Water situation in South Africa

There are multiple districts in the Eastern cape that have already declared a state of disaster as a result of water scarcity due to a drought that has began in May 2017. 

Many believe that the situation in the Eastern Cape is in fact worse than the situation in the Western Cape. 

See some of the following articles: 

The other water crisis: Eastern Cape is in serious danger

Crisis as East Cape drought deepens

Eastern Cape Drought: Rapidly overtaking the Cape Town crisis 

We’re worse off than Cape Town, say drought-hit Eastern Cape residents

PE residents urged to use 50L a day as water crisis deepens

Cape Town Water Crisis

Since 2015 Cape Town has been experiencing a drought of epidemic proportions. At this point water levels in dams around the city began to drop from 71.9% in 2014 to 50.1% in 2015.

Water restrictions are a legal measure used by cities to curb water usage. See our blog post for more on the water restrictions in Cape Town.  

Water restriction levels differ between municipalities in the Western Cape. To see which level applies to your area click here

A number of water augmentation programmes have been initiated by the City of Cape Town including groundwater extraction, the use of water from aquifers, and desalination (producing potable water from sea water). 

The local government has not been silent about the crisis. 

Read Premier Helen Zille’s answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Cape Town’s water crises.

Read Mayor Patricia De Lille’s statement: Advancing water resilience: getting to an additional 500 million litres of new water a day.

Day Zero is the day that the dam levels drop to a point where they will no longer be able to sustain the city’s demand. At this point all residential taps will be shut and residents will need to collect water from 200 designated points. Read our Day Zero blog post for more on this. 

The City of Cape Town believes that it can avert day zero if all citizens stays within the daily limit of 87L per person.

The hope is to have enough water to last until the winter rains, at which point the City’s larger water augmentation projects (like desalination) should come into affect. 

  • A shower to the maximum of 2 minutes (20 litres);
  • Drinking water (2 litres);
  • Daily hygiene – brushing teeth, washing hands etc. (4 litres);
  • Doing the dishes and laundry (23 litres);
  • Three toilet flushes (27 litres).

The above usage totals 80 litres (a further valuable saving of 7 litres per person per day).

If Day Zero arrives each person will need to collect 25L per day from designated stations. But how should one use those precious few litres?

  • Bucket bath with cloth (2 litres);
  • Drinking water (2 litres);
  • Daily hygiene – brushing teeth, washing hands etc. (4 litres);
  • Doing the dishes (4 litres)
  • Essential laundry washing in a bucket (5 litres) 
  • Composting toilet (0 litres) or camping toilet (5 litres)
  • Total: 22 Litres

For more information on the crisis from the Western Cape Government go here.

Atmospheric Water Generators

An AWG extracts moisture from the air using dehumidifying technology. It then purifies that water using a multi-step filtration process involving Reverse Osmosis and UV Sterilisation. Finally it stores the water and dispenses it for easy and convenient use. 

Yes, water produced from an Atmospheric Water Generator is more than safe, it is some of the purest water available. 

The entire process involves a 3-step air filtration process as well as a 4 or 6-step water filtration process depending on the model.

This involves an Aluminium Separator and an HEPA Cotton Filter to filter bigger particles like dust, powder, smoke, pollen, etc. The air then passes through an Activated Carbon Modified Molecular Sieve to remove impurities of organics, smells, viruses, benzene, ammonia, etc. from the air.

Once it condenses, the water goes through a  Ultra Filtration filter, or a PP Cotton filter combined with a Pre-Activated Carbon filter to further filter impurities of organics, smells, viruses, benzene, ammonia, etc. The water then passes through a Particulate Carbon Filter and a Solid Carbon Block or a combination of Reverse Osmosis and Ion Exchange Resin in order to filter smaller bacteria, organics, colloid, and peculiar smells. Finally the water passes through an Ultra Filtration Filter combined with either a Solid Carbon Block filter or a Post Activated Carbon Filter in order to filter out harmful ions.

Once the filtration process is complete, pure drinking water is stored, ready to be dispensed.

In addition to the filtration process the machine sterilizes the filtered water with UV light every other hour in order to ensure that the water remains healthy fresh, and perfect for drinking.

The water goes through a special filtration process (see above) in order to remove all odours and chemicals from the water. What results is pure, great tasting drinking water. 

In addition to the minimal cost of producing water from the air, purified air water is almost certainly much purer and more environmentally friendly than bottled water.

Besides the enormous cost of buying bottled water, it is having a disastrous effect on the environment due to the pollution caused by all the plastic bottles.

In addition, bottled water is not as healthy as one might think. There are three hazordous elements often released into the water by a plastic bottle, namely, Bisphenol A (BPA), Polythylene Terephthalate (PET), and Phthalates. BPA can cause ovarian, prostate, and breast cancer, adversely affect fetuses, infants and children’s brains, and prostate glands, and also increase the occurrence of attention deficit disorder, asthma, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior. PET bottles have been found to contain saliva, food residues, and even fecal matter when reused. Phthalates give bottles their flexibility and have been found to cause testicular atrophy, liver cancer, and sterility in males.

Of the water itself, numerous studies have found significant levels of chemical and bacterial contaminants exceeding those of industry standards, deeming up to 33% of bottled water, “unfit for human consumption.”

Water generated from an AWG is almost healthier, and more affordable in the long term. 

Not to mention the large price tag of buying water, water dispensed from water coolers have been found to be less healthy than even tap water. because of the bacteria, algae, bio-film and slime growth inside the coolers.

Our AWGs sterilise water every other hour using UV light in order to remove such bacteria and keep the water pure and bacteria free. 

Yes. There is more than 100 Million Billion litres of water in the atmosphere at any given moment. This water is constantly being recycled through evaporation, condensation and precipitation in a process known as the Hydrologic Cycle

The amount of power used by an AWG is roughly the same as an average Plasma Screen Television, 400 – 800 watts, depending on the model.

This means that it will cost you 50 cents – R1 of electricity to produce 1 litre of water, depending on the model (bigger models use more power but produce more water in a 24 hour cycle). 

Units that produce boiling water do so at a similar wattage to a kettle (1900 watts). 

The machine is not difficult to install. Once assembled the machine simply needs to be plugged in. It does not require any plumbing.  It comes with detailed instructions that help you assemble your unit easily. 

Our Air to Water Generators require a minimum humidity level of 25% to work. 

Cape Town has an average humidity level of 60% – 80% all year round. 

This is dependent on the make and model, but in general, filters should be replaced once a year. 


Additional filters can be purchased from the Potable online store. 

The machine can be placed anywhere in your home as long as it has access to and is not obstructed from fresh air. 

Water production is based on temperature and humidity. The higher the temperature and humidity the higher the water production. In the graph you can see the water production levels relative to temperature and humidity. 

It will not. The unit is driven by a state-of-the-art on-board computer that will stop the unit from generating water once the storage tank is full. 

If an accidental leak should occur the micro sensors will turn the unit off. 

Yes. In addition to producing pure drinking water, AWGs also remove humidity from the air. 


Potable is an organisation that was started in order to tackle the Water Crisis facing South Africa. 

The word “potable” means:

“safe, fit, or suitable to drink; drinkable.”

It is usually used in connection with water: 

“South Africa will run out of potable water unless something is done.”

Potable exists to ensure water security for every South African by providing convenient, market-related solutions for the water needs of South African households.

Potable’s work stands on three simple pillars: 

Make Water: Using new technologies like Atmosphetic Water Generators families can produce water of their very own in the comforts of their homes. 

Save Water: By using simply water saving techniques and changes in behaviour households cas save significant amounts of water each day. 

Give Water: By supporting the work of Potable, you can help us give water making and water saving tools and technologies to less fortunate families and groups like orphanages.  

Potable is run by Dylan and Anthea Cromhout. A husband and wife team committed to water security in South Africa. 

Anyone is welcome to partner with us. Here are some ways in which you can:

  • Invest in our campaign by purchasing a water making solution for your family.
  • Save water by following our various water saving tips and techniques.  
  • Donate towards supplying water making solutions to families in need. 
  • Support our campaign by sharing it on social media.
  • You are welcome to donate some of your time or skill. (Video production, blogging, design, social media management, etc.)
  • Media organisations are welcome to make use of the information on our website or contact us for interviews. 
  • Water orgnisations can partner with us to help supply the water needs of South Africa
  • Contact us to discuss  strategic partnerships. 

Make Water Now Campaign

The goal of the campaign is to encourage South Africans to make water using atmospheric water generation technology.

You can support the campaign in multiple ways:

  • Start making water by purchasing a water making solution for your family.
  • Follow our water saving series on YouTube.
  • Donate towards supplying water making solutions to families in need. 
  • Share our campaign on social media.
  • If you live in Cape Town you are welcome to donate some of your time or skill. (Video production, blogging, design, social media management, etc.)
  • Media organisations are welcome to use the information on our website or contact us for interviews. 

Order Fullfillment

Anything from 2 – 6 weeks, depending on when the order is placed with our supplier. 

Sea Fright from the supplier to South Africa.  

Once in South Africa each individual order will be transported via door to door courier.  

All orders are insured from the moment they leave the supplier up until the point they reach your door. 

Returns Policy

Yes. All our units come with a one year warranty.

Units will be replaced or repaired if found to have a defect in material or workmanship, provided the product is returned and that the product has
not been misused (including electrostatic discharge), improperly operated, or subject to unauthorized repairs or modifications.

If our examination does not disclose a defect in material or workmanship on a product claimed to be defective, the End-user agrees to pay established charges for unpacking, testing, and repackaging the product for
reshipment to the End-user.

This provision states the End-user’s exclusive and sole remedy for breach of warranty. This provision does not extend the original warranty
period of any product that has been repaired or replaced by us.

Products will be picked up from you in Cape Town, or the wider Cape area. 

If you live outside the Cape Town area you will need to courier the product to us in Cape Town.