Mine Drainage Solutions: a Small Scale System for South Africa

Posted on 24 June 2013


Mining has been a booming business in South Africa for the last 150 years. After closing of the mines, the mine shaft areas suffered from frequent flooding which polluted both surface and groundwater with chemicals, iron, various metals, radioactive materials, etc. This problem is referred to as acid mine drainage (AMD). Unlike the population in urban areas, the rural population in for example the agricultural sector currently lack adequate water filtration systems due to the high costs of certain systems. Therefore, rural population is forced to use polluted water for consumption, sanitation, agricultural etc. which has resulted in serious health problems.

The goal of the project is to provide a complete solution for filtering drinking and agriculture water in rural South-Africa in a cost-efficient and effective way. An innovative concept will be implemented which is able to filter the polluted drinking and irrigation water, resulting in a decrease of health problems.

The consortium will examine the feasibility of the system in the agricultural sector where a significant amount of farmers are suffering from the contaminated water. This has been acknowledged by a poultry farmer and two NGOs. Since the poultry industry is the largest industry in the agricultural sector, the consortium will start by examining the feasibility of the system in this industry first.



Common goal of this project: “to provide a complete solution for filtering drinking and irrigation water in rural South-Africa in a cost-efficient and effective way.” In addition, the following ambitions have been expressed:

  • To improve the sustainable Dutch-South African cooperation in the field of water treatment;
  • To prevent health problems for the South African population;
  • To scale up the project in other South African sectors and to apply the complete solution in other similar (southern) African regions.


  1.  Water analysis and identification: Complete analysis report of the water composition and technical requirements
  2. Technical and commercial analysis: Complete analysis report of the technical solution and market approach
  3. Testing and verification: Report on the test results and usability
  4. Evaluation: Feasibility conclusions, project evaluation and final report


Project location

Project partners

  • Alterra/Wageningen UR
  • BSS Holland
  • Partners voor Water