The Msunduzi Municipality has made great strides when it comes to saving water over the past year.
Having embraced the Department of Water Affairs’ policy that “Water Is Life”, we formulated a five year Water Conservation and Water Demand Management initiative to stem water losses, increase revenue and improve service delivery. Ultimately, this is expected to bring us in line with the Presidential Directive of halving water losses by 2014.
At present, we distribute an average of 160 million litres of water to over 600 000 people each day. If we do not optimize the use of the water, we cannot rule out water restrictions and even shortages. During the first year, the Msunduzi Municipality not only moved ahead with numerous technical interventions, but also focused on non-technical engagements and activitiesaimed at increasing consumer awareness.
The high impact interventions thatbegan in earnest in February this year include the replacement of aged infrastructure, pipes and water meters as well as the reduction of water pressure, leak detection and the minimization of illegal connections.Improvements were almost immediate. Non-revenue water for the 2009/10 financial year was 37%. This dropped by 1,3% within the first few months, equating to a saving of 15 Ml/day.
Because unnecessarily high water pressure increases both the frequency and volume of water leaks, we have introduced 30 state-of-the-art Pressure Reduction Valves (PRV’s) to reduce pressure to consumers to 60 m. As a result, we expect to save in excess of 10 mega litres per day, equating to about R13 million. So far, Oribi, Murray Road, Bisley, Hathorns, Symons and Masons reservoir zones have been rezoned and redesigned to comply with the new pressure regime. The PRV’s will be installed during 2012.
We also installed two advanced controllers in Townbush Road which feeds 75% of the CBD. Utilizing GSM Communication signals, these revolutionary devices are constantly updated and adjust the PRV’s to ensure that water pressures are kept at optimum levels at all times. Currently, they deliver a saving of 2.2 M/lper day. Savings are expected to equate to R2.65million bynext year when the system has stabilized.
Leak detection and repair is another priority. Level 2 leak detection began in March and a total of 1,791 km of pipes were surveyed. 1,739 visible and non-visible leaks were found, of which 99% were repaired. Level 4 leak detection took place in Symons reservoir zone in the CBD area. 78,3 km of pipeline was surveyed. 14 leaks were found. 10 were repaired. Special steps are being taken to repair those in difficult positions such as tarred intersections. This has ended estimated losses of 2.4m/litres per day.
Our mains replacement program which will ultimately replace approximately 30km of pipe across the city is well underway. This year, pipe replacement in the CBD was prioritized due to the high frequency of bursts due to crumbling infrastructure.
High traffic congestion in the CBD necessitated the use of sophisticated trenchless technology. A new pipe is forced through the old one and, as it travels along the existing pipe, it cracks it and takes its place. Advantages include cost savings and minimal disruptions asthere is no need for major excavations and road closures. Phase 1 comprises 3,2 kms of which 1.8km has been replaced. The balance will be completed during 2012.
Meter maintenance and meter cleaning has also achieved encouraging results during the past 12 months. A year ago, illegal connections and unmetered or unregistered connections accounted for 37 percent of the city’s water losses.
In February 2011, there were 12,589 exception reports. Of these, 5,947 meters needed maintenance such as clearing of rubble and grass. 6061 meters were inspected and 3122 were found to be damaged or not working. To date, 1157 have been replaced. Phase 2 of this replacement programme beginsin early 2012 and, by the end of 2013 all faulty meters will have been replaced.
While these interventions form the backbone of the Msunduzi Municipality’s Water Conservation and Water Demand Management initiative, it is only by entrenching a water-saving culture that we can ensure that saving will be sustainable.
An awareness programmehas beeninitiated. Teacher ThembekaJalihas visited 28 schools to teach both learners and educators about the need to save water. An hour long presentation is supported by posters which are put up at schools. The aim is for learners to take this message home so that it can be disseminated to whole communities.
Feedback from learners indicates that this is happening and that they are using water more responsibly and even reporting leaks and illegal connections. Although this programme has been put on hold during the summer school holidays, 75 primary and high schools within the Msunduzi Municipality are expected to be reached.
Based on research that illustrates that learners retain more information during play, the Msunduzi Municipality created a soccer tournament among eighteen schools within the Edendale area during October to endorse this water conservation learning programme,
Winning teams received will get educational material and equipment for their schools.
Because the work of the municipality must be supported by the communities it serves, we urge you to continue using water sensibly and reporting leaks and illegal connections via the toll-free number 0800 001868.