Water Safety Project

The Water for Tomorrow Project in Hammanskraal focuses on the poor drinking water quality in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas. Hammanskraal is located on the Northern boundary of the Gauteng province and falls under Tshwane Municipality.

The Hammanskraal community have endured poor drinking water quality since 2005. This violates the constitutional rights of the community of Hammanskraal to have access to safe drinking water. The water contamination is due to the poorly maintained Waste Water Treatment Plant. The untreated effluent enters the Apies River and the Temba Dam, the source of Hammanskraal’s drinking water.

According to the commission of enquiry report, high heavy metal trace elements, coliforms, and E.coli were recorded in the drinking water. This indicates that the safety of the drinking water in Hammanskraal is below acceptable standards. Early this year, there was a typhoid fever outbreak in some parts of the Hammanskraal area. It is also confirmed that the water contamination has resulted in few hospitalisations.

Although the Tshwane Municipality provides the community with clean drinking water, it was discovered that not all schools receive clean drinking water. As a result, the learners are subjected to drinking contaminated water.

Our aim is to protect the health of the learners and educators and support the educators in elevating education on water safety. We will provide the schools with water purification systems to ensure the learners are no longer at risk of drinking poor-quality water. Furthermore, education sessions will be conducted in schools to raise awareness about water contamination and its health effects on people. This will also include water testing.

These samples were taken from a drinking water tap from one of the schools in Hammanskraal on 18th October 2022. The water sample in the image above turned black after 36 hours, indicating possible coliform contamination and confirming the water is unsafe to drink.

The sample in the above image tests for both E.coli and coliform bacteria. The red spots on the sample, which appear after 24 – 48 hours of incubation, indicate the presence of coliform bacteria and confirm the water is unsafe to drink. The absence of blue dots indicates there are no E.coli bacteria in the water.

Coliform and E.coli bacteria are naturally present in the human digestive tract but are rare or absent in natural water. These bacteria should not be found in drinking water as they indicate sewage or faecal contamination, which could be harmful to people.