Paul Bartels invented the WaterBok to save lives andlivelihoods in rural and semi-urban environments.The entrepreneur built and prototyped theWaterBok firefighting cart to provide an immediate response to small fires, preventing theirrapid spread. In South Africa, many farms andcommunities lack quick access to water and fireengines. The WaterBok empowers communities to respond immediately.
The WaterBok is a proprietary, computer-designedcart made of durable plastic, wheels, and a harnessfor pulling the cart. It is also fitted with a roof rackfor hauling wood and supplies. Many communities and farmlands in South Africa consist of bumpyor narrow roadways where access is difficult. TheWaterbok is small enough to navigate hurdles quickly, and yet the water tank is large enough toprovide substantial response to small fires, stoppingthem before they spread.
The Presidential Jury says that Paul “provides an answer to rural farms where water is scarce andcommunities can be destroyed by devastating fires.His carts carry enough water, 65 liters, to provideimmediate response to a fire. The potential forsaving land and people is huge, not only in Africa, but throughout the world.”
Paul says that “Commercial farmers and rural community farmers require water to be readilyavailable for prevention of devastating wildfire.”He plans to educate communities on how best touse the WaterBok. First and foremost, keep the cart filled and on hand. He says that “the responsibility of fire-protection and suppression must also go tothe people it most effects.” With the WaterBok, this responsibility becomes dramatically more practical.
With a $100,000 prize in the African Entrepreneurship Award, Paul will move forward with production and take the WaterBok to the market.