EU Project SafeWaterAfrica

Self-sustaining purification technology for safe water supply and management in rural Africa

This project focuses on a major challenge in African countries: In the 15 sub-Saharan African countries, 108 million people have limited or no access to clean water. The SafeWaterAfrica project is researching and developing an autonomous and decentralized water treatment system for rural and peri-urban areas that is highly efficient in breaking down harmful pollutants while being very effective in killing microbiological contaminants. The system will be designed to serve 300 people in rural areas. With a market penetration of 3000 systems, the project has the potential to serve 900,000 people within approximately four years of project completion. The project includes capacity building and enterprise development so that ownership and responsibility for the system is in the hands of local rural communities.

Joint European-African development will result in a cost-effective solution that is easy to handle and operate. It will take into account the specific cultural aspects of the region and will be designed to operate with local staff and under the responsibility of local communities or local water suppliers. These “Made in Africa” systems will therefore have a high uptake in rural areas, which will encourage the adoption of the technology.

Eleven transdisciplinary partners from Europe and Africa, supported by eight companies and organizations on the advisory board, will work together over a project period of 42 months to adapt a specific European water treatment technology into an African water treatment system solution. In addition, SafeWaterAfrica will provide the technological basis for innovative business models related to the development of water treatment products that are manufactured, installed, operated and maintained in Africa. The resulting creation of new jobs will contribute to social well-being and promote economic growth in rural and peri-urban areas of Southern African countries. It also avoids the well-known difficulties of accepting foreign-made products and promotes the sustainability of the water treatment solution. The new business models will give the project the potential to become a best-practice solution for other infrastructure delivery needs in other low-income rural areas.

The overall objective of the SafeWaterAfrica project is the development, implementation and application of a new autonomous water purification system “Made in Africa” with an adapted and integrated European low energy water treatment technology.

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  • Fraunhofer IST (Germany)
  • CONDIAS GmbH (Germany)
  • Università degli Studi di Ferrara (Italy)
  • University of Castilla La Mancha (Spain)
  • Advance Call (Pty) Ltd (South Africa)
  • Virtual Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd (South Africa)
  • Tshwane University of Technology (South Africa)
  • Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (South Africa)
  • Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (South Africa)
  • Salomon Lda (South Africa)
Kickoff Meeting on June 8th 2016 in Pretoria (South Africa)