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Global project gives a thousand Eastern Cape community members clean water

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
20 August 2023 | 08:41 CAT

Image: University of Johannesburg News

A thousand Eastern Cape community members will receive clean water as part of a collaboration between the University of Johannesburg’s Process, Energy & Environmental Technology Station or UJ PEETS and SOURCE Global, in partnership with the UJ’s Faculty of Health Science’s Water and Health Research Centre.

The Eastern Cape Water Provision Project is a ground-breaking initiative to provide clean drinking water to families in the OR Tambo District in the province.

The project saw 400 hydro panels being installed across four villages – Lujazu, Luphoko and two schools in Mthambalala and Cutwini, giving over 1000 community members access to their source of clean water.

Dr Kousar Hoorzook from UJ, who is leading the project, said the initiative’s objectives were to improve access to quality water and reduce water collection efforts.

“Through community engagement we were able to identify remote and isolated villages which did not have reticulated water or any likely future water supply. We looked at criteria like access to water, plans for future infrastructure investment to gain access to water, climate and scarcity – to ensure we are responding to the needs of society, responding to a local need and working with the community to take the work forward,” says Dr Hoorzook.

Dr Hoorzook said the project generates clean water from atmospheric vapour through innovative technology.

“This type of project underpinned UJ’s drive to use technology for societal change. The hydro panels – harnessing the sun’s power to produce clean, drinkable water – held the promise of alleviating water scarcity in these underserved regions,” she said.

She added that recognising the challenges faced by these communities, the project addressed the pressing issue by implementing cost-effective methods.

“The initiative harnesses atmospheric vapour to provide a renewable and sustainable solution, empowering families to overcome the scarcity of clean water,” said Hoorzook.

The Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation from the U.S.A. funded this project. Soon-Shiong is a medical scientist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He grew up in Gqeberha and studied medicine at Wits. He left South Africa in 1977 and has had a successful medical career in the U.S.A.

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