2005 Winner
Western Cape, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
South Africa

Description: The West Coast District Municipality introduced the Rietpoort Water Supply Scheme in April 2002. The aim of the once-off project was to provide water as well as free basic services to the communities of Rietpoort, Molsvlei, and Stofkraal. These communities had no access to purified water and their only water sources were natural springs, boreholes, and wells of which most had dried up during the prolonged drought in the area since 2001. A 42 km water supply line and 4 km of distribution lines were constructed for the provision of portable water to these communities. The supply line runs from the desalination plant in Bitterfontein to the three communities. The National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) provided the funding while the municipality managed the project with support from consultants. A Project Committee was established and was responsible for the appointment of all labour and community liaison. The communities were involved from the start by means of community meetings, and were involved in all the details of the project from the start to its completion.

Innovation: Purified water is obtained from the innovative desalination plant at Bitterfontein with boreholes as the only raw water source. Another innovation was that the supply line of 42 km was planned and designed in such a way that it is completely gravity fed and no pump stations are located along the way. Saving huge amounts of funds in terms of the building of pump stations and maintenance costs.

Effectiveness: The prescribed design demand of 25litres/capita/day was meet and all households were satisfied and this was determined by feedback during the bi-annual IDP and Imbizo community meetings.

Poverty Impact: A total of 200 temporary job opportunities were created and 35% of the workforce were women. In total 20 535 workdays were created and a total amount of R920 000 were paid to local labour. The workforce was also involved in a training programme, which included technical training and training for small contractors. After the training programme, 180 people received certificates, which improves there chances of gaining employment.

Sustainability: BVI Consulting Engineers were responsible for the financial management during the construction phases and reported to the municipality. The municipality is responsible for operation and maintenance since completion.

Replication: The labour-intensive model and the quality of the finished product within relative low operating and maintenance costs make it a model worth replicating.

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