South Africa – The V & A Waterfront mall in Cape Town, South Africa is set to get a water desalination plant later this year.
Kusini Water, a black owned South African water engineering company has partnered with Red Bull to bring their innovative water purification technology to one of South Africa’s upmarket malls. The desalination plant is a locally designed solar-powered water purification system that uses an activated carbon filter made from locally sourced macadamia nut shells in conjunction with locally synthesized nano-fibres. The plant also saves energy and money by utilising gravity as the predominant source of power.
The V & A Waterfront desalination plant will be Kusini Water’s second installation in Cape Town after the one in Granger Bay that is capable of producing 4 000 litres of fresh water an hour, or enough drinking water for over 4 800 households a day.
The partnership between Kusini Water and Red Bull is an innovative scheme aiming to accelerate South Africa’s availability of freshwater resources using renewable energy in the hope of offering alternative solutions to the water crisis that places like Cape Town currently face. Kusini Water’s founder, Murendeni Mafumo, is one of 16 social entrepreneurs who are currently part of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, a programme designed to “give wings” to grassroots social entrepreneurs.
“The aim of Kusini Water is to bring about a systemic change in communities currently underserved when it comes to water and sanitation,” says Mafumo.
Kusini Water has installed other water purification plants in and around South Africa to help deliver clean water to underserved rural communities, and to reduce reliance on municipal water.
The Granger Bay, Cape Town desalination plant, is the first of Kusini Water’s purification plants on this large scale. The plant will obtain seawater from offshore marine waters and discharge concentrated brine effluent through pipeline infrastructure. Kusini Water’s system can treat water from any source, removing 99.9999% of all bacteria and viruses. It can produce 40 times more water than reverse osmosis, the current best practice, and uses about half the energy.
The launch of Kusini Water’s Cape Town desalination plants form part of a programme that will assist the City of Cape Town’s low-income communities. Kusini Water will be sold to households in affluent areas, and for every litre bought, 20 litres will be given to communities in the Cape Flats. Profits from this plant will also go towards the construction and operation of a future plant planned for the Cape Flats that will provide advanced Kusini Water treatment systems and water recovery for gardening and common latrine flushing.
Kusini Water operates on a social franchise model, through which Mafumo aims to build a network of locally-owned franchise water businesses. “Kusini Water follows a shared-value approach that aims to reconnect companies’ success with social progress,” Mafumo explains.
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