Multi-million rand water conservation initiatives for Amatola Water to address strained infrastructure and address serious water losses
The water scarce province has been losing water at a steady rate through reservoir overflows, valve and tap leaks, vandalized and dilapidated infrastructure among other things. This leads to infrastructure management challenges coupled with a lack of technical skills.
“These water demand management programmes help us to reduce water losses. These interventions are crucial because our water resources are under stress,” says Amatola Water senior water resources manager Sieg Rousseau.
Currently, the utility has offered to assist Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) in Dimbaza which is experiencing substantial water losses as a result of vandalized industrial sites and poor and old plumbing which results in leakages.
“We face a major challenge in Dimbaza where the day and night water flow is the same. In a normal situation, water consumption should decrease substantially at night. This means there are major water leakages which can be resolved if proper measures are put in place.
“On average, the water demand within Dimbaza is about 10 000 cubic meters a day. In the short term we are hoping to bring that down to 8 000 cubic meters per day through pressure control, which represents a 20% saving. This method has been implemented in the Western Cape with great success,” explains Rousseau.
Rousseau says ideally Dimbaza should be using about 7 000 cubic meters a day in the long-term, which is 30% less . If this is successful, BCM would save about R14 000 a day or R5 million a year.
He says households should also be metered to ensure that people use water wisely. The municipalities also have a responsibility to launch water conservation awareness programmes to save water. Currently BCM has embarked on a water conservation awareness programme in Dimbaza to reduce the water losses.
“The challenges are not limited to BCM. There are serious water losses within the Eastern Cape and country-wide. We will also be instituting the same measures in the Peddie scheme which is experiencing similar challenges. People also need to realize that water conservation is a continuous process which involves continued maintenance of infrastructure,” Rousseau adds.
He says the utility has done well since its inception in managing water losses in all its 12 schemes and 21 dams. Currently only 5,65% of water is lost through Amatola Water’s treatment processes and 3,36% of water is lost through its bulk networks which is an achievement that the organization is proud of.
“Water conservation is not only the responsibility of municipalities. Consumers must take responsibility for infrastructure. Sometime you drive through villages and water is running. People break off the brass fittings and sell it as scrap which leads to severe water losses,” he says.
In the last two years, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has provided Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) with an estimated R3,5 million to implement water-saving interventions in Whittlesea, Middleburg and Lady Frere. The utility has installed 10 bulk water metres in Whittlesea and Lady Frere to cut water losses in these areas. In Lady Frere repairs were made to the pump station, the new reticulation system was reconnected. Problem areas such as leaks and damaged sections of pipes were also identified and resolved.
The water utility installed bulk water metres in Whittlesea and Middelburg, and implemented a retro fitting programme in Whittlesea and Middleburg.
“We did an analysis on the water use of each erf within Middelburg, which assisted us in addressing leaking taps and cisterns, as well as damaged valves in the indigent households,” says Rousseau.
In Middleburg 11 bulk water metres were installed or replaced for bulk water consumers like industry. Rettro fitting was done in 324 houses in Midros, 395 in households in Kwanonzame and Lusaka and in 100 unoccupied houses. Ten bulk water metres were installed in Whittlesea.