The Water Hub: From polluted water to safe reuse for growing food.

19 Nov 2020
19 Nov 2020

The Water Hub in Franschhoek  is an urban living lab where research is being undertaken by members of the EGS Department and Future Water Institute at UCT. The researchers are learning how to work with nature rather than against it. 

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The site is situated about 80km east of Cape Town in the beautiful valley of Franschhoek on an abandoned wastewater treatment works. It’s very seldom that a wastewater treatment plant is ever abandoned. It is also situated in a context that is a microcosm of South Africa’s socio-economic, spatial history and legacies of Apartheid legislation. Not more than 1 kilometre upslope of the site is an informal settlement where more than 5000 people struggle to live with limited water and sanitation services.

Surface water runoff from the settlement flows through the research site.

Researchers are using nature-based processes to clean this water and use this water to irrigate vegetables. The results are encouraging. The next phase of the work is in creating an opportunity for developing co-operative enterprises that will provide job opportunities that aims to operate within a circular, regenerative economy.