Promising matches for industrial waste water in South Africa

The Dutch water sector has a presence at various levels in South Africa. In 2018, the extreme drought in South Africa made efficient water use and alternative water sources a priority. The Netherlands focused on the re-use of industrial waste water as one of the solutions.


The WISA Conference in Cape Town offered a platform for potential solutions for the water sector in South Africa. NWP organised two workshops at the event, one of which was on the theme of efficient water use in industry. The workshops were part of a matchmaking process made possible by the Partners for Water Programme, that links Dutch expertise to interested South African parties. Wim Maaskant, an experienced expert in industrial waste water, led the efficient water use in industry workshop. “Everyone knows that water in South Africa is a very big issue. On the way from the airport to the WISA, the taxi driver said that his daily water quota had been reduced from 400 to 50 litres.”

“Everyone knows that water in South Africa is a very big issue”

Collaboration at governmental level
During the WISA, South Africa and the Netherlands confirmed their cooperation in the field of water by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU focuses, among other things, on efficient water use and water governance, and on capacity development and involving young people in water. The MoU was signed by Water Envoy Henk Ovink and the South African Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti.

During the workshop we explored opportunities for co-creation in various sectors

Wim Maaskant continues: “This urgency is also becoming visible for industrial waste water. Waste water can be anything: organic waste water from a dairy, the effluent from a brewery, water from the mining industry, or rinsing and washing water. During the workshop, which was attended by more than 20 organisations from the Netherlands and South Africa, we explored concrete opportunities for co-creation in various sub-sectors. The Dutch Embassy and NWP had prepared and organised the workshop very well and it was much in demand. Dutch technology will allow considerable savings to be made.

Interest in water saving came from a range of industries. One of these was AB InBev, the largest beer brewer in the world, that wants to further reduce the number of litres of water per litre of beer produced in South Africa. Another was South African Airlines, which uses a lot of water to clean aircrafts. In this, they can follow the example of Schiphol. There are local providers in South Africa itself, but as yet they do not have high-quality solutions. They too are interested in Dutch expertise which offers opportunities for co-creation: Dutch technology can add value to existing solutions offered by South African parties. After all, if there is demand, there is certainly supply!”

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