Solar harnesses groundwater for community in South Africa

Image: DuPont

A multi-technology solar installation in South Africa will provide a reliable source of safe drinking water for 500 households.

Solar power will be used to extract and purify groundwater for the rural community of Cairn on the outskirts of the city of Mbombela, in the north-east of the country. Cairn is expanding rapidly and is currently reliant on rainwater, or tanker deliveries every few weeks, for its water supply, both of which are insufficient to meet its needs.

Using solar energy to extract groundwater from a borehole for treatment will provide a sustainable source of water for the community. A Kusini Water Box and kiosk will use ultrafiltration membranes from DuPont and an ultraviolet light system to remove contaminants from the groundwater, ensuring a supply of up to 10,000 litres per hour of clean water.

Ultrafiltration membranes are an ultimate barrier to suspended particles including bacteria, viruses and colloids. Ultrafiltration ensures affordable, reliable and safe drinking water. Delivered in partnership with Kusini Water, and the City of Mbombela Municipality, this sustainable source of clean water will provide further benefits to the local economy, including the creation of two new jobs to operate the system.

Wendy Tshawe, general manager of water and sanitation for the City of Mbombela said, "Such a partnership with DuPont Water Solutions has contributed immensely to the City’s mandate to ensure the provision of water to all its communities in a sustainable manner."

"The community of Cairn in Mbombela will be able to harness local groundwater supplies, to provide a reliable and sustainable supply of clean and healthy water for residents and businesses.”

Thembi Thulare, DuPont Water Solutions

The project was announced to mark World Water Day on 22 March and Thembi Thulare, business development manager, DuPont Water Solutions said, "Through our partnership with Kusini Water, the community of Cairn in Mbombela will be able to harness local groundwater supplies, to provide a reliable and sustainable supply of clean and healthy water for residents and businesses.”

Murendeni Mafumo, chief executive of Kusini Water said, “This year we have an aim to expand our water supply to five million people by 2025. Our partnership with DuPont is our most important partnership and the community of Cairn is so close to our hearts as we further increase our impact. We are proud to expand our partnerships with the Beverage Association of South Africa and US embassy in training the community to operate the system.”

The multi-technology water treatment plant uses equipment donated by DuPont and is funded in part by a DuPont global community impact grant, in a partnership with Kusini Water, the City of Mbombela Municipality and the US Embassy.