Supplying clean water

2016-12-07 06:01
Clean water is important to Dephney Kabini, a scientific technician. Photo: Supplied

Clean water is important to Dephney Kabini, a scientific technician. Photo: Supplied

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Dephney Kabini, a scientific technician working for the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in the Free State, knows the value of water.

She learned about the importance of water at her birthplace in the dusty village of KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga.

“Growing up we had a lot of problems with our water. I used to fetch water from a JoJo tank a distance away from home and we used it just for drinking.

“For our washing and watering the garden, we used water from the White River passing through our village,” said Dephney.

At the age of 16, she decided to pursue a career in water to help address the water difficulty in her home village.

Dephney’s dream was realised when offered a bursary by the department to study at the Tshwane University of Technology. Extremely focused, she successfully completed the time frame. She is now registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions.

As a bursary holder, she was offered a chance to gain experience working for the department as a trainee for three years. This enabled her to gain much-needed experience to face challenges in the workplace.

“After the three years, I applied for a job as a scientific technician at the department and I was lucky enough to get the job.

“My job is to test the samples in a laboratory and make sure that the samples I receive do not have any physical or chemical biological para-meters. The water should reach certain standards or else a non-compliance letter will be issued to the water provider,” said Dephney.

Dephney and her team help municipalities and water providers to get the water to the desired standards and also see to it that the laboratory has enough chemicals at all times.

“It is important to take and test samples on a weekly basis to detect bacteria such as e-coli and prevent diseases such as cholera. The samples taken have to be kept at a certain temperature and be tested within 24 hours.

“Needless to say if I receive samples late on Friday, I work through the weekend to ensure people have clean, safe water to drink.

“It is important that municipalities clean reservoirs every five years to ensure clean water. Community members should not be up in arms when the water has turbidity, the brown clay colour in their taps, as this is due to operational maintenance and will clear soon,” said Dephney.

Dephney’s work include assisting the Setsoto Women Empowerment which adopted the Caledon River in the Setsoto area.

The women ensure that the river is clean and that there are no alien invasive trees that suck up most of the water along the river.

Dephney’s future plan is to become a specialist in the water field, especially due to the shortage of female specialists in the profession.

“I really want to assist municipalities more intensely, as I believe I will be perfectly placed to solve most if not all of the water problems we experience in the Free State.”

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