Genius of Place – Berg River Project
This project focuses on solutions designed by nature. The goal is to establish innovative biomimicry (using the imitation of models, systems and elements of nature to find solutions to the complex human problems and challenges we face) in the Berg River area to address the water challenges this area faces.
The project consists of three phases and aims to improve the water quality of the Berg River by finding a solution for problems created by wastewater, storm water and solid waste management caused by the informal settlement Langrug. Finding a solution could have a desirable impact on the province's sustainable economic growth and improve the health of people affected by the Berg River.
In order to re-establish the Berg River as a healthy and thriving ecosystem, that will in turn support the health of the residents equally affected by the ailing water system, the project will look to the organisms and systems within this ecosystem to create a new model of infrastructure which is locally attuned, adaptive and decentralised.
The goal is to integrate development with growth. The designers want to try a biomimetic ecological design technology, called eco-machines, which has proven to work in other countries. These eco-machines can be made to fit a specific ecosystem, for example the Berg River ecosystem.
The machines will then use organisms, fauna and flora found in the natural Berg River habitat to purify water, treat waste and restore polluted habitats. These machines are designed as a series of tanks that are connected, and contain different combinations of aquatic living creatures, plants and vegetation to purify water. This is ground-breaking work and could, if piloted successfully, revolutionise the waste water treatment facilities in some areas of the Western Cape.