JO JO DIPS INTO WATER FILTRATION
WORDS: SHIRLEY LEGUERN AND CINDY BOTTOMLEY
Jo Jo, the water tank business that is synonymous with storing this precious resource in both rural and urban areas has diversified into water purification.
Just as they were ahead of their game when the business started over 40 years ago with water storage seen as essential in farming and rural communities but almost unheard of in cities, they have launched a one of a kind purification system that will eliminate nasty bacteria and chemicals at a time when most municipal water is still regarded as safe to drink.
With service delivery and dated infrastructure already a huge concern and climate change threatening to make South Africa and even more water scarce country than it already is, chances are that the burden of ensuring that water is both available and clean will fall more and more on home owners.
A CLOSER LOOK AT WATER
Right now, South Africans can count themselves fortunate to live in a country that has some of the cleanest water and air in the world.
This is backed up by data published in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual World Health Statistics 2017 report which compiles data from the organisation’s 194 member states on 21 health-related SDG targets, providing a snapshot of both gains and threats to the health of the world’s people.
The problem is that a lot has happened since then and reports and pictures of sewage spills into rivers and stories of mining and agricultural chemicals leeching into underground water is becoming more and more common. As the quality of our water is dropping, the price of our water is rising.
“For decades, we have taken South Africa on a journey to harvest water, store water and to listen to the water. Now we are stepping into people’s homes and showing them how to filter their water straight from the tap. We have long spoken about water security and water as a resource. That is why water harvesting and water storage is so important to us. Now, we need to talk about water filtration, and about trusting the quality of water we use on a daily basis,” explains JoJo’s MD, Grant Neser.
Sebasti Badenhorst, national sales and marketing manager of Jo Jo explains that, whereas most water filters work like sieves, reducing the amount of sediment and chlorine to make the water look and taste better, they seldom remove what you can’t see – the microscopic harmful residue of bacteria, viruses, parasites and trace chemicals.
“Our range has unique disruptor filter technology which uses a process of electro-adsorption, which creates an electrical field activated by water. The process attracts and removes more contaminants than any other filter on the market. It’s the same technology that NASA uses,” she says.
Going further into the technicalities, she explains that the Disruptor® technology patented by the multi-national Ahlstrom which Jo Jo is using is essentially a high-performance non-woven filter media with the ability to reduce membrane biofualants and bacteria. It is designed specifically for improving the quality of water through particulate filtration using both electro-adsorption and mechanical filtration. Improved taste and odour qualities are provided through the addition of powdered activated carbon.
“By combining all three water treatment methods into one product, (we have) the first non-woven media capable of competing with polymeric membranes and carbon block in terms of filtration efficiency and water quality, but at significantly higher flow rates and with lower energy consumption,” she continues.
All that said, the real question for most of us is whether the water that comes out of our taps is safe.
Sebasti reassures us that the levels of chlorine in municipal water across South Africa are non-toxic. This stalwart has been used to kill bacteria since the 1800s. There can be health side-effects to using too much chlorine and it can make the water smell. A good water filter eliminates this risk.
The problem is that bacteria, viruses, parasites and trace chemicals can build up in the body and affect our health. This is particularly worrying when drinking from natural water sources such as rivers or dams, boreholes and wells.
Jo Jo filters will ensure their harvested water, whether from rain or a borehole, is healthy. Not just clean, but healthy. If you have borehole water in mining areas or agricultural areas, you will need to filter that water.”
DROPPING IN ON THE BUSINESS
Although Sebasti believes that the need to filter water will increase and that this will become an important niche in the company’s overall business, she says that storage will remain a major focus.
In addition to catching water for use in gardens and swimming pools, many owners are now also storing water as a back-up as municipal outages become more and more common.
“Our world-class water harvesting and storage solutions, particularly in areas where water accessibility remain a serious challenge, will retain pride of place in our product and service offering. The new water filtration product range is an extension of our out-of-house solutions, creating an in-house water storage and filtration solution in the local market,” she says.
The company is not only more than 40 years old but proudly South African so it remains close to the challenges on-the-ground.
The core of our business is simple. We answer needs around infrastructure and sanitation, as well as a global need for us all to be more responsible with the precious resource of water. In 2019, we decided to grow from just being a water storage company to a complete water solutions company.”
“We have become an iconic brand with JoJo Tanks the common name for water tanks across South Africa. It all began during the seventies in Groblersdal when lucerne farmer Johannes Joubert discovered the rotational moulding system method which allowed for the cost-effective manufacture of plastic tanks on a large scale.
“Joubert saw it as an alternative to expensive fertilizer tanks and sent his daughter, Adri, to study plastics technology at Pretoria Technikon. She was the only woman in a class of 80 men. On weekends, they would experiment with plastics and temperatures in the kitchen oven. The first factory was on their Groblersdal farm,” Sebasti continues.
Today, Jo Jo manufactures water and chemical storage tanks across a range of applications from agriculture to home and industry as well as treatment and pump products in eight factories in South Africa and one in Zimbabwe. It employs around 400 people.
POURING OVER FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES
“As a company, we are very aware of our responsibility in the water security chain and direct resources towards water education and security in water-scarce areas and where the quality is bad. For now, our target market is those who want and need access to clean, healthy water, not just pretty-looking water,” says Sebasti.
Jo Jo is confident that the water filtration market will see significant growth, particularly in the hospitality industry as well as the health sector and in rural areas.
Another opportunity comes from consumers who favour bottled waters as a safer solution but do not want to grow the already astronomical numbers of single use plastic containers that make their way into water courses and oceans causing massive environmental damage.
“While bottled water is healthy, it brings with it the issues of plastics and microplastics, which strangle our oceans and which have even been found in tap water. The Daily Maverick reported in 2018 that microplastics, which are smaller than 5mm in size, were found in tap water in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Toxic chemicals could enter the body attached to microplastics. Then there is the carbon footprint of bottled water through transporting it on trucks and ships around the world,” Sebasti notes.
The company’s decision to diversify into filtration hinges on eliminating the need to bring in bottled water or tanks into homes or offices. Water can be filtered straight from the
It makes financial sense, eco sense and health sense to take charge of the quality of water coming out your tap at work and home.”
The Jo Jo water filtration range a whole-house filter that is connected to the main water supply line, an under sink filter unit, a countertop filter, an inline filter, a jug and a lightweight filter bottle.
The long-lasting refill cartridges are easy to replace and ensure zero water wastage during the filtration process.
Further information is available at www. jojo.co.za.