As the country battles water shortages caused by drought, people in Winterveld, Soshanguve, Pretoria, have taken matters into their own hands.
The community has come up with an innovative way of creating their own source of water from boreholes.
The water is pumped in a playful but productive way using a pumping system called a PlayPump that is powered by children playing. The children play on a
merry-go-round (playpump) on school property, which is connected to a borehole. By pushing the merry-go-round, they power the pump, which in turn pumps water from a borehole into a water tank.
Once the water reaches the tank, the community can easily access it through a communal tap at any time.
Owner of Vuma Tshepanang Day Care Centre Patricia Mahlori, who has a Playpump installed in her yard, said the initiative has been of great help to the community and has been able to alleviate the pressures of not having water available at all times due to the drought.
“We are really thankful for the project. It has helped us a lot in the past and more so now that we have been facing dry weather conditions.
“Scores of children usually come here on a daily basis after school to play on the merry-go-round and not only does this help in providing water for the community, it also keeps them off the streets and that alone makes me very happy.
“Although the government provides us with clean drinking water in our own homes, this initiative ensures that we have a constant source of water.”
Mahlori added that the initiative has brought the community together and promoted social cohesion amongst children.
“Playing on a merry-go-round has always been fun for children, so there is never a shortage of volunteers.”
Playpumps pumping water across the country
The first Playpump was installed in Kwazulu-Natal in 1996 and so far, more than 900 pumps have been installed throughout the country and provide clean drinking water to numerous communities.
Each Playpump has the capacity to generate approximately 600 to 800 litres of water per hour.
According to Director at Roundabout Water Solutions Sandra Hayes, the idea to have Playpumps was inspired by a farmer in Pretoria who used the same system at his farm.
“We initially saw this at a farm show nearby and we thought this would be great to have in schools and since our first installation, we have never looked back.
“A lot of our Playpumps are installed in primary schools where children are bound to play on the merry-go-round so we really are changing lives with this project.
“The project has been welcomed with open arms and we’ve been receiving amazing feedback over the years at the places we’ve been to,” said Hayes, who added that they receive funding from companies and individuals in the form of donations.