neutral aims of the Glacier Storms River Traverse align with Glacier’s values. “Although we’re focused on the preservation and creation of wealth, the impact of business on the community and the environment is equally important to us. It’s vital that we make a difference where we can,” says Zaida.