Water shortage is one of the major issues in South Africa. The reality of day zero looming over the people of Cape Town has shocked people throughout the world. In the Free State region, municipalities are resorting to having prepared water in order to make people conserve the little water available.
Research also shows that the average person wastes up to 136 litres of water every day through unattended running taps, showers, dishwashers, and watering the lawn. All these are occurring when there is inadequate rainfall.
The members and government throughout South Africa are seeking ways to prevent water shortage and use every drop of water at peoples’ disposal. In the Free State region, the seeking led to the birth of project Grey-to-Green.
Grey to Green Project
The grey-to-green project aims to recycle grey water and use it to water plants.
The project was initiated by two engineering students at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in the Free State. They came up with the idea after realising that a lot of plants around the city were in bad condition due to the drought.
With the concern for plants and drought, the engineers worked to develop something that is more affordable for an average person. Their creative minds came up with an effective device for recycling greywater and reuse it in homes.
The students approached Enactus CUT (the entrepreneurial action student group) with an idea of recycling and reusing water through a greywater system. The Grey-to-Green project is a water recycling system that is connected through PVC pipes running through the shower, laundry, washbasin and bathtubs.
The water that goes down the drain enters the recycling system. Recycled water gets pumped out of the system, through the water pump connected to a hose-pipe. Once out, the water is used for gardening and other purposes.
To proceed further in the project, Enactus CUT conducted a needs assessment for recycling greywater at the Langenhoven park in May. The chief objective of the needs assessment was to make findings regarding challenges they face with the supply of water for different needs.
Findings were as follow:
- 90% of the attendees indicated that they have gardens;
- 54% indicated that their water bill has been drastically affected;
- 66% indicated that the ongoing drought has had a negative impact on their gardens;
- 94% of the population is being affected directly and indirectly by these water bills; and
- 88% were interested in the potential purchase of the product.
Following the findings, the grey water recycling system was believed to help in water shortage problem in South Africa. The recycled grey water could sufficiently fulfil the water needs of people.
Currently, Enactus CUT partnered with Qala Tala to set up an experimental trial. This experiment determines whether vegetation is safe for human consumption if irrigated with grey water. If found safe, Enactus CUT would expand the business into the Agricultural Sector. Irrigation of crops with greywater would save a lot of fresh water.