Monday, 06 December 2021

Water Tanks, Aesthetics and The Changing Landscape of South Africa

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Today in SA a water tank is a necessity for most businesses. Tanks dot our landscape from urban backyards to corporate rooftops, hospitals to business parks and increasingly the landscape of our countryside.

With a predicted 17% gap between demand and availability of water supply by 2030 predicted by the South Africa Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN), there is little doubt that any new architectural development needs to be built to be self-sustained, at least, in terms of their non-potable water requirements.

Although unanimously an essential aspect of our future buildings, water tanks remain a life-saving eyesore for those who can afford their initial cost.

We ask the question is aesthetics important and what is its impact on us as the inhabitants of the spaces around these tanks?

As developers move to incorporate water tanks into residential homes, game lodges, eco estates and even corporates, the value of the entire project becomes intertwined with the aesthetic beauty of the project. Just like architecture needs to blend in seamlessly with the landscape, so too should the life providing water tanks of the buildings. Tanks are becoming available in an increasing variety of shapes, sizes, colours, materials and can be disguised with magnificently beautiful screens or murals to be turned into a work of art.

However, blending these colossal structures into their surroundings provides its own challenges such as being limited by what materials can be used, the additional cost of the aesthetics and having to ensure the water can still be stored safely.

In the case that artful concealment is not an option, then can the space be used to actively add to the landscape in which it sits?

Leading manufacturers Abeco Tanks are not only creating ways to democratise access to water but to use the tanks themselves as a sustainable secondary income source for the hundreds of terminally ill and elderly inhabitants of the Alexandra township.

In partnership with the remarkable Grace Marutlulle, The City of Johannesburg and Johannesburg Development Agency, Abeco recently supplied a 152 Killolitre water tank on a 30-metre stand to the new Alex Hospice and Rehabilitation Centre development. By raising the 52-ton tank up 30 meters the Abeco team was able to use gravity to help solve the institution’s water pressure challenges and ensure the facility has stored water in case of emergencies such as fire without relying on electricity.

Whilst a life-changing achievement for the community, the sustainability of the running costs will become more important than the City of Johannesburg’s initial investment of  R80 million if this beacon of hope is to stand for generations to come.

To help raise these funds the hospice is cleverly turning to advertising that can wrap around the sky-high Abeco water tank to create an opportunity to fundraise monthly costs.

The Alexander water tank has come to be a landmark that symbolises a fairer, more sustainable kind of collaboration between institutions like Hospice, our Government and big corporate. Water is now a commodity we must treasure, and the tanks can be so much more than simply a storage vehicle.

When we design the landmarks of our futures, architects will need to go beyond designing mere buildings to designing entire self-contained ecosystems that can generate, distribute, recycle resources and empower their inhabitants. The Abeco tank in Alexandra is a great example of this approach to building a brighter future. As a landmark, it is changing the way we resolve issues of sustainable income, hope and dignity in South Africa through prioritising sustainable access to water, ecologically sound building practices and economic interventions that have a ripple effect into the cultures of their communities.

For more information go towww.abecotanks.co.za or call +27 (0)11 616 7999

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About Abeco
Abeco Tanks is the World’s First Bank for the Business of Water, trusted for nearly 40 years to protect against water scarcity. The company’s steel water storage tanks are found in over 35 countries across the globe including Africa, Central America and the Middle East. Abeco is a private, family owned business together with equity stakeholder and funding partners, Investec Private Capital and Global Capital empowerment fund.

With its 269,000 square foot manufacturing facility in South Africa, and hundreds of employees Abeco has erected more water tanks than any other company in Southern Africa, making it the definitive leader in water storage solutions.

Blue chip clients include Anglo American, Sasol, Chevron, FNB, BP, JP Morgan, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline and Investec.

About Mannie Ramos Jnr.
COO Abeco Tanks | Water Continuity Activist | Growth Driver

Mannie’s passion is to reduce the negative impact of water scarcity on the world.  As the COO of the leading water tank manufacturer Abeco Tanks, he is able to fulfill this passion by providing continuity of water for communities, governments and businesses.

After a successful international finance career working in Europe, Middle East and America, Mannie returned to South Africa armed with a strong track-record, an MBA from Henley Business School and invaluable multinational experience.

His mandate was to bring his wealth of experience, strong leadership skills and finance acumen to take Abeco to the next level of its growth.

Abeco Tanks has been in business for almost 40 years building steel water storage tanks and has grown into the definitive leader in over 35 countries in Africa, Central America and the Middle East. The company is backed up by equity stakeholder and funding partner Investec Private Capital.

Mannie spearheaded the innovative brand positioning of Abeco as ‘the world’s first bank for the business of water’, which sets the company apart from its competitors. Water tanks known as ‘water banks’ act as a savings account for water so that people and organisations have the water they need to keep operating, even in times of water scarcity.

It is this kind of innovative and ‘out the box’ thinking that makes Mannie an inspiring

leader with the ability to achieve great results and transform companies. He thrives on taking calculated risks while having a strong understanding of the trade-off between risk and return. Mannie’s excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills, makes him an influential board level executive.

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