Hack4Water aims to solve SA's water crisis
Johannesburg - The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) s concluding a two-day exhibition of the Hack4Water initiative aimed at preserving water resources in the country.
Hack4Water is a government initiative, that has joined forces with Open Government Partnership to invite civil society to submit innovative solutions to address the country's water challenges.
According to its website, the project will continue to accept entries until the 6th of May.
DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the project has "...managed to dig out some of the country's best water and sanitation related innovations." (article continues below)
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One such innovation is the 'Leak Proof Toilet' which uses a system of nautilus valves, taps and shower heads to reduce water flow in the cistern and thereby alleviate leaking taps.
A nautilus valve, according to Gidamathathu Environmental Services' website, prevents water wastage through a reduced flow rate by as much as 60% (to 4 litres per minute) in comparison to the standard brass valves.
Other innovations to emerge at the two-day exhibition included "water borne sanitation systems" that claim to use less water, said Ratau.
"Information technology gurus, aka 'Hackers' are busy with a challenge to come up with Information Communication Technology apps to help assist in the plight for water access and decent sanitation."
According to the Minister of Agriculture Senzeni Zokwana, South Africa is in the grip of the worst drought in two decades. (article continues below)
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It was sparked by the El Nino weather phenomenon which is a natural warming of the surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean.
Researchers say the event occurs every two to seven years and affects rainfall patterns.
In November, then Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan told the media the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State were suffering a crisis and had been declared disaster zones.
Maize farms were hardest hit.
Hack4Water joins private sector initiatives like Operation Hydrate to address the water shortage.
The DWS said the most sustainable way forward is for civil society and government to work together to address the crisis.
It has bolstered its call for solutions by offering prizes in several categories including individual and group entries, prizes for youth, schools and the media.
There is also a "Researcher and Enterprise" category.
Winning entries will be rewarded with cash prizes ranging from R20,000 to R300,000 as well as access to development and promotion of their ideas.