Coca-Cola quenches thirst of South African communities facing water shortages by availing alternative source

SOUTH AFRICA – In a bid to offer relief to South Africa’s water problems, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has partnered with disaster response non-governmental organisation (NGO), Gift of the Givers, to avail a 34 500-litre water tanker to serve members of the affected communities.

The water tanker will be used to distribute water to areas affected by severe water shortages in Makhanda, commonly known as Grahamstown, which is part of the Makana Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

To ensure the project is undertaken in an efficient manner, the soft beverage maker has invested R2 million towards the day-to-day operations and has committed to run the tanker for five years.

CCBSA has also revealed it is in the process of acquiring a second one to serve the area.

“As one of the largest single water users in South Africa, a country prone to water shortages, CCBSA realises that water access is a humanitarian issue directly tied to our license to trade.

“Through this investment, we wanted to ensure that the tanker would be utilised on an ongoing basis for emergency support in areas of the most desperate need,” says Nozicelo Ngcobo – Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director, CCBSA.

South Africa still relies largely on surface water for its water needs, a resource that is overstretched and prone to pollution, drought and system failure.

The country is expected to reach physical water scarcity by 2025, accelerating to 17% water scarcity by 2030, based on current usage.

Approximately 11% of wastewater treatment and water treatment works in the country are completely dysfunctional, while 56% of wastewater treatment works and 44% of water treatment works are in poor condition.

Other than the dilapidated water infrastructure, the water crisis has also been worsened by the years of drought experienced in the country.

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“As one of the largest single water users in South Africa, a country prone to water shortages, CCBSA realises that water access is a humanitarian issue directly tied to our license to trade.”

Nozicelo Ngcobo – Public Affairs, Communication & Sustainability Director, CCBSA.

The water tank will be crucial in filling the gap as the area awaits long-overdue rains and local Government implements repairs to its water system.

The move comes months after CCBSA dished out new solar powered underwater pumping and treatment systems to indigent communities through the Coke Ville Groundwater Project.

The Coke Ville Project now comprises seven sites in various locations including Limpopo Province, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal, benefitting 12 000 homes and delivering over 42 million litres of water in 2021 to date.

Through these systems, the Coke Ville Project aims to deliver over 90 million litres per year by the end of 2021.

“With South Africa being one of the driest countries in the world, a fast-growing population means that water insecurity is set to become a major challenge in coming years.

“This, combined with various innovations in our manufacturing facilities will contribute to improved water usage, treatment and distribution to communities in need,” Ngcobo says.

The donated water tank will be able to alleviate much of the water demand in particularly distressed areas, allowing municipalities the breathing room to maintain, repair and upgrade ageing infrastructure.

Other than promoting access to safe water in South Africa, East Africa Bottling Share Company (EABSC), a division of CCBA in Ethiopia, has been supplying 10 000 litres of clean, safe drinking water per day for displaced people in Deder, Oromia Region.

As part of the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has funded a two-year WASH, which will positively impact 20 000 people by addressing water and sanitation problems in the Bambasi and Menge districts of Benishangul-Gumuz region.

In Ghana, Voltic (GH) Limited, a division of CCBA, commissioned a borehole for the Anoff Community School – near Voltic’s Akwadum plant – which previously lacked access to potable water.

Nairobi Bottlers Limited, a division of CCBA in Kenya, has collaborated with the Kiambu county government, to adopt a portion of deforested land with plans to nurture it to recovery, planting 1,500 seedlings.

These and many other community initiatives are in addition to the targets that the leading African bottler has set ourselves to improve water efficiency by 25% from a 2010 baseline.

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