QUEENSTOWN, 17 March 2021 – Residents of Bolotwa, located in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, are set to receive a much-needed boost in their water supply. This comes with the launch of a new solar powered underwater pumping and treatment system through the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Coke Ville Groundwater Project.
The solar powered facility being handed over during National Water Week from the 16th to 22nd of March is the latest in five viable self-sustaining groundwater projects that have been identified in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Through these systems the Coke Ville Project aims to deliver over 90 million litres per year by the end of 2021.
The new facility was technically completed in November 2020 and has already distributed 1.4 million litres to communities since then.
“Groundwater is a huge untapped water source that can effectively satisfy the demand of a fast-growing population while easing the burden on the system,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director at CCBSA. “Not only does this mean cleaner water and better health outcomes for citizens but allows municipalities the margin to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure.”
South Africa still relies largely on surface water for its water needs, a resource that is overstretched and prone to pollution, drought and system failure. The country is expected to reach physical water scarcity by 2025, accelerating to 17% water scarcity by 2030, based on current usage.
Government’s long-term water resource plan currently underway involves moving the country to alternative sources, include reusing and recycling grey water, rainwater harvesting and groundwater.
According to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), only 64% of households in the country have access to a reliable water supply service. Approximately 11% of wastewater treatment and water treatment works are completely dysfunctional, while 56% of wastewater treatment works and 44% of water treatment works are in poor condition.
Of the available resources, groundwater has the best potential to support a fast-growing population. It is estimated that South Africa has the same amount of groundwater as surface water. While groundwater use has increased by an average of 0,6% per year during the past four years, only about 40% (or 3 billion cubic metres per year) of available groundwater is used.
“Groundwater is typically cleaner than surface water, meaning it is easier to treat,” Ngcobo says. “It can also be deployed much faster in areas where an accessible source is identified, reducing the cost of transmission with shorter pipelines and simpler maintenance.”