Add property value by being water-wise

Feb 21, 2017 | Local Property

“Research shows that a well-maintained garden can add as much as 20% to the value of one’s property.”

Water restrictions of varying severity are in place in eight of the country’s nine provinces (bar the Northern Cape) in the face of a severe drought. And savvy sellers are seeing an increase in the marketability of their properties that have these solutions. According to Chas Everitt International’s Constantia Upper area specialists Sally Gracie and Di Forster, one of the first things clients ask for is the existence of a borehole. So sellers whose properties have boreholes and well-points or grey-water irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems could be at a decided advantage.

Online searches for water-wise properties (those without lawns, equipped with boreholes, or with small gardens) have skyrocketed, according to head of Gumtree Property Barrie Swart. Swart says home owners can add value by investing in a rainwater-harvesting system: “Even a small two-bedroom home can collect 23,000 litres of water a year at an initial cost of R40,000. A grey-water system costs about R15,000. These investments can cut your bill by 75% and will drive up the value of your property significantly.” Peter Corlett, sales and marketing manager at Borehole Man, concurs: “Given that up to 46% of the water consumption of households with stands of more than 500m2 is used on garden irrigation, a borehole will certainly decrease the demand on the municipal water supply while significantly reducing water bills. We receive more than 80 enquiries a day.”

Are boreholes a big investment?

THE COST: R1,000 to R1,300 per metre drilled. Typical depths in Cape Town range from 20m to 40m. The expense of pumps, pipes and tanks should also be factored in.

THE SAVING: Slightly more than R19,500 if using 1,619kl of borehole water over a three-year period, according to a study in the Journal of the Borehole Water Association of South Africa.

THE OUTCOME: A greywater irrigation system will pay itself off in less than three years, says Alje van Hoorn, co-owner of Aquarista, a greywater garden irrigation and rainwater harvesting system specialist.