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Ripples of Change: The Current State of Water Solutions in East Africa

Portatank being delivered by Dhow on Mafia Island
Portatank being delivered by Dhow on Mafia Island

Greetings, dear readers. Cheers to 2024, everyone! Come along on an insightful journey as we explore the rapidly changing landscape of water solutions in East Africa, with a special emphasis on Tanzania. We are at the forefront of innovation, adopting ideas that promise a sustainable water future while addressing difficulties head-on as the currents of change sweep through the region.


Current Trends in the Water Industry

Sunset water solution installation in Ubenazomozi

East Africa's water sector is undergoing a revolutionary upswing driven by variables as diverse as population growth, urbanisation, and climate change. Unprecedented levels of investment in water technology reflect a strong resolve to advance sustainability and adopt digitalization.

The increasing acceleration of creative and digital water management solutions is one of the major megatrends of the twenty-first century. This paradigm shift is particularly important because almost 90% of children in the region live in areas that are experiencing severe levels of water stress. Globally, there are significant issues: 3.6 billion people lack access to properly managed sanitation, and 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.

Monumental Shifts in the Water Industry Landscape

Portatank for irrigation of a banana plantation, water storage.
Portatank for irrigation of a banana plantation

Much is changing in the field of water solutions. The market for water purifiers worldwide is expected to develop at an exponential rate, reaching an estimated value of USD 54.48 billion by 2030, up from USD 30.62 billion in 2022. A significant partnership between Europe and Africa has unveiled a state-of-the-art water filtration system that is capable of filtering out chemical pollutants and sanitising water by getting rid of germs. A pioneering Ksh435 million decentralised water desalination project in East Africa is bringing in a new era of sustainable water availability.


Exploration of Filtration and Purification Systems

Let's dive deeper into the core of water solutions, exploring the common questions around products used to clean water—filtration and purification systems. Water purifiers manifest in two primary types: point-of-entry systems, filtering water at the building's entry point, and point-of-use systems, ensuring safe consumption where water is used. In Tanzania, the trend is leaning heavily on self-managed, clean water systems.

SS water purifiers ready for shipment
SS water purifiers ready for shipment

Reverse Osmosis (RO) emerges as a stalwart technology in water purification, providing a reliable method to ensure water quality. This method of purification is commonly employed when the source water is high in total dissolved solids. In regions grappling with water scarcity, desalination assumes a pivotal role, providing a lifeline for clean water sourced from the oceans.

Strategic Insights into Water Storage Tanks and Large Bladder Solutions

Turning our attention to storage options, which are essential to efficient management of water resources, we come across SBS Tanks®, the leading producer of modular steel panel water storage tanks in Africa. These tanks are used for a variety of purposes, such as storing water for drinking needs, on-farm processing, and animal husbandry.

Portatank display and set-up for Nane Nane, livestock water
Portatank® display and set-up for Nane Nane

Tanzania is seeing a rise in the popularity of Portatank, a well-known South African company that specialises in water storage solutions. Their most recent price list offers an unmatched competitive offering, guaranteeing a fiercely trustworthy water storage solution that meets the various demands of communities and businesses. Due to our ability to deliver and install Portatanks in places that traditional hardshell tanks cannot physically reach, this product has gained a significant amount of traction with property and building management firms in the big cities as well as off-grid, remote tourism operators and the agricultural sector.

Emergency Portatank delivery by Cessna Caravan
Emergency Portatank delivery by Cessna Caravan
Portatank delivered by Boda Boda, easy to transport on motorcycle
Portatank delivered by Boda Boda

Portatank pick-up and go with your private vehicle

Innovative bespoke bladder solutions from trailblazers such as Damsak are gaining ground in the region, providing versatile and efficient storage options. In addition to storing water, these unique devices can also store most agricultural fluids, transformer oil, wine, diesel, fertiliser, cane juice, blood, and even natural gases.

DAMSAK Sasol Mining project in SA, 250,000L
DAMSAK Sasol Mining project in SA

With the backing of a significant US$ 294 million budget from the Tanzanian Parliament, these technologies have the potential to completely transform the region's water storage environment. This investment will allow for the implementation of cutting-edge water storage solutions and significantly improve access to clean water for residents in rural areas.

Tanzania: Unveiling Trends, Addressing Concerns, and Initiating Major Changes

The World Bank's 18th Tanzania Economic Update reveals both achievements and obstacles. Even though access to WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services has improved significantly, only 61% of households have access to a basic water supply, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive solutions. This emphasises even more the rationale behind the trend of enterprises and households choosing self-managed systems.

Old school plastic tanks using full truck

Traditional hardshell tanks damaged in transit
Traditional hardshell tanks damaged in transit

A noteworthy programme is the Tanzanian government's Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP), which is set to run from 2006 to 2025. Encouraged by the government's declaration of an adequate budget, the nation is prepared to deal with the problems related to water and achieve the goals outlined in WSDP III.

LifeSaver installation at Mandera Girls School, #EndtheWalkforWater
LifeSaver installation at Mandera Girls School

In the domain of water filtration and purification, a Tanzanian researcher has earned accolades, claiming the African Innovation Prize for a groundbreaking filtration system incorporating nanoparticles. This innovation seamlessly aligns with the overarching goals of the Water Sector Development Programme. We congratulate and commend actors like this, standing on the frontlines of water solution science in Africa.

The future seems bright as we navigate the currents of change. Tanzania and other countries in East Africa are setting the stage for a sustainable water future with the help of cutting-edge technologies in desalination, RO, filtration, and purification. This acknowledgement encourages others to push the envelope of what is feasible and acts as a catalyst for additional developments in the field of water technology. Our region's urgent water problems can be effectively addressed by cultivating a culture of innovation and cooperation. Research and development expenditures allow us to guarantee that our solutions are not only practical but also economical. We can collaborate to deploy these solutions on a broader scale by forming partnerships with local governments and communities, which will ultimately improve everyone's access to clean water.

Portatank feeding residential home from stand, domestic water storage
Portatank feeding residential home from stand

By working together, we can make sure that every community in East Africa has access to clean, safe water. We can create a more promising future where water scarcity is not a concern by forming alliances and funding research and development.

A Special Note: Water Solutions and the Impact on Livestock and Agriculture Operations

If there’s one thing we have validated and gained more experience on, is that East Africa must be approached with a very clear understanding of the way of life here: with a focus on farming practices, modes of transport, culture, and the unique social and economic challenges to name a few. The recent El Nino rains have justified and solidified our vision, mission and drive. Important infrastructure has been damaged, however our ability to deliver solutions has been unaffected. Our unique filters can be used off-grid, while our storage solutions can be delivered by any mode of transport, including the traditional “over the shoulder” method.

Portatank 10,000L is only 57kg DIY
Portatank 10,000L is only 57kg DIY

Our commitment has always been to provide solutions that are tailored for the African environment, drawing from our experience and challenges of being born here and living here. Now that we have built here, transported here, and farmed here, the decision to offer solutions that WE also needed in our own lives and projects has never been so crystal clear. Countless success stories from off-grid users as well as seeing firsthand our ability to offer quick and efficient solutions in situations that were totally impossible to do with traditional products, has been a source of motivation for us to think even deeper into more of these African tailored solutions! Delivering 20,000 litres of water storage via Cessna Caravan to the middle of the bush, during an emergency, within 6 hours of customer ordering, is one example that stands out.

10,000L Portatank ready to fly, easy transport
10,000L Portatank ready to fly

In our forthcoming articles, we'll plunge deeper into the intricacies of these water solutions, exploring their profound impact on various industries, communities, and the environment. Stay tuned for more insights as we continue to ride the ripples of change together.

Until our next exploration, please subscribe to our stories and follow us on social media!

Boda Boda delivery option with all products, motorbike
Boda Boda delivery option with all products

Author - Naweed Mulla - Founder & Managing Director for AAS

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