The Stellenbosch River Collaborative was looking to improve the water quality in the town’s rivers, and is supporting the piloting of Eco-Machine Technology to divert and treat water from the Plankenbrug River. What is most relevant is that these systems not only solve ecological challenges, but provide significant opportunities for job creation. This is the first initiative of its kind to take place in South Africa.
Committed to improve water quality and to create jobs
The Plankenbrug River receives greywater, polluted stormwater and effluent overflow from Kayamandi and Enkanini Informal Settlement of Stellenbosch.
The recently formed Stellenbosch River Collaborative was looking to improve the water quality in the town’s rivers, and through funding raised by Wildlands is supporting the piloting of an Eco-Machine technology to divert and treat water from the Plankenbrug River. The resulting designs include source control, local and regional treatment systems based on Biomimetic and Ecological design principles. The downstream (regional) treatment system is based on the trademark EcoMachine concept. This design, together with all other components has been developed through a co-design process with the community, government, and the project team.
A second design has been developed to pilot the EcoMachine Technology as a means to treat the Plankenbrug River in Stellenbosch. This river is heavily polluted from urban run-off arising from Enkanini Informal Settlement, Kayamandi, and the adjacent industrial areas. Residents of informal settlements do not usually have running water or formal plumbing in their homes.
Community taps are located at various stations throughout the informal settlements and residents fill up buckets of water and carry them back to their homes for drinking, cooking and washing. After use, this water may contain detergents, personal care products, food solids and human waste. Because this water has to be carried to the home, people are incredibly efficient with their water use, leading to a highly concentrated greywater which is more appropriately classified as wastewater. This wastewater is then discarded outside the home, where in the absence of a formal sewerage network, the wastewater combines with the stormwater drainage and discharges, untreated into the river.