Grey is the new Green: Decreasing the demand on fresh water systems.

Not enough people can effectively recycle water in their individual capacities and we look to revamp the current available greywater systems

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Greenchain Engineering

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $10k - $50k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10 - 50

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • South Africa

Headquarters location: City

Cape Town

Location(s) of impact

South Africa: Cape Town, Somerset West, Stellenbosch


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

South Africa, along with many other regions in the world, struggle on an annual basis with low rainfall levels. This causes a deficit in the amount of clean water that can be provided to the populations within these regions for consumption and irrigation. Due to the high cost and low efficiency of systems available to the South African market, not enough individuals use recycled water for irrigation. Another problem is that not enough people effectively collect and store the rainwater that falls during the winter season

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

One solution is to use new greywater technology systems that are cost-effective and sufficient in providing recycled water for irrigation. The current solutions are either too maintenance intensive, too expensive or not readily available to the market. Our answer to this is a low maintenance, low cost and self sustainable greywater system that effectively collects, filters, stores and distributes the recycled water to the garden or irrigation system. Our second solution is to provide sufficiently filtered winter rainwater to individuals for household consumption and washing. Most South Africans do not actively collect the winter rainfall water and those that do are only able to filter it enough for irrigation standards. However, we are focusing on advanced water filtration that should make the water drinkable as well as ready to use for washing and cleaning.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Our work has a major impact on the environment by decreasing the demand for fresh water used for irrigation purposes. People are becoming more aware that irrigating their lawns with fresh drinking water in a drought is highly unethical. We have introduced a solution to keeping gardens green and crops growing with recycled water from individual households. This allows for a much lower demand on fresh water supply and also decreases the need for expensive desalination plants (costing governments billions) and the need for boreholes that extract precious fresh groundwater from the aquifers below the surface. The social impact is the enlightenment and spread knowledge that one CAN effectively collect, filter, store and distribute greywater (recycled household water) for the use in irrigation systems. We have successfully installed a number of systems in the Western Cape and are successfully providing our clients the benefits of recycling their own household water for irrigation purposes

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

2. Grants: 5% 3. Corporate Contributions: 5% 4. Earned Income: 90%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We are designing a system that is more cost-effective, almost maintenance free and widely usable and scalable throughout the world. We are trying to change the way people perceive their greywater (household water excluding sewage water) and encourage them to reuse their water for their gardens and for the environment around them instead of putting pressure on earths natural fresh water reserves.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The water scarcity crisis in South Africa in 2017. The government has implemented a concept called "water shedding" which restricts daily individual and institutional water usage dramatically. Less water is being provided to homes and home owners are having to recycle their water in a safe and efficient way.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


Join the conversation:

Photo of Natalie

Congratulations Joshua Hutton for this exciting idea! As you move forward, it would be great to give your readers more of a glimpse of what the technology is, exactly--even if you have to "dumb it down" for us laypeople. It'll also be exciting to see some concrete numbers emerge from the testing of the idea. Best of luck!

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