The Water for Tomorrow Programme (WTP) was established in 2021 to address issues threatening our water security, i.e., water shortage, overuse and quality, in South Africa. This contributes towards ensuring enough clean drinking water to meet the ever-growing demands.

Research shows that South Africa is faced with a water shortage crisis, and should this crisis continue unabated, the country will face water deficiencies of 17% by 2030. Water leaks are responsible for 37% of potable water loss. The water leaks issue can be attributed to poor water infrastructure maintenance, vandalism and theft of water infrastructure, illegal water connections, and lack of awareness of water conservation. Schools in underserved communities are amongst the most affected by water leaks due to the factors stated above. Moreover, most underserved schools lack policies to maintain and manage their water infrastructure effectively. Water leaks also affect sanitation in schools, as some toilets stop working when they experience a leak. Furthermore, the severe water loss increases the schools’ water bills which most schools cannot afford.

Currently, three projects are implemented under the WTP in three provinces. The projects focus on addressing water quality issues by providing schools in Hammanskraal, Gauteng Province, with water purification solutions, education, and awareness about water contamination and its effects on human health. The Eastern Cape Province and some parts of KZN are experiencing unprecedented water shortages. With the help of our funders, we provide schools in the affected areas with water and storage tanks to increase their water capacity. Our water conservation project focuses on efforts to reduce water loss resulting from water leaks which are responsible for major water losses in most parts of the country. The Gauteng Province is experiencing water restrictions in effort to reduce high water usage. The high water usage in the province is, amongst other factors, attributed to potable water leaks. Our research findings in KZN revealed that on average, a single school can lose close to 800 000 litres of water per year due to water leaks. In the efforts to address this issue effectively, we have adopted a holistic and sustainable approach in assisting schools to maintain their water infrastructure, we also offer skills development support and education and awareness in water use efficiency and vandalism of the water infrastructure.

Our study shows that, on average, a school loses 800 000 litres of potable water through water leaks annually. Which is the equivalent of 42 000 (5 gallon) buckets of water.

Most public schools in South Africa lack adequate funds to maintain school facilities, including water and sanitation facilities. Findings indicate that schools generally do not have organisational structures for planned facilities maintenance, nor do they have policies on the maintenance of their facilities. The result is water leaks that go undetected and are therefore not repaired, which in turn costs schools a significant amount of money each year.

Programme Benefits

  • Improving water use efficiency and saving potable water
  • Enhancing quality education by facilitating curriculum-linked water-related lessons
  • Saving schools thousands of rands by fixing water leaks
  • Improving water infrastructure through maintenance and skills development
  • Improving good health by providing clean drinking water to schools
  • Creating jobs in our project activation areas
  • Creating a water-use-efficient society through education and awareness

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