2016 Community Plumbing Challenge

2016 Community Plumbing Challenge

It’s fairly easy to take the simple things in life for granted when living in a First World country. More specifically, sanitation, clean potable water and hygiene are things we don’t often consider to be a luxury rather than a necessity. But it most certainly is.

The Community Plumbing Challenge has been a huge success in recent years (Singapore 2014 and India 2015) and 2016 was no exception. It saw a collaboration of four multi-disciplined (plumbing, metalwork, architecture, engineering) teams from India, Australia, USA and South Africa, working with Sticky Situations, AutoDesk, the SOWETO Plumbing Academy, the DACN Arts collective, WOTIF and hosts – the WASSUP (Water, Amenities and Sanitation Services Upgrade Programme) Cooperative.

The event offers an exclusive personal and professional development opportunity for all involved, focussing on education, training, skills development and cultural exchange, manifested in practical action on-the-ground addressing design, construction and critical maintenance of public health facilities.

The Community Plumbing Challenge is organised and facilitated by IAPMO, in association with the World Plumbing Council (WPC), who appeal to all WPC member agencies to take the lead in organising and/or supporting representative team participation.

The goal of the Community Plumbing Challenge programme is to demonstrate the vital role of the plumbing industry in protecting public health. • The 2016 project required plumbers to design and install new sanitation systems for existing toilet and wash facilities across Diepsloot, working in close collaboration with the WASSUP team. New designs needed to take into consideration current infrastructure (including toilets, taps and drains), community sanitation needs, ongoing maintenance, and the ability to control and monitor water usage.

As well as providing top talent with an extraordinary experience that inspires fresh global outlook, the Community Plumbing Challenge represents an initiation to international aid and development fieldwork, focussing on sustainable impact and innovation for public health.

Meters and data loggers were installed in conjunction with the toilets to monitor water usage through the external taps and cisterns, in addition to movement sensors and door loggers in each of the toilets. This data will be used to map people to water usage in each of the toilets, and provide each team with clear data on how their initiatives have performed – with the results on display in September at the World Plumbing Conference in Capetown, South Africa.

Kudos to all involved; what an amazing initiative.

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