H2O International is the leading force in water purification on the African continent and Southern Africa’s top water purification company. It is the exclusive distributor in South Africa of the unique GAC/KDF/RIOLYTE Process Media, which guarantees quality water and great taste by removing the harmful contaminants from tap water.
In 2009, in response to public demand, founder and CEO Tony Marchesini introduced the walk-in water refill service to the H2O International SA franchises.
“We had a number of prospective clients who for health reasons wanted filtered drinking water in their homes but were not yet in a position to purchase one of our Multi Stage Water Purification Systems,” Marchesini explains. “We looked for an alternative solution and the only way to provide for their needs without compromising on quality, was to filter the water ourselves. With the requisite permits in place we began to run tap water through the H2O systems at our franchise outlets, filling and refilling our clients’ water containers. We charged a nominal filtration fee (R1 a litre) and everyone was happy.”The water refill service was never part of the H2O International SA business model, but rather a service supplied to clients who, it was anticipated, would one day buy their own filtration systems for their homes. As Day Zero approached, it was decided that on 1 February 2018, the refill service would be suspended until an alternative source of non-municipal water could be found.
“We are a Cape Town company and our love for the Western Cape runs through our veins,” says Marchesini. “When restrictions kicked in, our filtered water was supposed to form part of every purchaser’s 87 litres quota. We do not use reverse osmosis technology and there is no water wastage whatsoever using our system, but we were concerned about contributing to the depletion of the water supply.”
“We decided to suspend the water refill service when Level 6b restrictions kicked in on 1 February 2018. We had no idea that the weekend before that date, there would be a run on our stores as panic water buying set in. As we do not condone stockpiling, we were horrified.”
“I made the call to stop all water refills, and all branches were pleased with the announcement – as fellow Capetonians, we all have to do our best to fight off Day Zero.”
For 24 years, H2O International SA has been meeting the purified-water needs of long-standing clients via the refills, but it was never a core focus of the business. “Ninety per cent of our business is the sale of water purifiers. We have over 450 filtration products and have forged an excellent reputation for quality systems and outstanding service. Our counter-top, under-counter and whole-house filters have been tried and tested by families, businesses, the hospitality and agricultural industries. We are inundated with queries from Capetonians regarding how to get their groundwater up to potable drinking standards.”
“We believe in our product and the health benefits our water purifiers offer. We are driven to extend these to all South Africans. We provide filters to those who can afford them, and in the case of groundwater, help those customers get the required analysis of their water. Furthermore, for many years we support Wishing Well International Foundation SA to get safe drinking water to less advantaged communities. These are the people in remote rural areas who live with Day Zero 365 days a year.”
Marchesini concludes: “Right now our team is working hard on various initiatives and projects to see how we can contribute in a positive manner to the crisis in the Western Cape. This includes sourcing alternative water resources as well as possibly trucking in prepared, bottled water for the more vulnerable citizens in the region. As a guardian of good clean water, we are proud of being part of the solution”
For more information on H2O International please visit www.h2o.co.za or call (021) 702-3262