The Sustainable Water Fund of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has commissioned Pentair, TenCate and Wavin jointly to install twenty sustainable drinking water systems in South Africa, called GreenSource.Sports for Water. The water treatment part of this integrated system will be produced by Pentair, the water buffering and pipe systems will be manufactured by Wavin and the high-grade synthetic turf and geotextiles by TenCate. The integration of the system will be carried out in South Africa by the firm Landscape Solutions with its local partner, Royal Turf South Africa. This innovative drinking water system will be installed in the South African province of North West with selected, local contractors. Saxion University of Applied Sciences, as a knowledge institute in both water and textile technology, will provide an important substantive contribution. Training and supervision of the proper use of the drinking water systems will be provided by Mmapula Community Development, with which company Saxion has been working for several years. The Advanced Materials Manufacturing Oost-Nederland (AMMON) foundation will monitor this innovation.
Many periods of severe drought have persuaded the provincial government in the north-west of South Africa and the South African Water Research Commission to acquire the best possible water management for both agriculture and drinking water through innovations. At present the acute lack of adequate, safe water, including groundwater, is regarded as a factor that allows poverty to persist and impedes economic progress. The provincial South African government also aims to increase the well-being of the local population by building more sports facilities near to schools. GreenSource enables both goals to be achieved in one go: on the one hand, sustainable water buffering, water filtration and water distribution, and on the other, high quality multi-sports activities on synthetic turf that is available for use all year round. Moreover, instruction in sanitation will help the population learn how to use water more effectively. The project relates to the entire North West Province, an area of approximately 105,000 square kilometres, where twenty multifunctional GreenSource systems will be installed locally. This has been made possible by the Sustainable Water Fund of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which promotes public-private cooperation in the water sector. The aim is to improve the safety and security of water supplies in developing countries.
Water problem in South Africa
The North West Province of South Africa has an arid to semi-arid climate with irregular rainfall. The quality of most surface water ranges from moderate to extremely poor. Only 27% of households in the province have access to safe drinking water, and various local communities are even faced with a total lack of sustainable drinking water. Groundwater is becoming increasingly polluted, for example through intensive mining, industrial activities and unclean irrigation of agriculture. Another major challenge in water management is the ability to grow sufficient healthy food to feed a growing and more affluent population and at the same time to satisfy the many other demands made on limited water resources. Efficient and productive water consumption is thus essential.
Water management by GreenSource.Sports for Water
The GreenSource project provides safe water storage that makes possible a continuous clean and safe water supply. The filtered water can be used for drinking, irrigation or for sanitary purposes. Rainwater, river water and groundwater can all be stored in the non-clean water tanks. The synthetic turf system can be used as a sports field for both children and adults. In this way the multifunctional GreenSource system combines synthetic turf with water management. Viruses and bacteria are removed by means of membrane technology. The filtration unit will be stored in a compact building, which will also have a small classroom for providing instruction on water and sanitation. The treated water will be stored in clean-water tanks and used for drinking water, the irrigation of agricultural crops and for spraying the synthetic turf sports pitch. The system can provide approximately 50 litres a minute of filtered, safe drinking water. When it is used for 16 hours a day, it can filter approximately 50,000 litres a day,or about 17 million litres annually. Solar panels provide the greater part of the energy for the pumps and lighting. The filtration membranes must be replaced every five years. The synthetic turf pitch should be replaced every ten years. If necessary, the non-clean water tanks can also be cleaned.
Pragmatic industrial approach
Since 2010 large companies in the Eastern Netherlands have been forming industrial partnerships within the AMMON foundation, with the aim of achieving technological innovations at an accelerated rate that involve new high-tech materials, products and systems and of rolling these out in international markets. South Africa is only one of these. The Dutch provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland support this targeted mode of industrial cooperation and have created attractive conditions by supporting the building of demonstrators and becoming a launch customer. The demonstrator forms the basis for the final product design, which is aimed at high-volume production. A demonstrator of the innovative GreenSource drinking water system was built earlier by OICAM, the Open Innovation Center Advanced Materials, and can be found on display in Nijverdal, the Netherlands. Through development cooperation in South Africa the Dutch government has now become a launch customer. The Advanced Materials Manufacturing Oost-Nederland (AMMON) foundation is monitoring the innovation, from business plan to the relevant market.
From a rich industrial history, the Eastern Netherlands has evolved into a top technological region. The manufacturing industry is a key driver of the Dutch economy, including the knowledge economy. The region has one of the largest concentrations of high-tech companies in the Netherlands. Many of these companies are now faced with the challenge of moving from product to system innovation in order to safeguard their future earning potential. This requires targeted cooperation between companies involved in systems development, implementation and joint marketing - the reason for the establishment of AMMON.
Zutphen, the Netherlands, Friday, 20 September 2013