Enterprising pair tackle EC rural water crisis
29 March 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914094
THE severe drought and water crisis in South Africa should be a wake-up call. We are sadly unprepared for water restrictions and it is clear we need to invest in alternative water resources.
That’s according to two Eastern Cape entrepreneurs who know what is like to grow up without safe drinking water or adequate sanitation.
Zintle Apleni and Morgan Mlungu spent their childhood in rural East London where pit latrines posed various hazards and clean water was difficult to reach.
They wanted to help people living in rural areas, especially those not connected to the bulk infrastructure, to access better options. Their business, Ucoceko Water Projects provides sanitation and water treatment services to rural communities where there is little or no infrastructure for clean domestic water and sanitation.
Because water is so scarce, especially in far-flung villages and towns, Ucoceko have come up alternative and affordable water resources, which are useful too in times of water restrictions.
They provide water tank cleaning and water replacement and recording tank measurements and testing pH. The company offers desalination of water to housing developments and road construction during water restrictions
It also supplies and distributes chlorine gas and sodium hypochloride to water treatment plants to purify water and sanitise water storage facilities, technology to assist rural communities and schools turn their bio waste into gas for cooking and electricity, and under-counter filters and water purification jugs and filtration systems.
Another service offered is the emptying of septic tanks.
Established in 2017, Ucoceko Water Projects is the brainchild of chemical engineer Morgan Mlungu who has 15 years’ experience in process engineering, pre-treatment and phosphating, corrosion prevention processes and waste water storage. Apleni, on the other hand, knew she wanted to impact her community and used her wealth of experience in promotions and business to partner with Morgan to improve the lives of people who are usually overlooked by municipalities when it comes to service delivery.
“We are trying to change the sanitation system that is used in Eastern Cape schools by encouraging them to replace pit latrines with flushing toilets,” Apleni said.
“We install biogas digesters that will allow schools to produce their own gas and in turn teach pupils about new technologies. Biogas is a renewable and clean source of energy. Biogas also helps reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as oil and coal.”