A pair of 17-year olds have come up with an innovative solution to save water in disadvantaged schools.

Winners of the Nka’Thuto EduPropeller Innovation Expo, the youngsters from Bokamoso Secondary School in Limpopo explain: “About 1 000 litres of water are wasted daily at schools. Using waste water is the next step to preserving our water. Plus, in many disadvantaged schools, learning is disturbed during water stress.

“The aim of our project is to save water by reusing flushing water for school toilets.”

The pair developed a prototype that incorporated a sand-based filtration system and ash from burnt wood collected from the fire the school uses for its feeding program.

The filter separates solid waste from liquid waste while the ash is used to kill microorganisms such as bacteria in the water.

Because their system runs on electricity, they decided to collect the solid waste and exploit the presence of methane in the waste to generate energy.

The water is then redirected back to the sanitation system of the school. They stress however, that the water recovered from their system cannot be used for drinking as it does not meet the standards for drinking water.

After winning and being selected as one of 10 projects to go through to the final stage of the Nka’Thuto TechnoPreneurship workshop, the youngsters had to convert their solution into a business case. They were able to co-opt a third team member, and the trio attended the TechnoPreneurship workshop in December, then pitched their business case. The tech start-up they created is called Suess.