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WATER MANAGEMENT: Not Another Basic Services Story...


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE Western Cape’s reputation for world-class water depends on mission-critical logistics.

In the context of the world’s water crisis, providing safe, clean drinking water in Southern Africa is particularly trying.

The Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) identifies the regional imperatives as local government support, water security and conservation. There is little room for error. Without undergoing stringent disinfection processes, water simply isn’t safe to drink – outbreaks of cholera and other fatal diseases become an immediate risk.

Disinfection of potable water supplies has been hailed as one of the most successful public health initiatives ever undertaken. It is estimated that around 25 000 lives worldwide are saved every day as a result of disinfection.

Throughout the world, chlorination is the preferred process of disinfection. When Peru made a decision to stop chlorination of its water in 1991, the ensuing cholera outbreak led to the tragic death of 4 000 people. Life Magazine has ranked water purification and disinfection 46th in its list of top 100 advances of the millennium.

There are only three producers of chlorine in South Africa, and two of them produce it for their own consumption. NCP Chlorchem produces liquid chlorine for the water purification market – for the whole of South Africa – from its EIA-approved plant in Chloorkop, Kempton Park. This creates a unique logistics challenge for the municipalities of the Western Cape.

Constitutionally, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is the custodian of South Africa’s water resources. The municipalities are tasked with delivering water services, and face relentless scrutiny in the coordination of the myriad functions involved in the processes – performed in partnership with private sector service providers, all of whom must comply with stringent Safety, Health, Quality and Environment (SHEQ) scores measures.

Despite the logistical challenges in the Western Cape, the Cape Metropolitan Council was still awarded Blue Drop status at the Awards ceremony in June this year.

PW Pretorius from MetsiChem iKapa says, “As NCP Chlorchem’s official distributor in the Western Cape, we know how important the disinfection process is in maintaining Blue Drop status. But the process itself depends entirely on having the right amount of chlorine at the right place at the right time – and the chlorine comes from Johannesburg.”

The liquid chlorine that MetsiChem iKapa stores in its EIA-accredited warehouse is an industry-leading product of NCP Chlorchem, whose Floyd Masombuka says, “Quality liquid chlorine is vital in the fight to keep South Africa’s water systems safe and sustainable. Radical SHEQ levels are required on all fronts – from ourselves as manufacturers, from MetsiChem iKapa as our distributors, and from Cargo Carriers as our long-haul partner from Johannesburg to the Cape.”

Cargo Carriers, as a logistics partner in the Western Cape’s greater water purification supply chain, by virtue of its role must also comply with the highest health and safety standards. All vehicles transporting chemicals are fitted with Hazchem safety boards and transport emergency cards (containing product classification, UN numbers and emergency specialist contact numbers).

Without top SHEQ scores, you are not in business,” says Cargo Carriers’ head of chemicals, Johan Kruger. “When transporting liquid chlorine your drivers need to know what they are doing in any given scenario. Continually raising the bar in driver training and support is literally a 24-hour job. To do it correctly requires a lot of capacity in terms of fleet as well as safety provisioning.”

The logistics partnership between NCP Chlorchem and Cargo Carriers has now been in place for over a decade, and the trust between all parties has been earned through compliance with the highest levels of health and safety.


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