SA develops new toilet system

UN figures estimate that 2.5 billion people still lack access to proper toilets.

FILE: Protestors from informal settlements in Cape Town march against poor sanitation. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Water Research Commission (WRC) has funded the development of a flushing toilet that uses only one litre of water per flush.

In 2009 the WRC commissioned a research project to test the development of the one litre 'pour flush', a funnel-shaped pedestal which was tested according to international norms and piloted and demonstrated in 22 households.

"Pour-flush toilet designs offer the benefits of flushing excreta past a water seal while not requiring connection to reticulated water or sewerage systems," says WRC executive manager Jay Bhagwan.

Pour-flush systems are currently being demonstrated in and around Cape Town, including at a crèche in the Klein Begin community in Grabouw, the Klipheuwel informal settlement in Cape Town and in the Enkanini informal settlement in Stellenbosch.

According to United Nations (UN) reports, about 2.5 billion people still lack access to proper toilets.

The UN has declared 19 November as World Toilet Day, emphasising its campaign to promote safe sanitation and to end open defecation.

Earlier this month the Western Cape Economic Development Department said it feared the so-called toilet wars, which began in June this year, and related protest action would stunt the province's financial growth.

Protestors went on the rampage, dumping faeces at the Cape Town City Council during a demonstration in the Cape Town CBD.