Monday, 01 February 2021

Risky Business - Is Water Part of Your Business Risk Assessment?

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It is not any secret that business and risk go hand in hand. Threats such as IT Security and data theft and critical infrastructure blackouts are unfortunately not new to the South African business owner and are set to be on the rise in 2021. However, there is one element that is so fundamental to the survival of our businesses that we often fail to even think of it.

It encompasses all three main risk factors – namely business interruption, climate change and changes to legislation – and without it, entire industries are crippled, labour forces suffer, and ultimately bottom lines evaporate. And that is water.

Business leaders plan to avert the biggest risks that could impact their company, but as COO of Abeco Tanks, Mannie Ramos Jnr observes, water is rarely on the risk list.

After a tumultuous 2020 proved how fundamental being able to wash our hands is to our health, it is clear that water would be on our risk list for 2021 if businesses are to successfully safeguard their futures. 

Water is also innately and intricately intertwined with another risk factor, that is infrastructure. “As South African businesses owners you would be hard-pressed to not recognize the shortcomings of our electrical infrastructure as demonstrated by load shedding,” says Ramos Jnr. “When faced with this problem, companies have rightly invested in generators or solar power.” 

Water, however, is more problematic because we cannot simply make it, as we do by burning fuel to create electricity in the case of a generator. So, what about when we run out of water? How can we ensure continuity of service and plan for these eventualities when there is a water outage?

Here are the top considerations for your risk list:

Water-sparing is not water saving

When you save water, you are only really using less water not saving it.  Whilst being conscious of water scarcity and making improvements such as waterwise taps, rain harvesting tanks or eco-friendly toilets is good, being conscious about wastage doesn’t help the problem of water interruption. If there is no water, then your business is out of water until it rains again to fill the dams. 

Businesses must plan to have infrastructure in place to be able to build up a reserve of water. Any business worth its salt knows that saving up your hard-earned business profits to reinvest in the business is crucial, and so is the case with water. By having tanks with stored water you can safeguard against future shortages. 

New builds and properties

Prevention is always better than the cure and Mannie urges all architects and designers to consider water and its role in businesses when creating new buildings. All new builds should allow for rainwater harvesting and consider a tank to easily siphon water off the roof or catch rainwater to be diverted to flush toilets, water gardens and even provide water for animals. Although rainwater is not potable (not safe for human consumption) it has the potential to drastically decrease running costs and prevent potential interruption of business in the case of extended drought. 

Plan to use water sparing devices

Modifying your premises to have stop-start taps, faucet aerators and water-saving toilets will all help to decrease the amount of water you need. 

Inspect your infrastructure

Routinely checking your plumbing for leaks will make sure you are not using water unnecessarily. Additionally, checking your water sprinklers regularly is not only pivotal to not wasting water, but to the safety of your employees as some municipal pipes have such low water pressure that if a fire were to break out, the pressure from the pipe would be too little to extinguish the fire.  

Know how much water you need

Before you can install adequate water tanks to save the water you need, you need to know how much water in total your business needs to be optimally operational. You also need to determine how long your business can operate with reduced water supplies and remain profitable if you are to properly calculate the amount you need to store. 

What is the cost to your business daily if there is no water? 

Working out the daily cost will help you to determine the size of the risk running out of water poses to you which can be a great guiding factor when budgeting for water storage tanks. Knowing this will enable you to weigh the cost of a water storage tank, the installation and the maintenance versus the potential financial loss not having one will cause.     

A water storage tank provides a business with the surety that they will be able to continue should a drought become critical. The water in these tanks must be used, as water can become stagnant if not kept moving. Meaning not only can the tank help in crisis situations, but businesses can use the water from the tank for the daily operations and simply top it up with municipal water when it is necessary.  

It is strange when you put it into perspective how little attention we pay to water considering how essential it is to our livelihood. Water scarcity is a global issue and yet we still do very little to plan for a future without this resource. As individuals, companies, manufacturers, and farmers it has become clear that the Government cannot provide us with all the water we so desperately need without our help.  

Water will have to be on the risk agenda in 2021, not only to ensure our health but to safeguard our business from the negative impact of business interruption. And though it may seem like a drop in the ocean, installing a water tank will help safeguard against drought. An essential move, as according to UNESCO by 2025, 1.6 billion of us will live in water scarce areas, we are left with little choice but to take our future into our hands. 

For more information go to 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.

Media Contacts: GET PUBLISHED

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