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South Africa: Coca-Cola Beverages reveals a R12 million groundwater project

Graaff-Reinet, a town in the drought-stricken Eastern Cape, is about to see a significant improvement in its water supply. Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has initiated a major project worth R12 million, aimed at providing the entire town with clean and drinkable water.

Coke Ville, an innovative initiative by CCBSA, harnesses off-grid solar power to harvest and treat groundwater continuously, offering an ideal solution to tackle the water supply issues faced by Graaff-Reinet.

As stated by Nozicelo Ngcobo, who serves as the Director of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability at CCBSA, the recently implemented Coke Ville systems can provide an impressive 324 million liters of clean water annually, thanks to the 89.7 kW solar PV system in place. Additionally, the borehole pump can extract water at a rate of 107,000 liters per hour.

“The community of Graaff-Reinet faces multiple challenges, including widespread poverty, limited access to safe and drinkable water, as well as the impact of load shedding which exacerbated the community’s ability to access water,” Ngcobo said.

Graaff-Reinet, the fourth oldest town in South Africa, has grappled with recurring droughts, resulting in dwindling water levels in the Nqweba Dam, the town’s primary water source. The increasing population of the town has compounded the water supply challenges.

“CCBSA had an opportunity to use its resources to be part of the solution in Graaff-Reinet, and after conducting feasibility studies and due diligence, we found that there was enough ground water, we determined that our solar-powered Coke Ville system would provide the ideal solution to assist the town.”

Groundwater has gained significance as a water source, with various drilling programs launched since 2017. Nevertheless, the interruptions caused by load shedding have disrupted the regular extraction of water from this source, introducing a fresh set of issues.

CCBSA’s Coke Ville systems can efficiently pump, purify, store, and deliver clean water to communities in need without any financial burden on the residents.

Portia Makhanya, who serves as the Provincial Head of the Department of Water and Sanitation, expressed gratitude for CCBSA’s efforts in aiding the vulnerable community of Graaff Reinet. She encouraged residents to prioritize behavioral changes to safeguard their limited water resources.

“We all have a part to play in preserving water and to help build communities that are not only resilient, but sustainable in the long-term,” Makhanya said.

As stated by Ngcobo, each Coke Ville installation includes essential components like a tank stand, storage tanks, a secure manhole for the pump, a security alarm system, protective palisade fencing around the tank stand, and solar panels with a locked gate. Additionally, the taps are conveniently located outside the system, enabling communities to access water as needed.

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