More than water

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21 March 2022 – South Africa is one of the most water scarce countries in the world and is prone to droughts. With more than 3 million households without access to clean running water, the shortage crisis is ever-growing and there’s a need for proactive and effective solutions. 

Launched in 2020, the Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) Coke Ville Project- an off-grid, solar-powered groundwater harvesting, and treatment programme, is targeted at indigent communities experiencing water insecurity. To date the project has generated more than 150 million litres of water to the benefit of more than 15 000 households in urban and peri-urban communities across 9 sites in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal, with a projected 12 more systems planned for 2022.

Globally, The Coca-Cola Company’s Water Stewardship Strategy 2030, is a three-pronged strategy to water which is focused on regenerative operations, healthy watersheds, and resilient communities.

“Consistent access to clean running water remains a challenge for many rural and peri-urban communities across South Africa. Having access to clean running water is the difference between compromised human health, environment protect and socio-economic development.” says Nozicelo Ngcobo, CCBSA Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director.

CCBSA’s efforts in support of the Water Stewardship Strategy in South Africa shows how a global strategy can be turned into concrete local programmes that can enhance quality of life.Ngcobo added that, enhanced community water resilience is focused on the provision of clean access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, empowering women and girls, who are the most vulnerable in most of the communities where we operate. This pillar also focuses on assisting communities to adapt to impacts of climate change. 

Regenerative operations are intended to reduce local shared water challenges by complying with Coca-Cola’s water stewardship requirements to prevent water wastage, reduce the amount of water being used and safely discharge water, as well as achieve regenerative water use by reducing, reusing, recycling and replenishing within our operations. “Our Strategy focuses on sustainable, efficient water usage, improving local water challenges and partnering with others to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, with a focus on women and girls”, said Ngcobo.

Healthy watersheds are about rehabilitation, restoration and protection of our watersheds and catchments. This second pillar is aimed at addressing long term, sustainable and cost-effective water security through nature-based solutions such as clearing of alien invasive species. 

The Water Stewardship Strategy is in tandem with the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goal 6 and the National Development Plan, both of which advocate for universal and fair access to clean drinking water for all, by 2030. March 22 is World Water Day and this year’s theme is “Groundwater – making the invisible, visible”. The theme is aimed at key-decision and policy makers all over the world.

“By implementing water sustainability practices, we reduce costs, protect ourselves from operational disruptions resulting from insufficient water supplies, and maintain and strengthen our license to operate. It ultimately results in more than water”, concludes Ngcobo.

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