[Press Release] National Water Week and World Water Day: are PPPs the solution to Africa’s water struggles?

South Africa’s National Water Week kicks off on Monday, 20 March while globally World Water Day is celebrated on Wednesday, 22 March.

In the informal settlement of Langrug in Franschhoek, an innovative wastewater treatment project is changing the lives of the community for the better while reversing the effects of water pollution in the Berg River. “The only way to stay healthy is to work hand in hand with each other and with Genius of Space, since they are trying to change our lives in the community,” says Vumile William Dlova, who is working as a flow agent in the Biomimicry Genius of Space project.

He adds: “This system changed the community because our children are now playing in a clean, dry place with no dirty water running between houses. There are no more flies around. We are living in a healthy environment.”

Although water and sanitation are generally available in Langrug informal settlement, these services are limited and have led to the disposal of wastewater and solid waste throughout the settlement, causing a health hazard and flowing into storm water drains and ultimately into the Berg River and polluting it.

The Genius of Space system gives Langrug residents the opportunity to dispose of their grey water in disposal drums where it is filtered. The water then flows into a system of underground pipes into tree gardens were it gets treated. Some 500 Langrug residents are currently using the 27 disposal points in the settlement.

During the upcoming African Utility Week in Cape Town in May, water conference delegates will attend a special site visit to the Genius of Space project at Langrug to see a successful project based on biomimicry principles in action. Biomimicry means the design and production of a system that is modelled on biological processes.

Strong focus on all aspects of water
As always, water management forms an important part of African Utility Week and this year the conference will focus on how private public partnerships can assist water utilities to become more responsive and efficient in their practices.

“Drinking water and wastewater utilities in Africa are struggling to cope with the increasing demand for services, especially in rapidly growing urban areas” says African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff, “and responding adequately to this ever increasing demand necessitates strong and active partnerships between the private sector in particular and municipal governments.”

He explains: “these partnerships need to identify and secure much needed finance, as well as clean and more efficient technology to achieve the water and sanitation targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, improve the environmental footprints of utilities and municipalities in response to the Paris Agreement. The water track at African Utility Week 2017 will bring together experts from public and private sectors to support utilities and municipalities become more responsive and efficient in their practices.”

Here are some of the featured experts who will address the water conference sessions:

  • Phillip Gichuki, CEO, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, Kenya
  • Alfonso Chikuni, CEO, Lilongwe Water Board, Malawi
  • David Onyango, Managing Director, Kisumu Water & Sewerage, Kenya
  • Dr Anton Earle , Director Africa Regional Centre, Stockholm International Water Institute, SA
  • Dr. Paul T. Yillia, Program Manager (Water-Energy Nexus), Sustainable Energy for All (Se4All), United Nations
  • Antonino Manus, Water Lead, Infrastructure and Major Projects, KPMG

Real world expertise shared in Cape Town
The 17th annual African Utility Week will gather over 7000 decision makers from more than 80 countries to source the latest solutions and meet over 300 suppliers. Along with multiple side events and numerous networking functions the event also boasts a five track conference with over 300 expert speakers.

The conference programme will once again address the latest challenges, developments and opportunities in the power and water sectors: ranging from generation, T&D, metering, technology and water. These include two exclusive plenary keynote sessions featuring the most sought-after international speakers.

Already leading global advisory firm KPMG has confirmed that it is returning to African Utility Week, this time as its exclusive diamond sponsor. Other industry stalwarts EPG, Huawei, Landis+Gyr, Lucy Electric, Ontec and Shell are platinum sponsors while Conlog, Oracle, SAP and Vodacom are gold sponsors again.

The African Utility Week expo offers an extensive technical programme sessions that are CPD accredited, free to attend, hands-on presentations that take place in defined spaces on the exhibition floor. They discuss practical, day-to-day technical topics, best practices and product solutions that businesses, large power users and water utilities can implement in their daily operations.

The fourth edition of the African Utility Week Power Industry Awards brings together 800 of Africa’s most renowned power and water industry professionals. The Power Industry Awards is the leading gathering to recognise, reward and celebrate the successes of Africa’s power and water sectors during 2016/17.

Energy Revolution Africa will provide a unique forum for solution providers to meet with the new energy purchasers such as metros and municipalities, IPPs, rural electrification project developers and large power users, including mines, commercial property developers and industrial manufacturers. The latest innovations and projects in the sectors of renewables, future technology, energy efficiency, micro/off-grid and energy storage will be showcased.

African Utility Week and Energy Revolution Africa are organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and part of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK. Huawei has also been a longstanding supporter of another flagship event of Spintelligent, formerly known as WAPIC (West African Power Industry Convention) in Lagos, and rebranding as Future Energy Nigeria and returning in November this year.

Other leading events in Spintelligent’s power portfolio are Future Energy East Africa (formerly EAPIC), Future Energy Uganda and Future Energy Central Africa.


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