Despite a population that has grown by more than 30% since the 2001 census, the City of Cape Town – in partnership with its residents – have managed to keep water demand below the peak level recorded in 2001, while significantly reducing projected future demand thus deferring the implementation of further resources and associated infrastructure.
The City of Cape Town has through careful management, ingenuity and consumer education, managed to stabilise the demand on the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS). Managing our resources is a shared responsibility and through this partnership with residents, the annual water demand is now growing at 2,3%, rather than the near 4% recorded in the period just prior to 2001.
Successful interventions include:
Extensive implementation of water pressure management in areas such as Retreat, Goodwood and Crossroads. Pressure management systems constantly regulate the pipeline water pressure which reduces water losses, pipe bursts and internal leaks and prolongs the life of the reticulation system. The major and minor pressure management projects are resulting in current annual savings of approximately 3,37 million cubic metres of water, worth around R31m per year.
A targeted retrofitting programme– the replacement of pipes and systems. Retrofitting and leak fixing in Samora Machel, Ravensmead and Fisantekraal has resulted in an annual saving per area of between R1,2 and R1,7m. This is over and above ongoing upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure.
Furthermore, there has been a downward trend in the incidences of burst water pipelines as a result of improved maintenance and upgrades to the reticulation network. This enabled the City to accomplish a major achievement in 2012/13 in bringing down its overall water losses (a combination of losses in pipelines and connections, meter inaccuracies and unauthorised consumption) to 14,5% - it is less than all other metros in the country which combined maintain an average of 29,7%.
“Also worth a mention is that this municipality has the lowest percentage of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) of all the major municipalities in South Africa,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
NRW is an international benchmark for water loss management. It includes the above mentioned water losses, as well as inaccurate meter reading and unread meters amongst others.
“The City celebrates water month every March, this is to enhance education and awareness on water conservation to all our communities. Cape Town is a water scarce region and it is through working together that we can make further progress possible in reducing the water demand,” said Councillor Sonnenberg.
As part of ongoing education and awareness programmes, over the past few weeks a total of 230 semi-skilled workers and supervisors. Also, approximately 100 community artists from areas like Langa; Du Noon; Masiphumelele; Delft Symphony Way TRA; and Enkanini, have been educated and employed through the Expanded Public Works Programme to educate their communities about saving water and where to report things like leaking taps. They form part of the City’s current programme to celebrate the City’s Water Month.
“Having attended a training session and seeing the commitment of the participants, I want to commend the workers for their role in this battle to secure our water supply. While the City is doing its utmost to prevent wastage, it is the consumer who has the most power to make an impact by both using water responsibly, and by reporting faults or illegal dumping and connections into the sewer system – both of these can lead to pipe bursts,” said Councillor Sonnenberg.