Coca Cola Beverages SA handed over two boreholes in the Chris Hani area to help alleviate the persistent water shortages and to give back to the communities that support the company.
The official hand-over of the water sources in Engcobo municipality, Deberha Village and Intsika Yethu, Bolotwa Village was conducted to coincide with National Water Week.
In the initiative dubbed “Coke Ville”, the beverages company collaborated with the national department of water and sanitation (DWS) and the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to ensure water was made accessible to the people in drought hot spots that had good underground water.
Coca Cola Beverages SA environmental manager and Coke Ville project manager Ntsako Baloyi indicated the boreholes were an off-grid system that was solar powered to mitigate potential power disruption.
“This is to ensure uninterrupted water supply even when there is no electricity. We extended the water system to four local schools in Bolotwa to expand beneficiation. The water comes fresh and ready for consumption.
“We started the project last year by conducting a geo-physics desktop study to check places with the potential of good underground water, and an electro-magnetic survey to confirm what we studied. We engaged the communities involved and in some places, found old dysfunctional boreholes, some of which we fixed,” he said.
Baloyi said the bulk of Coca Coca products required water, and that they committed to give back to the community the same volume of water they used for their products.
DWS deputy director in the water and sector support in the Eastern Cape, Selemeng Morapedi, said they were happy to work with big companies like Coca Cola which, when approached for assistance heeded the call without hesitation.
“We informed the beverages giant about the drought hot spots in the province and they quickly came on board to assist where they could.
“It is the responsibility of the department to develop bulk water infrastructure. What was done by Coca Cola was a great initiative. Our main focus is on dams and canals that transport a body of water to drier areas. When there are partners like Coca Cola who want to focus on underground water development and exploit the potential thereof, we are delighted,” said Morapedi.
She said Coca Cola hand-picked Chris Hani from the hot spots report as one of the places in the province that had a huge water shortage problem.
Ward 1 councillor Zoleka Tutwana expressed gratitude for the water intervention in the area, indicating that residents had been drinking dirty water with cattle from a nearby open water source.