Red Bull and Kusini Water recently announced the launch of a partnership that will see the development of a desalination plant at the V&A Waterfront later this year. The plant will be capable of producing 4,000 litres of fresh water an hour, or enough water for over 4,800 households a day.
Solar-powered water purification system
Kusini Water is a locally designed solar-powered water purification system that uses an activated carbon filter made from locally sourced macadamia nut shells in conjunction with locally synthesised nano-fibres. This unique, locally designed technology saves power and money by using the Kusini Water system which utilises gravity as the predominant source of power. Its founder, Murendeni Mafumo, is one of 16 social entrepreneurs who are currently part of the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, a programme designed to “give wings” to grassroots social entrepreneurs.
Mafumo has subsequently gone on to launch a number of Kusini Water purification plants in and around South Africa to help deliver clean water to underserved rural communities, and to reduce reliance on municipal water. It launched its first Kusini Water system nearly two years ago in Shayandima, Limpopo, and its first mobile container launched in October last year, supplying water for the community of Extension 10 in eMalahlani West.
The Cape Town plant, however, will be the first on this large scale. The desalination plant will obtain seawater from offshore marine waters and discharge concentrated brine effluent through pipeline infrastructure. Kusini Water’s system can treat water from any source, removing 99.9999% of all bacteria and viruses. It can produce 40 times more water than reverse osmosis, the current best practice, and uses about half the energy.
Proceeds toward Cape Flats desalination plant
Profits from Kusini Water’s first plant in Cape Town’s Granger Bay will directly fund a second desalination plant in the Cape Flats area, keeping true to the company’s vision to deliver access to clean drinking water in underserved communities. In addition, for every litre of purified bottled water sold at the Waterfront, 20 litres will be given to communities in the Cape Flats. This campaign is known as the one for 20 campaign.
Kusini Water operates on a social franchise model, through which Mafumo aims to build a network of locally owned franchise water businesses. “Kusini Water follows a shared-value approach that aims to reconnect companies’ success with social progress,” says Mafumo.