News

Groundwater brings much needed support to KZN Community

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s Coke Ville Groundwater Project seeks to alleviate water demand in communities around South Africa

South Africa, 13 April 2021 – As KwaZulu-Natal anticipates a drop in dam levels during winter, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) seeks to deliver millions of litres of groundwater a year to residents of Ekhusane Village in the Mzinyathi Area, eThekwini.

In the latest Coke Ville Groundwater Harvesting project, CCBSA has partnered with eThekwini Municipality to build a modern, groundwater harvesting system in the community. A borehole accessing a plentiful natural reservoir of water is connected to an electric water treatment unit and is expected to deliver a maximum capacity of 108 000 litres of water per day to community members.

“South Africa faces a long-term water shortage crisis, which will affect all citizens and industries,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director at CCBSA. “Water quality issues, aging infrastructure, increasing water scarcity, climate volatility, drought, and rising water pollution all pose significant risks, particularly to poorer, remote communities.

“Despite recent rains, there remain concerns about the ongoing drought in the Eastern Cape, parts of Limpopo and the North West. In KZN, infrastructure maintenance issues have also affected both urban and rural communities,” she says.

To date, Coke Ville has already handed over four solar-powered self-sustaining community-based groundwater projects in Limpopo and Eastern Cape.

These include:

  • Bholotwa in Queenstown, Chris Hani District, Eastern Cape,
  • Dala and Daberha in Ngcobo, Chris Hani District, Eastern Cape,
  • Makhushaneng in the Capricorn District, Limpopo, and 
  • Tshikota Village, Vhembe Municipality, Limpopo.

This project will be the fifth one to be handed over and due to the security concerns established during feasibility, will not be utilising solar power. These will be powered through the municipality electricity grid.

eThekwini Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda praised Coca-Cola for their efforts in addressing water security. He said, “With South Africa being a water scarce country, immense effort is being challenged to seeking other sources of water. One of the challenges we are facing as a Municipality is rapid urbanization and the ongoing influx of people in traditional communities. This continues to put a huge strain on our water infrastructure. However, we are happy to report that the city has already invested R2 billion to improve water provision in the Western aqueduct which will significantly improve water supply in this area.

As the leadership of eThekwini Municipality, we are proud that we have increased to 82.71% the number of households with access to basic level of water. More importantly about 80.19% of indigent households have access to free basic water. Our goal is to achieve 100% coverage by 2030, the year in which we want to have achieved the goal of becoming a caring and liveable city.

Kaunda continued, “This initiative by Coca-Cola demonstrates that if we work together as business and government, we can be able to address a number of developmental challenges facing the country. We strongly believe that your action will encourage other companies to contribute to good causes that seek to improve the lives of poor communities. As eThekwini Municipality, we will continue to partner with Coca-Cola to make clean drinking water accessible to all, particularly in the rural communities.”

Two more projects are currently under initiation in Polokwane and Butterworth, which will add to the five already in operation. Collectively this will have the potential to produce over 90 million litres of water annually by the end of 2022.

South Africa still relies heavily 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, including reusing and recycling grey water, rainwater harvesting and groundwater. Desalination remains extremely expensive and complex, with relatively low yields.

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.

Also, groundwater is not exposed to the elements and is cleaner due to the natural filtration effects of overlying soil and rock layers. This means it can be safely used for general purposes, as well as potable uses like cleaning, taps, toilets, showers and gardens. Resources can be developed fairly quickly and cheaply at a local level.

END

About CCBSA

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is a proudly South African company which began operating as a legal entity in July 2016, after the merger of six non-alcoholic ready to drink bottling operations. We employ over 7000 people at 13 manufacturing facilities across the country. As a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, our vision is to refresh Africa every day and make our continent a better place for all. We manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola beverages that make life’s everyday moments more enjoyable, while doing business the right way. The result is shared opportunity for our customers, our employees, our communities, and our shareholders. We conduct our business ethically, transparently and conscientiously. We espouse an inclusive business culture to reflect our African identity. We accelerate sustainable, profitable revenue growth across all categories and offer an innovative portfolio of products that respond to customer needs and consumer preferences. Profitability is important, but not at any cost. People matter. Our planet matters. We do business the right way by following our values and partnering for solutions that benefit us all.