WATER

Clean, cleaner, water

Ion Exchange India 3.7.2014 892.JPG

A South African-Indian private partnership’s proven water purification solutions successfully implemented in rural areas in India, can be used to assist the need for clean water for clean water for in SA.

It is a fact: clean water is one of the most precious resources on earth. On our planet only 3% of all water is freshwater, with the remaining 77% locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Worldwide water supply seems to be unfairly divided.

In the UK and Europe, for example, there is usually a limitless supply of water to drink and use for sanitation purposes with the excess used to water the gardens. It is also guaranteed clean and safe.

According to Fred Platt, CEO of Accéntuate, a JSE listed group of companies serving the construction and infrastructural development markets in South Africa and Africa, for millions of people in other parts of the world turning on a tap and watching clean water flow is simply a dream. “Many people are often very far from a source of water and this might not necessarily be clean water. Turning to our own continent, Africa is the second driest continent in the world, after Australia, and millions of Africans still suffer from water shortages throughout the year.”

He says according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 14 African countries are already experiencing water scarcity with another 11 expected to be added to the list by 2025, at which time nearly 50% of Africa’s predicted population of 1.45 billion people will face water stress or scarcity. The WWF announced that nearly 51%, that being 300 million people in sub-Saharan countries, lack access to a supply of safe water and 41% lack adequate sanitation.

“It is recorded that almost half of the population on the African continent (as measured in 1997 to total 778 million) suffers from one of the six major water-related diseases. The main culprit, diarrhoea, is reputed to kill close to 650 people in Africa daily. This is backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which estimates that 80% of all sickness and disease in developing countries is due to unsafe water.”

Turning to South African shore, the water sector needs close to a R700 billion investment into water infrastructure, services and basic water management to improve access for the majority of the population to clean water in the next decade.

“Water used for domestic purposes in South Africa accounts for approximately 27% of the total, of which 23% is used in urban areas and 4% goes to rural areas. It is in these rural areas of our country where people suffer the most from lack of access to clean water in close proximity to where they live. In just one day, around the world, it is estimated that 200 million work hours are consumed by women collecting water for their families,” Platt says.

Investment in the delivery of and access to clean drinking water and sanitation results in high rates of return. A report from the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (UN VWAP) completed in 2001 concluded that for every $1 invested, there is a projected $3-$34 economic development return.

It is Platt’s belief that Government alone cannot be expected to solve the problem of a lack of access to clean water; the private sector should also contribute, with technology and innovation, towards alleviation.

“Accéntuate has formed a joint venture with the leading Indian company, Ion Exchange India, a specialist in water and waste water treatment for over four decades. India has long struggled with water and sanitation issues. Safe drinking water is more precious than gold to most rural communities across the world and with iron, fluoride, nitrate, brackishness and pathogens present in ground water negatively affecting millions in developing countries, Accéntuate, through its partnership with Ion Exchange, offers various water solutions for rural communities.

“A good example of these solutions would be the water treatment systems and water purifiers implemented in rural India, in which Ion Exchange provides communities and rural schools with drinking water systems as well as water purifying systems. This initiative is in conjunction with the Punjab government, in an effort to eradicate water related issues. These systems are vital in India,  as the single largest cause of ill health and death among children is diarrhoea, which kills nearly half a million children each year, according to the WHO and UNICEF (2000),” Platt told BBQ magazine.

His highlights that increasing pollution of surface and ground water has made quality of drinking water supplies to communities a paramount concern and in this regard, Accéntuate remains committed to assisting communities throughout Africa where water purification, cleanliness and sanitation are required.

“Simultaneously, communities are faced with increasingly severe water shortages. These water purifying solutions, when coupled with government, municipalities, NGOs, or community knowledge of where the direst need is, can help communities thrive once the technology to purify water is implemented. The projects are able to provide safe drinking water at an affordable cost, treat waste water to comply with discharge regulations and conserve fresh water while reducing pollution, through recycle,” Platt concludes.

Staff reporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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