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ESG evaluation of technologies for the rehabilitation of an aquifer between Botswana and South Africa

Challenges in improving water quality in the Botswana karst aquifer

Manuel Krauß and Evelyn Mathyl have been working together with Eric Egbe Igbinigie from ATS in 2023 in South Africa and Botswana on an ESG assessment of aquifer remediation technologies. The project aimed to reduce the nitrate content of the aquifer through decentralized wastewater treatment, groundwater remediation and drinking water treatment.

FiW consulted KfW Development Bank as a subcontractor in this project on behalf of the coordinator IWW gGmbH and the partners Assured Turnkey Solutions (PTY) Ldt and UMVOTO Africa (PTY) Ldt. The aim was to assess the technical feasibility and to develop and evaluate possible alternatives.

In 2023, the consortium consisting of FiW and ATS conducted the evaluation in the Botswana. The objective was to investigate the transnational aquifer affected by human activities, in particular high nitrate levels. The aquifer stretches across the borders of South Africa and Botswana, playing a pivotal role in the regional water balance. As a critical regional drinking water resource, its increased nitrate levels pose a threat to drinking water quality. A major contributor to these elevated nitrate levels is the contamination from untreated wastewater from latrines or septic tanks.

The methodological approach includes a comprehensive assessment of data, detailed analysis of reports and publications, field research and engagement with local stakeholders. Participants included representatives of national and local authorities, service providers and academics. Based on these findings, stakeholder information documents were prepared and then discussed in stakeholder involvement workshops.

The main tasks of FiW and ATS were to evaluate the proposed sanitation systems and to conduct an ESG evaluation for the entire project.