Sustainable Office Water from Air – Department of Environmental Affairs

The Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs leads the way with sustainable office water with 15 new water from air units.

In 1988 the Department of Labour (Government Notice R:1595) made provision for facilities regulations under section 35 of the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act, 1983 (Act 6 of 1983). Section 7a of this regulation states that:

 “…., any commercial organisation that employs staff members is legally obligated to provide drinking water.”

For this reason, should Day Zero ever arrive, all employers would still be legally obligated to provide safe drinking water to all their staff. One organisation that has taken this very seriously is the Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs.


We recently fulfilled an order of 15 units for the Department of Environmental Affairs, in partnership with Saharsa Enterprises. In addition to safeguarding their contractual obligations to their employees, the Department decided to purchase Atmospheric Water Generators as part of their pursuit to minimize their reliance on the municipal water supply.  This was in addition to implementing a black water system designed to recycle grey water for use in their sewage system.

The 15 water from air units were supplied by Waterex Systems in Lebanon and are some of the most energy efficient units available on the market. Waterex has been in the water from air business for more than 10 years and supplies a range of water related systems and equipment. We felt that it would be good to partner with a well-known and trusted distributor that can supply stock and support us and our customers going forward. 

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Waterex M2 units packaged for air shipping.

Although we did not have much time to fulfill this order we found a way to minimize the transport time by more than a month by bringing them in via air. This did push up the transport costs a little, but it meant that we could fulfill the order before the financial year-end deadline set by the Department. We decided to work with Pioneer Freight, one of Cape Town’s most well-established privately owned logistics companies to ensure the goods were transported from Lebanon to Cape Town safely and speedily.

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Units being prepped before delivery.

Once the water from air units arrived they were prepared for delivery. Because we transported them via air, we needed to refill their gas canisters with refrigerant gas. The water from air units use this gas to cool their condensing coils which extract the humidity from the air through the process of condensation. The droplets that form on the condensing coils then run down and collect in a storage container, from where the water is pumped through a range of filters and stored for dispensing.

Once the water from air units were prepped all 15 were carefully packed and delivered to the offices of the Department of Environmental Affairs. The water from air units were placed on all 5 floors of their Supply Chain Management building in Lewellyn street as well as on all 11 floors of their Utilitas building in Dorp Street. Locations that were close to open windows were chosen for each unit in order to optimize water production. The more fresh air the water generators have access to the easier and quicker they can produce water from air.

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Once in place, each water from air unit was carefully checked, prepped and flushed to ensure that each was producing water of the highest quality and taste. Thanks to our one year warranty, should any problems arise with the units, we will mend the problems or replace the unit immediately.

Through the purchasing of Atmospheric Water Generators for all of their offices, the Department of Environmental Affairs has made a solid move towards a more sustainable approach to office water. In the current water-scarce climate in Cape Town this is a wise move. For not only does it help the department to lower their water footprint, it also safeguards them against any legal action should Day Zero ever arrive.


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