The Kusini Water System, which was recently installed in the community of Extension 10, eMalahleni west, is a containerised, solar-powered water purification solution that uses locally sourced components to provide safe drinking water to communities in rural areas.
The system can treat water from any source, removing over 99.9% of all bacteria and viruses. It can also produce 40 times more water than reverse osmosis, the current best practice, using about half the energy.
The idea behind the system came from one man’s personal pursuit to change the narrative of access to water in rural communities. Murendeni Mafumo, founder of Kusini Water, grew up in Limpopo, a province acutely affected by limited access to safe drinking water, and says the image of young women collecting water from rivers has stuck with him throughout his life. It’s an image and practice he hopes to change.
Kusini Water System Container
The Kusini Water System is a containerised, solar-powered water purification solution
“I got involved with this issue mainly for personal reasons. The image of young women carrying water on their heads because there was never water at home is something I have carried with me throughout my career working in the big cities. As much as I enjoyed my work, I wanted to do more – I wanted to use my qualifications and skills in areas like the one I grew up in, where people are still dealing with these issues. Even today, when I go back home, it’s still the same image of the young girl collecting and carrying water on her head,” he explains.
To address this issue and provide a sustainable solution, Mafumo had to focus on two key factors: the cost of the infrastructure and the cost of the electricity.
“To tackle these issues, we decided that decentralising the water treatment system would be important, so ensuring that each site is producing water for that particular location and making it modular, meaning that the parts and components change according to the requirements of the location and the quality of the water we are treating. Finally, we opted to add some sort of off-grid power supply; in this instance, we chose to go with solar power, which we supplement with locally available power as a backup.”
Driving down costs