Utilities need to ensure that quality water is provided to all relevant sectors of society. Water loss is a major threat to water security. Drakenstein Municipality, in South Africa’s water strapped Western Province, has been successful in bringing down water losses from 34% to an average of 11%, at its lowest, with these 7 infrastructure-related interventions.
Water scarcity is a societal issue that, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Risk Report, ranked as the number one global risk in terms of expected impact.
In South Africa you don’t have to look much further than the City of Cape Town to see how climate variability and rapid urbanization put pressure on depleted water resources in water scarce environments. With dams at critical levels and Cape Town at an estimated “less than 100 days of water”, water security takes on a more personal meaning for all effected citizens.
Water Conservation can be defined as:
The minimization of loss or waste, care and protection of water resources and the efficient and effective use of water.Although crisis elevates the need for systematic water conservation practices, proactive measures lead to sustainable outcomes.
In this regard, City of Cape Town’s neighbour, Drakenstein Municipality, stands as an example for others. In 1999, Drakenstein’s water losses stood at 34% and were increasing. The municipality began prioritising projects and introduced a 20-year project plan that has helped to curb the crisis and save over R700 million.
The following 7 interventions have helped Drakenstein drastically reduce its water loss.
7 INFRASTRUCTURE-RELATED INTERVENTIONS
From an infrastructural perspective, according to South Africa’s Strategic Framework for Water Services, owners of water-services infrastructure need to:
Maintain a register of water services infrastructure assets
Put a system in place to manage this infrastructure in terms of a maintenance and rehabilitation plan
This plan must be based on the principle of preventative maintenance and must be part of the water services development plan
Infrastructure assets must be rehabilitated and/or replaced before the end of their actual and estimated useful lives
Necessary capital funds must be allocated for this purpose
Under-expenditure in maintenance
Under-investment in rehabilitation
Water Demand Management (WDM)
Water Services Development Planning (WSDP)
Storm Water Management
1. Pipe replacements 2. Bulk and domestic water meters replacement 3. Pressure management 4. Leak detection and repair 5. Stepped water tariffs 6. Public awareness campaigns 7. Upgrade information and management tools
A ONE-WORLD-VIEW OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE LANDSCAPE
By acquiring a one-world-view of its infrastructure asset landscape, Drakenstein has been able to systematically manage its water distribution network over time. Key infrastructure-related initiatives have brought water losses down to an average of 16% – 11% at its lowest. Between 1999 and 2014, water loss reduction translated into R700 million water savings. In the 2015/2016 financial year, water losses stood at just 13%. A decreased loss of water has enabled the municipality to delay the construction of reservoirs and large pipelines for several years. Reaction time to attend to burst pipes was also reduced to less than one hour. Finally, there was also a decrease in the occurrence of burst pipes.
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