Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  18 May 2011

WATER MANAGEMENT: Making Every Drop Count


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE past years have seen unexpected population growth and continued economic growth in the greater City of Cape Town. The limited water resources available to the City of Cape Town mean that without appropriate water conservation and water demand management, the sensitive and unique ecology and environment is under threat. Much needed continued and sustainable economic development also vies for the same limited resource.

The City of Cape Town was therefore the first metro in South Africa to develop and implement a council approved Water Conservation and Water Demand Management (WC/WDM) Strategy. The comprehensive strategy has a set of specific goals to be achieved through the implementation of project programmes in the ten years from 2006 to 2016.

The City has committed itself to the implementation of the WC/WDM strategy and targets, saving approximately 90 million cubic metres per annum by 2016/17. The strategy is a critical component in the future planning of the Western Cape Water Supply System.

Cape Town has drawn on Vela VKE’s water demand management expertise to measure and report on the achievement and effectiveness of the WC/WDM strategy.

A wide range of projects have been implemented from highly technical interventions to community engagement campaigns to reduce water demand and losses and conserve water. Numerous projects have been started and successfully completed. The following summarise some of the achievements of the implementation of the strategy and give an indication of the extensive WDM measures:

Pressure management successfully implemented in more than 13 settlements including pressure reduction devices for 49 schools.

1693 consumer meters audited in an Automated Meter Reading Pilot project. A total of 1 775 consumers fitted with automated meter reading devices.

20 574 consumer water meters replaced, 17 998 consumer meters re-located and fixed and 70 652 water connection leaks fixed in the last three years (2007/8 – 2009/10).

95 treated effluent users which accounts for 80.5 Ml/day of re-use.

Caretakers from 341 mostly poorer schools trained in basic plumbing.

41 schools visited and leaks repaired.

160 Hlonipha Amanzi workshops with 14 813 participants.

Water by-laws awareness campaigning including five workshops, 12 shopping mall promotions, industry and commerce interventions.

More than 50 000 households visited by the Integrated Leaks Repair project.

Our team had to provide the answer to the difficult but crucial question of whether the successful implementation of these projects has resulted in the desired reduction of water demand and water losses,” says VKE’s Johan Basson.

Our assessment had to be critical and independent. It included the data extraction and analysis for the evaluation of the International Water Association water balance, financial and budgetary assessment and accurate estimations of achieved water savings.”

The answer to the difficult question was tricky. While the City of Cape Town is achieving significant savings, the assumptions made with regards to, especially population growth and subsequent demand growths in 2006 with the commencement of the strategy have proved to be off the mark.”

Consequently the savings achieved is not reflected in the bottom line of desired demand growth. Vela VKE set out a comprehensive way forward, which includes the re-alignment of the strategy to take into account increased population growth,” Basson says.

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