Until last year, the Dixie community, which is home to some 175 families, did not have access to clean, safe, running water. In April 2020, 15 taps installed across the Dixie village opened, ending years of struggle to find safe water to drink and use. Community members used to walk with buckets and wheelbarrows to find water. Some hired trucks and containers and drove far distances in search of water.
Eurolab Chairman, Gabe Simaan, brought the water scarcity issue in the Dixie village to the attention of Ivan Saltzman, Dis-Chem Pharmacies CEO in 2019. Eurolab has supported the Dixie village for several years, providing food parcels to those families most in need and supporting young people with their careers by providing bursaries.
Dis-Chem Pharmacies and the Dis-Chem Foundation financed the project and Innovation Africa was brought in as the technical partner to build the system. The Dis-Chem Foundation was established 15 years ago and aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged people in South Africa. Innovation Africa is a specialist NGO with a solid track record in building sustainable water and energy systems in rural communities throughout Africa. The water system relies on solar energy and gravity to pump water from boreholes into 15 taps installed across the village.
Construction took place with the full buy-in of the community and in close consultation with the Mnisi tribal authority. A water committee was established, and ten Dixie community members were employed on the project. They have acquired skills that they can now offer to future construction or water projects.
The water system in the Dixie village is sustainable – the community will continue to have access to clean running water for years to come. There are no running costs. Villagers were involved in building the water system and are involved in its ongoing maintenance.
According to the South African Constitution every citizen is entitled to a certain amount of water regardless of his ability to pay for it. Sadly, many communities still do not have access to safe water. Together with the Dis-Chem Foundation and Dis-Chem Pharmacies, Eurolab’s hope is that this water project can be replicated in other rural communities with no access to safe water.
*In the photo above: The Eurolab and Innovation Africa team with Patrick Gumede who coordinates Eurolab’s CSI contributions with village leaders