Rainwater harvesting system in South Africa designed for soccer, community space

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LOS ANGELES, CA, July 8, 2010 -- As the world's attention is on South Africa and the World Cup finals, the Annenberg Foundation introduces PITCH:AFRICA, a first-of-its-kind rainwater harvesting and filtering system built into a football pitch (soccer playing surface).

PITCH:AFRICA is centered around a street soccer venue approximately 64' x 80' and seats up to 1,000 people.
PITCH:AFRICA is an innovative rainwater harvesting system designed by Atopia Research to provide clean water on a regular basis where water is scarce or unavailable throughout Africa and other parts of the world. After several years of research and development, the system is ready for production. To illustrate the concept, a life-size model of PITCH:AFRICA was unveiled today at an event at the Port of Los Angeles attended by community and civic leaders.

At the unveiling of PITCH:AFRICA, the Annenberg Foundation announced its plans to work with the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP). Founded by Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron, CTAOP works to create safer and healthier communities for the children and people of South Africa. The two organizations are exploring a location in South Africa to build the first PITCH:AFRICA.

Wallis Annenberg, chairman and president of the Annenberg Foundation comments, "After years of research on this concept, we are ready to build the first one in South Africa. We are delighted to have the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project help us choose a location based on their work in the region."

Background on PITCH:AFRICA
In 2008, the Annenberg Foundation began its support of the research and development of PITCH: AFRICA by ATOPIA Research, led by founders Jane Harrison and David Turnbull. ATOPIA Research focuses on innovative solutions to global issues promoting sustainable development.

Jane Harrison and David Turnbull of ATOPIA add, "PITCH:AFRICA is a man-made eco-system, which is implanted into an existing environmental eco-system to heal the land, transform lives, build businesses and teach the next generation that they can live well, while addressing issues of gender, food scarcity, water needs and health."

How PITCH:AFRICA Works
PITCH:AFRICA is centered around a street soccer venue approximately 64' x 80' and seats up to 1,000 people. The structure captures rainwater as it falls onto the playing field and surrounding seating areas. The water is stored beneath the soccer surface in cisterns. The water then undergoes a filtration process before it is distributed and used for drinking, cooking, washing and farming. PITCH:AFRICA also creates community space underneath the seating area which can be used to house a school, a health clinic, meeting rooms and even a local market.

Over One Million Gallons of Clean Water
It can rain between three and six feet during a typical rainy season in tropical and temperate regions of Africa. In areas with five feet of rain annually, one PITCH can capture as much as 1.8 million liters of water that would otherwise be lost. This is enough water to meet the daily drinking needs of 1,000 people every day for a full year. PITCH is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative or complement to existing efforts such as borehole wells. Because rainwater harvesting does not have the potential of drying up, it can provide a continuous water supply.

Uses Low-Cost Materials
The low-cost structure is designed so that its actual size and features can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the communities it will serve. In addition, the design allows the rainwatering system to be built using only local materials that are readily available. For example, in Africa, abandoned shipping containers that litter the African landscape will be used as cisterns to capture and store rainwater. In areas where cargo shipping containers are not available or cost effective, cisterns can be designed and constructed using local materials.

A PITCH rainwater harvesting system can be used anywhere in the world where it rains.

The Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a private family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation and its Board of Directors are directly involved in the community with several projects that expand and complement its grant support to nonprofits. Among them are innovative nonprofit capacity building initiatives, the Annenberg Space for Photography, explore, and the Metabolic Studio. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge. Web Site: http://www.annenbergfoundation.org/

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