The New WRC Board’s visit to the Sanitation Demonstration Centre
Some of the WRC’s newly appointed Board members took time out of their busy schedules to visit the Sanitation Technology Demonstration Centre situated at the CSIR in Pretoria.
Since the centre, which has been nicknamed ‘toilet city’, opened a year ago, it has welcomed more than 700 visitors, from national and provincial department delegations to local communities and school children. The centre was partly funded by the WRC. The exhibit has grown from an initial 17 technologies on display to 35. All of the sanitation technologies displayed are off-grid options (i.e. they need not be connected to a centralised wastewater treatment plant). These include dry sanitation, urine diversion and waterborne systems. “We have really had an incredible response to the centre,” says Louiza Duncker of the CSIR Built Environment Unit, who initiated the site. “Communities especially find it extremely helpful to be able to physically see and experience the different sanitation options, which before they could only look at on paper.”
An important educational aspect of the site is that it allows municipal councillors especially, to see the acceptable standard specifications of sanitation. “Here at the sanitation demonstration centre people can see the standard size of a pit for a ventilated improved pit toilet, for example, or what the superstructure should look like,” explains WRC Director: Water Use and Waste Management, Jay Bhagwan. “This means that they will no longer accept substandard work from contractors.”
All the WRC Board members expressed their appreciation towards the site, the only one of its kind in Africa. They were all in agreement that the centre will go a long way towards improving the plight and dignity of many.