One out of three schools in South Africa doesn’t have access to safe drinking water and clean sanitation. This World Water Day, commemorated on 22 March, two local innovators from The Innovation Hubs’ Climate Innovation Centre SA do their part to improve the water and sanitation standards of local schools.
Children aged six to 18 are most affected and most at risk of contracting waterborne diseases and are in danger of unsafe sanitation. Polluted water leads to bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases like typhoid, cholera, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), polio, hepatitis, skin infection and gastrointestinal illnesses. This could be prevented by the installation of safe water treatment facilities and processes.
“Over 15 million South Africans lack access to secure water and sanitation services,” says Murendeni Mafumo, founder of Kusini Water, a project incubated at The Innovation Hub. “We aim to change that statistic – starting with local schools,” he adds.
Kusini Water has invented a water filtration system that uses macadamia nut shells to filter water. “Globally, charcoal or coconut shells are the standard for water filtration, but after months of research, we found that not only are macadamia nut shells freely available in South Africa, but they carry similar properties to the abovementioned materials,” says Mafumo.
The filtration system is solar-powered, saving on electricity costs, making it a sustainable project to run at local schools (energy contributes up to 40% of water treatment costs of operation). This reduces the cost of production, and minimises the amount of fossil fuel in water production.
Kusini Water will be launching their site this World Water Day at Reneilwe Primary School in Temba, Hammanskraal. The launch unveils the new water treatment plant that provides clean and safe water for the community of Temba in partnership with DuPont, and the US Embassy South Africa. They chose Hammanskraal for their water purification plant as the water contains high levels of nitrates and phosphates and it is currently not fit for human consumption.
Eco-V’s Green Tower manufactured microgrids improve energy and water security in large communities such as old age homes and schools by harvesting solar energy and alternative water sources. They aim to provide energy, water and health security as a service at 1 000 large South African urban high schools within the next five years.
“Green Tower technology conserves potable water using treated borehole water where possible and recycling grey water for toilet and garden use. Purified ozone-treated water improves health naturally by oxygenation along with microbe, fungus, bacteria and virus disinfection for drinking, cleaning and bathing,” says Andre Nel, founder of Eco-V.
“Water scarcity and pollution are major problems, not only for South Africans and our environment, but for our economy as well,” says Advocate Pieter Holl, CEO of The Innovation Hub. “Innovations from entrepreneurs such as Kusini Water and Eco-V are prime examples of customised solutions to tackle South Africa’s water-related problems,” he adds.
The Climate Innovation Centre South Africa (CICSA) supports entrepreneurs in the clean energy, waste, water and sanitation sector and it is a collaboration with the World Bank’s InfoDev Climate Technology Programme.
For more information on The Innovation Hub and its business incubators, please contact Linah Nematandani at firstname.lastname@example.org | (+27) 12 8440030/ (+27) 71 673 9964 or visit www.theinnovationhub.com.