Gauteng, South Africa’s economic hub is bearing the brunt of water shortages sparked by dropping reservoir levels following a high demand of water.
As taps are running dry, Dr Ferrial Adam, Water and Environment Manager for the Community Action Network (WaterCAN) notes that the major causes of the crisis include ageing infrastructure and inequality.
“We cannot deny that there is an additional element that is affecting people’s access to water and that is, on a local government level and municipal level. You have infrastructure deterioration and that is also leading to people not having sufficient water,” Adam says.
Adding, “There’s also the element of the unequal distribution of water in South Africa. Less than 40% to 45% have taps in their homes.”
To solve the water shortage issue, Boitumelo Nkatlo, BN-Aqua Solutions Founding Director, set up a plant that purifies acidic water disposed by mines. This purified water can be used for drinking and irrigation.
“Our take is that we do have water underground. Millions and millions that we are in a position to take and treat and treat it at an affordable price because we are using waste material to treat this to a drinking stage,” explains Nkatlo.
Sizwe Mavuso, Colsto Founder, came up with a water tank reuse model that could see water preserved by communities particularly in instances where taps run dry easily.
“The innovation was conceptualised around a construction site I used to work at where people do not have water whatsoever and it boiled down to affordability. The great thing about this solution is that we want to harvest water that we already have and that is grey water.” said Mavuso
Greenpeace says that water is a very unevenly distributed resource meaning that millions of South Africans already drink water that was captured in reservoirs in excess of 400km away.
This water insecurity risk is worsened by increasing climate change.