The water sachet plant initiative will ensure that residents have sufficient water during interruptions to the water supply. These water sachets are packaged in a form of a saddle bag and can be easily slung over the shoulder or carried like a bag.
The eThekwini Municipality’s innovation in the provision of drinking water is fundamental in ensuring system resilience and continuous supply under the scourge of climate change effects that are increasing besieging the country, according to Trading Services deputy city manager, Philemon Mashoko.
The water sachet plant initiative will ensure that residents have sufficient water during interruptions to the water supply. These water sachets are packaged in a form of a saddle bag and can be easily slung over the shoulder or carried like a bag. eThekwini has made great strides in the delivery of sustainable water services to residents despite being in the grips of the current drought.
The Water Sachet Plant initiative, which began 15 years ago, is one of the measures that have been implemented to assist in ensuring adequate water supply while eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) officials work swiftly to restore supply in affected areas if there is an interruption.
“It is our duty to ensure that residents have the basic supply of water at all times despite weather conditions and unexpected system interruptions. We strongly subscribe to the achievement of the sustainable development goals of which water security is one of them. The municipality is putting all possible measures in place to ensure the security of water supply to eThekwini residents. With the sachet innovation, basic water for human survival will be assured,” said Mashoko.
This innovative intervention allows water to be delivered to households through placing the water sachets over residential gates. This machinery, worth about R1, 3 million, is convenient because residents do not need to carry water in buckets and they just need to walk to their gates to fetch water. Depending on the severity of the water shortage, water tankers are still dispatched in affected areas alongside water sachets.
Each sachet is four litres which means that the two bags make up eight litres of potable water. The production rate of each machine is approximately 720 singe bags per hour or 360 saddlebags per hour thus giving the plant a combined output of 5720 litres of packed water per hour.
According to the City’s Integrated Development Plan 2016/17, urban growth and sustainability depends more on water than arguably any other resource or basic service.
The Water and Sanitation (EWS) Unit continually strives to introduce new and innovative methods to deliver services to residents. The city remains committed to progressively ensure the standardisation of provision and access to clean water.
The water sachet production plant takes a roll of specially designed sachet film which forms in into a tube and fills it with potable water and seals it so it forms a closed sachet that can be carried easily. The sachet bundle comprises of two conjoined four litre sachets or saddlebags that can be slung over the shoulder.
The initial water sachet machine was purchased about 15 years ago to allow water to be delivered to households by being placed over garden gates during interruptions to the water supply.
With the current drought, EWS Mechanical and Electrical Department was requested by members of the Drought War Room Committee to revive the machine. Due to aging machinery which posed a challenge in meeting demands, a new machine was purchased to operate from Unit’s Springfield Depot.
The water sachet plant has a potable water inlet which goes into a buffer storage tank. This is to ensure that production can continue for an hour even after the water supply has been interrupted. There are two stainless steel water sachet machines fed from two points.
Each machine consists of an electronic machine control system, a sachet film dispenser system, ultraviolet sterilisation light, ink jet printer, filling pump, sachet film former and sealer, filling and sealing mechanism and primary conveyor. Each machine has two stainless steel delivery conveyor belts which carry the sachets to the waiting trucks.
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