School almost off the grid

Principal Michael Gates and Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer, cut the ribbon to unveil the water purification plant at Rustenburg Girls High School.

Rustenburg Girls’ High School unveiled its new water-purification plant last Thursday.

The school raised R572 000 for the project and hopes to raise another R197 000 to cover the balance it owes.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer congratulated the school and said it showed how well South Africans could innovate when faced with a crisis.

“It is very pleasing to see that schools can be able to do things for themselves which helps to improve their situation and it also helps us as we don’t have to spend money on that particular school,” said Ms Schäfer.

Campus manager Myles Siebrits said the water-purification plant was one of several projects the school had to save water.

“We now have a treatment plant that produces daily water, which means that we don’t rely on the municipal supply,” he said.

School principal Michael Gates said Rustenburg had taken one more step in making itself self-sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“We are also a zero-waste school: we do not have any municipal bins. All our stuff is recycled or turned into compost, which is sold, and we are hoping that in the future we can have electricity supplied by our solar panels.”

The water produced by the school will be safe to drink. It will also be used for the showers and toilets, but unfiltered borehole water will be used for irrigation.

Head girl Zahra Mohamed said she hoped other schools would follow Rustenburg’s example.