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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Apr 2010

DEVELOPMENT: City Gets R8m For Water Saving Projects


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The National Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has donated R8,21 million to the City of Cape Town to assist in funding water demand management initiatives and water saving projects during the remainder of the 2009/2010 financial year, which finishes at the end of June.

Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, which includes the Water and Sanitation Department, said that this funding, whilst coming late in the financial year, was most welcome and would be put to good use.

The City’s R750 million, ten-year Water Demand Management (WDM) strategy was introduced in 2006 to reduce water wastage and usage. Since then, it has achieved a substantial reduction in unconstrained projected water use.

The WDM strategy in Cape Town was formulated in response to an injunction from the then National Minister of Water Affairs & Forestry, to reduce water demand before the Ministry would allow the Skuifraam Dam to be built on the Berg River to supplement the Western Cape’s water supply.  Reducing water consumption by 20% was set as a target.

The WDM strategy seeks to reduce the 2004 water demand figure of 797 ML per day by:

·         Reducing water wastage and inefficient water usage

·         Introducing a programme of effluent treatment and recycling of purified sewage effluent

If successful, a saving of some 323 ML per day will be achieved.  “We are well on our way to achieving this figure. The unconstrained water consumption was reduced by 26% in the last financial year. Such savings push back the need for further water augmentation schemes though we are, of course, investigating our options for the future,” Justus said.

The City saves between 450ML and 1000ML of potable water each year by re-using treated sewage effluent and selling it to industry (for example the Chevron Oil Refinery) and to irrigate sports fields and crops (such as the Durbanville vineyards).

A new R24 million project to provide Epping Industria, Athlone, Bonteheuwel, Pinelands, Langa and Thornton with treated effluent water was opened late last year. The second phase of this project primarily targeting the Athlone area, is in the final design stage and will be implemented in the latter part of 2010.

Water pressure management at night has yielded such excellent results that the City will soon be able to recoup its investment.  Benefits include fewer pipe bursts, the reduction of small leaks on connections, less damage to household plumbing fittings and the reduction of wasteful consumption.

A R7.7 million pressure management project that was undertaken in Mitchells Plain in 2008 benefits a population of some 500 000 residents and saves R15 million per year.

Prior to its installation, the area's night flow was 900 000 litres per hour, of which 430 000 litres per hour was calculated as excess night flow. The City has also implemented pressure management systems in Gugulethu, Atlantis, Philippi Brown’s Farm, Mfuleni and Delft. New projects are underway in Belhar, Wesbank, Langa, Somerset West, Kirstenhof and Eerste Rivier and the City will continue with this programme for several years to come.

Justus explained that pressure management also reduces volumes of wastewater from leaking toilets and household plumbing fittings. This saves on sewage treatment costs and prolongs the lifespan of the existing wastewater treatment plants. He said that in Khayelitsha alone, the wastewater volume had been reduced by 20 million litres per day, saving R2,5 million annually in sewerage treatment costs.

In addition to the water pressure reduction programme, the City has implemented water leak repair projects which are area-based and the 'Fixit' programme which targets the highest water consumption at poor households throughout the city.

The Water Affairs Department’s donation will also be used to extend community water-saving awareness programmes as well as for the Water Services Data Integrated Information Management Systems initiative for efficient water usage (DIMS).

Justus said the City of Cape Town is committed to optimising its water usage and wishes to thank the Department of Water Affairs for their generous donation which will provide long term benefits to the City and reduce water wastage.

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