Cape Town - A joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the Water Research Commission (WRC) could soon see informal settlements across the city have access to specialised sanitation services.
The City of Cape Town’s water and sanitation department has partnered with the WRC to provide low-income communities based in areas where traditional infrastructure is inaccessible with sanitation units that use climate-resistant technologies.
The City said it spends more than R300 million in annual servicing costs of toilets in informal settlements. That included 15 000 chemical toilets, 10 800 container-based toilets, 26 000 portable flush toilets and 175 conservancy tanks.
The City’s Mayco member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien, said the sanitation project came at a time when sustainable and dignified sanitation services were not just a goal but an imperative task.
The City and the WRC received funding for the initiative from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and is looking to roll out the Community Reinvented Toilets through trial phases in up to five high-density settlements across Cape Town.
The modular units will offer full recycling of water and low energy and will be suitable for use during disaster relief interventions, the Directorate of Sanitation said.
Badroodien said the project illustrated how collective action could drive the city towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.
Before the programme is rolled out, the project's leading team will conduct a site selection process to identify eligible pilot sites, followed by a technical feasibility assessment to confirm the suitability of each community in terms of the proposed technologies.
“A key component which will determine the success of the project is the level of support from the beneficiary communities, particularly where demonstration units are placed. The City intends to use a portion of the grant to appoint service providers tasked to facilitate meaningful engagement with affected residents,” Badroodien said.
The sanitation project will be live for three years and comprise demonstrations of technologies verified through the WRC’s approved innovation platform (Sastep) or the City’s Water and Sanitation Directorate.
“The vision of the Sastep programme is to increase local manufacturing and jobs while meeting quality standards by incubating technologies that assist local government in building a sustainable and more capable society,” Badroodien said.