Water is a vital resource in all communities. Despite the good rainfall this past winter, water restrictions in the Cape continue to negatively impact communities, especially those living in under resourced areas. One such settlement is the Bloekombos informal settlement, bordering Kraaifontein, where small businesses such as car washes and micro-farming gardens are prohibited from using municipal water for their trade.
In an initiative to help these businesses, as well as schools in the area, non-profit SOSNPO in partnership with the world’s biggest pump manufacturer Grundfos have announced a long-term plan to supply much-needed water to the community; “We will install water towers to provide Bloekombos with non-potable water for car washing and irrigation for their micro-farms. We will also assist with alternate water sources for all six schools in the settlement, as well as the HIV clinic, churches and other micro-businesses there,” Director of SOSNPO, Shelley Humphreys said at a launch event held earlier today at Masibambane Secondary School. Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said: “Entrepreneurs and small businesses are a vital part of the Western Cape economy, so I am very pleased that this partnership will assist small businesses and micro-farms in Bloekombos so that they can continue operating and contributing to the economy of the local community.”
The SOS and Grundfos partnership project, is also supported by M’hudi Farm, neighbour to the 45 000 strong settlement and the first fully black owned wine farm in South Africa, and will begin with the installation of eight 5 000-litre water tanks at Masibambane Secondary School. Currently under a strict daily water quota, with the toilets being locked once it is reached, the tanks will provide water for everyday activities, as well as aid in the maintenance of the school’s food garden.
“Water is the most important resource in any community,” Grundfos Managing Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Henning Sandager said. “Our partnership with SOSNPO has created a solution that engages directly with the Bloekombos community. It ensures that the value of water is understood and at the same time available for those in need. We are committed to this project for the long term.”
Working with community stakeholders, government and businesses to provide alternative water sources and solutions, SOSNPO aims to mitigate the impact of the water crisis on local schools and struggling communities in the Western Cape. Their projects address sanitation, hygiene, climate change and education around these issues. The non-profit also focuses on economic empowerment and job creation in the communities where they work.
To ensure the success of this community initiative, Grundfos will assist with the installation of pumps and ensure that all installations are fully functional. Other partners include Swish Property Group, who provide the non-potable water from an aquifer at their development in Woodstock, Isuzu’s school water unit trucks that transport water to schools and communities, JoJo Water Tanks to store the water, and NuWater who will contribute a water treatment plant to make the non-potable water potable.
“It is essential that we continue with our water support installations, awareness and education,” Humphreys said. “Effective partnerships and collaboration such as this can increase water access and water equity and assist small businesses to remain economically viable”.