Improving community access to potable water – a case study


Access to clean water and sanitation are basic necessities and are imperative in curbing the spread of Covid-19. Accessing adequate water supply is a challenge in many of the communities around our South African and Zimbabwean operations.

Our operations have addressed supply constraints in vulnerable host communities through major infrastructure projects and continue to focus on alleviating water shortages. We assist with strategic regional planning, local service provision, and work with local stakeholders to address immediate needs.

We participate in water boards in the areas where we operate in South Africa and Zimbabwe and assist with ensuring that bulk infrastructure is maintained, and long-term planning is in place.

In the past 10 years our Marula operations have spent approximately R18 million on water reticulation upgrade projects in the areas around its operations. Here, we have supplied standing pipes and water tanks to households and repaired, upgraded and drilled boreholes for communities.

In 2019 Impala Rustenburg completed a R30 million Luka water scheme upgrade project that is benefiting more than 16 000 community members that previously faced water supply challenges. Our three water works on our Impala Rustenburg mine are used to treat sewage and effluent from our mine, the Platinum Village housing project and the Freedom Park host community. The water recovered is used in our operations, reducing the need to import potable water which can be used by our surrounding communities.

At a direct local level, we are working with stakeholders, specifically municipalities, school principals and governing bodies on water conservation and climate change awareness.

In 2015 we built a dam and reservoir to supply water to our operations and Turf village communities in Zimbabwe. We have also drilled more than 60 boreholes to improve community access to potable water. Zimplats operates purification plants for the rural district council in Turf village, to provide water. Zimbabwe continues to endure a severe drought, putting further stress on limited sources. During FY2020, Zimplats assisted several communities and rural schools around its operations that had no access to potable water by installing solar powered boreholes and storage tanks. The facilities will benefit about 650 pupils and will support nutrition gardens to mitigate hunger in the communities. With most surface water points dry due to the drought, the borehole sites also serve as watering points for livestock.