Woolworths is on a mission to cut back on its use of scarce resources, and is encouraging others to do the same – so much so, that some of its staff have gone as far as implementing what they learn at work, at home, impacting not only their household’s bottom-line but saving water along the way.

With National Water Week currently underway until 22 March, Woolworths Good Business Journey (GBJ) ambassador, Byron Green, who monitors the water consumption at the retailer’s Palmyra Junction store in Claremont, Cape Town, is a leading example of how to make water-saving work at home.

The Palmyra Junction store was built from the ground up using state-of-the-art technology to implement a number of efficiency tools that would serve as an example to customers of the successes – and savings – business can achieve through sustainability.

Green says through his work he has learnt to value “every bit of water, in every environment”.

The impact of his efforts have yielded significant results for his household – something Green is able to track year-on-year, after he started capturing data on his household consumption against savings made. 

 “From January 2014 to this January we managed to save R119.36 – or 86% – on our monthly bill and in the process saved 24 kilolitres of water, almost half of our previous water consumption,” Green said.

“The exposure to the water saving culture at Woolworths has had a positive impact on my habits at home. I am now more conscious of my household’s water consumption, and I undertake water-saving initiatives on a daily basis.

“It is important for people to realise that of all the water in the world, only a small percent is fresh water.”


  • Watering the garden before sunrise or after sunset so that the water does not evaporate;
  • Giving the car a regular wipe-down with a dry microfiber cloth so it does not have to be washed often;
  • Always close leaking taps;
  • When taking a shower, and waiting for the water to run warm, capture the cold water in a bucket and use in the garden;
  • Using biodegradable detergent for in dish washers so the chemicals does not pollute the water system; and
  • Being conscious of every drop – a little saving goes a long way.

National Water Week is an important event on the South African calendar, and a critical awareness campaign to help South African’s become more aware of water consumption and scarce resource management in South Africa.

To date, Woolworths has set out to drastically reduce the amount of water it uses, across the continent, and focused on water efficient store, office, distribution centre design and supplier conduct.

The move to sophisticated water monitoring, has revealed a surprising amount of water lost through an extensive matrix of leaks, hidden from view, beneath its stores. Woolworths now works with property developers and landlords, across the continent to repair leaks and improve water billing. 

By the end of 2015, these measures will see relative water use in Woolworths stores cut in half, from a 2007 benchmark.