Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa
Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management
MINE WATER A water-driven approach
NON-REVENUE WATER Financing projects post Covid-19
WATER SECURITY Lessons in resilience
Industrialising next-gen technologies
July/August 2020 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 15 No. 04
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VOL. 15 NO. 04
JULY/AUGUST 2020 Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa
Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management
MINE WATER A water-driven approach
NON-REVENUE WATER Financing projects post Covid-19
WATER SECURITY Lessons in resilience
Industrialising next-gen technologies
July/August 2020 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 15 No. 04
ON THE COVER Mining in South Africa has faced a significant downturn in recent years. Focusing on water efficiency may help secure savings for mines while also preserving a limited resource. P24
Editor’s comment Africa round-up Index to advertisers
CEO’s comment Chair’s comment YWP News
Financing NRW projects post Covid-19
Lessons in resilience The challenges and solutions SA joins fight for Human Right 2 Water
3 8 52
5 6 10 12
WATER SECURITY LESSONS IN RESILIENCE
WATER SUPPLY LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS NEEDED
16 18 20
Tailings management aims to progress despite headwinds A water-driven approach
The story of Nelson Mandela Bay’s bulk water maintenance
Long-term solutions needed
Web platform addresses Covid-19 challenges South Africa: before, during and after Covid-19
Pipes, Pumps & Valves
Masters in fluid control Massive magnetic flow meter delivered
Ozone: a powerful alternative
WEB PLATFORM ADDRESSES COVID-19 CHALLENGES
MASSIVE MAGNETIC FLOW METER DELIVERED
INDUSTRIALISING NEXT-GENERATION SANITATION TECHNOLOGIES
LHWP CONSTRUCTION RESUMES POST LOCKDOWN
Industrialising next-generation sanitation technologies
Stormwater systems need attention
Dams & Reservoirs
LHWP construction resumes post lockdown Raising Garden Route Dam
Flumes & Weirs
Demystifying the H flume
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Editor Danielle Petterson
firstname.lastname@example.org Managing editor Alastair Currie Head of design Beren Bauermeister Chief sub-editor Tristan Snijders Contributors Akintunde Akinsete, Chandre Barnard, Lester Goldman, Derek Hazelton, Ashton Busani Mpofu, Dan Naidoo, Andries Nel, Rivonia Pillay, Peter van der Merwe Operations & production manager Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator Jacqueline Modise Distribution manager Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator Asha Pursotham
Commercialise the sector
Group sales manager Chilomia Van Wijk Financial manager Andrew Lobban Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Printers Novus Print Paarl Advertising sales Hanlie Fintelman t +27 (0)11 467 6223 | c +27 (0)82 338 2266 Hanlie.Fintelman@3smedia.co.za
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ISSN: 1990 - 8857 Annual subscription: R330 (SA rate) email@example.com Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. All articles herein are
copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publishers. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Water Institute of Southern Africa or the publishers.
Inspiring passion for water
WISA Contacts: HEAD OFFICE Tel: 086 111 9472(WISA) Fax: +27 (0)11 315 1258 Physical address: 1st Floor, Building 5, Constantia Park, 546 16th Road, Randjiespark Ext 7, Midrand Website: www.wisa.org.za BRANCHES Central Branch (Free State, Northern Cape, North West) Chairperson: Dr Leana Esterhuizen Company: Central University of Technology Tel: +27 (0)51 507 3850 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Eastern Cape: Branch Contact: Dan Abrahams Company: Aurecon Tel: +27 (0)41 503 3929 Cell: +27 (0) 81 289 1624 Email: Dan.Abraham@aurecongroup.com Gauteng Branch Lead: Zoe Gebhardt Cell: +27 (0)82 3580876 Email: email@example.com KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson: Lindelani Sibiya Company: Umgeni Water Cell: +27 (0)82 928 1081 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Limpopo Chairperson: Mpho Chokolo Company: Lepelle Northern Water Cell: +27 (0)72 310 7576 Email: email@example.com Mpumalanga Chairperson: Lihle Mbatha (Acting) Company: Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency Tel: +27 (0)13 753 9000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ovid-19 has highlighted some of the deficiencies in our water sector. It has also reduced the funds available to address some of our long-term problems. Now, more than ever, it is critical that the private sector becomes more involved. We’ve all read the reports that the Department of Water and Sanitation is essentially bankrupt. Moreover, municipalities are facing severe financial strain due to non-payment as a result of the economic decline brought on by Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown. Without urgent private sector investment, our water infrastructure may face a grim fate. I recently had a conversation with Benoît Le Roy, CEO of the South African Water Chamber, in which he highlighted the need to commercialise the water sector. Importantly, this does not mean privatising the water sector. It simply means attracting private funding and reducing the burden on municipalities by allowing private companies to manage, operate and maintain our water infrastructure under contract. Le Roy believes that foreign investors are now more concerned about water than energy in South Africa – largely because renewables offer a tangible solution to the energy crisis and work is being done in this regard. Without a reliable and cost-effective water supply, we cannot industrialise and attract investment.
Attracting investment One way to attract and ring-fence private sector funding is through special-purpose vehicles (SPVs). SPVs are legal entities created for a specific purpose, such as a funding structure to raise capital.
Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa
Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management
MINE WATER A water-driven approach
Western Cape Chairperson: Natasia van Binsbergen Company: AL Abbott & Associates Tel: +27 (0)21 448 6340 Cell: +27 (0)83 326 3887 Email: email@example.com Namibia Please contact the WISA Head Office on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
This approach has been embraced by government. The Development Bank of Southern Africa has spent a lot of time developing the SPV model but it has yet to be widely implemented. Le Roy sees SPVs as a mechanism to mitigate contracting uncertainty. This, together with policy and regulatory certainty, is crucial to attract private investment. South Africa’s highly complex water sector involves a great deal of red tape, discouraging the private sector that has repeatedly expressed a willingness to work with government. It is now up to government to create a regulatory environment that inspires rather than averts private involvement, and government needs to embrace this approach from within. However, the private sector must continue to lobby for this. The declining institutional capacity without our government entities means that this future will be harder to achieve without constant pressure. The water sector can be operated like a business, and the private sector is better at managing businesses because it is incentive driven. We should embrace this and use it to drive improvement in the sector. The world may be in the midst of a health and economic crisis, but South Africa’s water and sanitation infrastructure is also in crisis. We cannot afford to wait. We need solutions and we need them now.
COVER OPPORTUNITY In each issue, Water&Sanitation Africa offers companies the opportunity to get to the front of the line by placing a company, product or service on the front cover of the magazine. Buying this position will afford the advertiser the cover story and maximum exposure. For more
NON-REVENUE WATER Financing projects post Covid-19
WATER SECURITY Lessons in resilience
Industrialising next-gen technologies
information, contact Hanlie Fintelman on +27 (0)11 467 6223, or email Hanlie.Fintelman@3smedia.co.za
July/August 2020 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 15 No. 04
J ULY / A U G U S T 2020
WISA • CEO’S COMMENT
Embracing virtual As WISA embraces lessons learnt from our ‘new normal’, we are confident that our WISA 2020 Conference – which we are preparing to hold in virtual or hybrid form – will pave the way for new event formats, which will serve the water sector and our members. By Dr Lester Goldman
he outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa resulted in the postponement of the muchanticipated WISA 2020 Biennial Conference to December 2020. As a learning organisation, WISA is gleaning more insight every day during this pandemic, and we hope to leverage these lessons to improve our future offerings. With this approach in mind, we are forging ahead with planning for our WISA 2020 Conference and embracing the benefits that digital has to offer.
Virtual or hybrid event
Many organisations have cancelled their events planned for this year. We at WISA do not see this as a solution and intend to proceed with our conference and set a new standard for industry events as we comply with the Covid-19 regulations set out by government. We have been working closely with our conference organisers and are planning to host either a fully virtual or hybrid conference. This will be influenced by government’s regulations around business gatherings. We have attended and been favourably impressed by demo virtual
conferences hosted by our conferencing partner, Scatterlings Conference and Events. Using this platform, we are confident that we can create a virtual conferencing experience that provides meaningful engagement and incorporates all the important aspects of a physical conference. The virtual conference platform we will be using is fully cloud-based and has an integrated mobile app for ease of access and attendee interaction. The virtual platform also includes live support to assist participants with any challenges they may experience. Importantly, the virtual conference experience differs significantly from webinars, which we have seen an abundance of during lockdown. The platform allows for fully interactive parallel sessions, keynote presentations, poster sessions, workshops, panel discussions, meetings hubs and exhibitions. The benefits for our delegates are numerous. Attendees can participate in live polls and Q&As with speakers, who can share their presentations and other information for download. The platform also allows you to take notes during every session, which will be collated and emailed to you. Most significantly, all presentations will be available on demand after the conference to watch at any time. There are ample sponsorship opportunities available, including banner
Dr Lester Goldman,
positions, virtual conference bags, video ads and graphics embedded in live-streams. For exhibitors, there is a virtual exhibitor space with instant video meetings and chat features. As with a physical conference, time will be allocated in the programme for engagement. One of the biggest benefits of a virtual conference is cost. We are keenly aware of the difficulties facing our members and the sector during these tough economic times. Not only does an online conference void the need to travel, but participation in the conference is cheaper for all sponsors, exhibitors and delegates. A virtual conference will also allow us to reach a wider audience and improve our sustainability. We are so sold on virtual that we expect to incorporate a virtual element in most, if not all, of WISA’s conferences and events in the future, post Covid-19.
2020 and beyond
We hope that you will embrace the virtual conference and join us on our journey to setting new conferencing standards for the future. This year has been a trying time for everyone, and I would like to thank our members as they continue to support WISA in its activities and efforts. We appreciate and applaud the work you do in the sector and want to empower and support you in any way possible. While we realise that the world has forever been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, we look forward to 2020 and beyond. J ULY / A U G U S T 2020
WISA • CHAIR’S COMMENT
The cost of non-payment
Municipalities are under increasing pressure as users struggle to pay their bills. Without intervention, the situation could spell disaster for water supply in the future. By Dan Naidoo
he Covid-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown have had a severe impact on the South African economy. Many users can no longer pay their bills, and municipalities’ revenue streams face the prospect of drying up. The City of Cape Town recorded R900 million in outstanding rates and services payments in April alone – a one-third drop in income. A few months into lockdown, many of South Africa’s metros are reporting a drop in income that amounts to billions. The stark reality
JULY /AUG UST 2020
is that this non-payment, in a scenario already under serious financial pressure, could have a devastating effect on the general cash standing of municipalities. Service delivery, including the provision of water, is the cornerstone of all economies. Non-payment affects the entire value chain upstream, and if our five big metros are already reporting tough times, how can we expect the smaller, poorer municipalities to survive? We face a huge risk if there is no cash to sustain services.
Effects on water provision
The job of sustaining services that are critical to the national economy – such as water supply – will be very challenging going forward. Eskom is a perfect case study. Soweto’s R18.9 million in unpaid bills to the power utility (as at 30 June 2019) is an unfortunate example of what water utilities are likely to face. The corruption issue aside, Eskom is a very good utility, but it is crippled by the enormous outstanding debt from Dan Naidoo, municipalities. chair, WISA That is what
we are going to see happen with water if municipalities cannot afford to service their debt because their reliable base of paying users is eroded by the impact of the pandemic. It’s a vicious circle that will impact not only supply, but also investment in equipment, upgrades, maintenance, and preparation to meet growing future demand. How can you invest in major capital expenditure if revenue streams are starting to slow down? We are also faced with a scenario in which domestic water usage is increasing despite payments decreasing. Municipalities are then faced with a
situation in which they must pay the water utility for the supply but are not recouping the equivalent to fund the purchase. The situation of the rich subsidising the poor is not new in South Africa, but what if that paying base of ‘the rich’, on which municipalities have long relied, starts to teeter? The reliable payers are now also at risk, including the big payers or businesses that are using much less water due to lockdown. And the longer people cannot run their businesses, the greater their chances of not coming back. The ability to service everyone is then at risk. Added to this, the challenge of non-revenue water (NRW) creates the perfect storm. Municipalities already lose out on revenue from as much as 60% of the water that they purchase to sell on to users as a result of leaking pipes, non-payers and illegal connections. Effectively, this inefficiency means that for every 100 units municipalities buy, 50% to 60% of that water is lost.
While the challenge of NRW has been one that we’ve been battling for a long time, it is now more critical than ever to address it. By recouping some of the wastage, municipalities could see significant savings.
Reskilling for resilience
Typically, any disaster is followed by a period of recovery. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has found us facing a new normal with no recovery phase. And unfortunately, science has not catered for living through a disaster with no certain end point. This has highlighted the severe need for us to build more resilient systems. And in order to do this, we need a level of reskilling to think more economically and ensure that we build financially feasible, sustainable and resilient systems. We’ve got all the scientific solutions, but they mean nothing without the ability to implement them. The water sector cannot stop functioning and Covid-19 has made the
supply of water more critical than ever. It is crucial that we stabilise the sector while we ride out this crisis. We also need to ensure that we protect our essential staff, as the loss of key people could have further dire consequences on our ability to supply water. South Africa is doing a good job of trying to secure water supplies for more people, especially in informal settlements, adding water and sanitation, and sending tanks to remote areas and schools. But it comes at a price. Water is not free, and the country must be sure that it has the capacity to fund and maintain this critical infrastructure into the future.
Water & Sanitation in Africa KENYA Mass hygiene drive
ETHIOPIA A model to replicate Officials have commended Ethiopia’s ‘One’ model, under which the government runs its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) National Programme (OWNP). The model translates to a single consolidated WASH account and budget. This enhances transparency in the programme’s management and has helped to improve implementation by eliminating the duplication of roles among partners. The OWNP, which is said to have steadily enhanced the well-being of the country’s rural and urban communities, focuses on constructing new infrastructure to extend access to water and sanitation as well as refurbishing old, disused equipment such as pumping stations and pipelines. Technical training for maintenance
personnel and users is also provided. The OWNP was implemented in 2014 and benefited around 4.3 million people by the end of the five-year first phase in 2019. The Ethiopian government is working with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, the British Department for International Development, Finland, the UN Children’s Fund, and other partners to deliver greater access to water across the country. According to Osward Chanda, manager: Water Security and Sanitation Division, AfDB, this financing model is being increasingly adopted across the continent. “Many development partners have come to realise that working and planning together is more efficient, improves harmonisation, and delivers better results for beneficiaries,” he says.
THE GAMBIA Overcoming supply challenges The Gambia has received a US$43 million (R736 million) grant to help strengthen access to energy and water in the country. Nearly 50% of Gambians still have no access to electricity; in urban areas, roughly 69% of the population has access to safe drinking water. Further, the quality of services is weak due to frequent service outages, with some neighbourhoods not receiving water for days, weeks, or even months at a time. While the National Water and Electricity Company (Nawec) has made significant improvements in its operational and financial performance in recent years, the utility has yet to achieve financial viability. Customers still face erratic supply of water and electricity, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The additional financing will further strengthen Nawec’s transmission and distribution network, provide additional support to transform Nawec into an efficient and credit-worthy utility, and expand the scope of the Gambia’s Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project to the water sector.
JULY /AUG UST 2020
Safe Hands Kenya, a mission-driven alliance of Kenyan companies and community organisations, is scaling up its mass sanitation drive to combat Covid-19. Some 1.25 million people were reached during May and part of June in Nairobi. The alliance is on track to reach 2 million people by the end of June with free soap, handwashing stations, face masks, public spraying programmes, and a national behaviour change campaign. Safe Hands is prioritising activities for those in informal settlements, where social distancing and other recommended approaches to curbing the spread of Covid-19 are nearly impossible asks. The alliance has built a geospatial demand and supply allocation map, using several layers of data to target with precision, and partners distribute products using IoT-enabled technologies. The immediate provision of the tools for rapid mass sanitation, accompanied by a highly creative behaviour change campaign to motivate people to use them effectively, is the most effective way to keep people safe and society functioning. The alliance’s approach to product design and distribution is also informed by human-centred design principles to maximise the rate of adoption. The behaviour-change campaign – Tiba Ni Sisi (Swahili: “We are the cure”) – was designed to capture people’s imaginations and pay public health dividends long beyond the Covid-19 pandemic by improving general hygiene practices, with concomitant benefits for other sanitation-related diseases and deaths. Additional Safe Hands chapters are now also up and running in Tanzania and Ethiopia.
AFRICA ROUND-UP Word from around Africa – including the latest industry, project and development news.
NIGER Improving livelihoods The World Bank has approved additional financing of US$150 million (R2.56 billion) for the Niger Basin Water Resources Development and Sustainable Ecosystems Management Project, also known as the Kandadji programme. The programme will contribute to increasing access to energy and water resources, and will improve the livelihoods of about 330 000 people living in the Niger River Basin. The additional financing supports irrigation development, environmental and social safeguarding measures, and local community development. Specifically,
it will support the construction of improved housing in resettled communities, provide drinking water and sanitation, and provide support to resettled populations, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations. “Given the challenges facing the region, this funding will help the country adapt to the impacts of climate change by reducing beneficiaries’ vulnerability to drought, promoting local adaptation measures and paving the way for renewable electricity in Niger,” says Soukeyna Kane, country director: Niger, World Bank. The Kandadji Dam, with its reservoir and regulation system, will enhance
the availability and management of water for agriculture development and increase capacity for renewable energy generation in Niger’s part of the Niger basin. This will allow for the irrigation of 45 000 hectares of land and will produce an annual average of 629 GWh of additional electricity, which represents about half of Niger’s consumption in 2018. This financing will also reduce the time spent by women to fetch water every day by installing standpipes closer to their homes, and promote economic and livelihood opportunities for women and youth through incomegeneration activities.
ZIMBABWE Court-ordered water supply
TANZANIA Boosting water and sanitation Some 250 000 residents in Mwanza, Tanzania, will benefit from improved water and sanitation, and a cleaner environment, as part of the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme. The project is part of a three-country initiative to improve water in towns around the lake in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. This includes new water infrastructure, as well as public health education and awareness-raising hygiene campaigns. This will also strengthen resilience to the novel coronavirus pandemic in informal settlements and vulnerable communities.
The project is implemented by local partners and backed by the European Investment Bank in partnership with UN-Habitat, Agence française de développement, KfW and the European Commission.
The Harare Water Department has increased its water coverage, targeting areas that had not received water for more than 10 years. This follows a High Court order on the provision of water during the Covid-19-related lockdown period. Residents have welcomed the increased water supply, which has decongested community boreholes and mobile water bowsers, ensuring increased safety against the spread of Covid-19. Residents in Mabvuku and Tafara recently reported receiving water two days a week consistently for three weeks. The Combined Harare Residents’ Association has called on the Harare Water Department to improve its water supply coverage to the remaining areas of Harare and to improve its billing.
J ULY / A U G U S T 2020
WISA • Y WP
The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the vulnerability of our societies and has unearthed our country’s stark social and economic inequalities. By Ashton Busani Mpofu and Rivonia Pillay*
he pandemic has further exacerbated the country’s ailing economy, with the unemployment rate increasing to a staggering 30.1%, with youth (ages 15 to 34 years) accounting for 63.3% (20.4 million people). This has emphasised the need for various stakeholders to work collaboratively towards social justice, collective empowerment, equitable and sustainable development. The South African Young Water Professionals (YWP-ZA) committee will strive to strengthen inclusivity, particularly in accessing water and sanitation, and enhance the growth of its members’ skills, competencies and thought leadership. YWP-ZA looks forward to working closely with WISA branches and technical divisions,
New committee takes the reins government, businesses, institutions of learning and civil society across the country. YWP-ZA needs your support.
Upcoming national activities
1. Annual strategic session – The YWPZA national committee will convene virtually in the next two months for its annual strategic session. This will be the first for the term and the first time that this annual session is held virtually. 2. WISA 2020 YWP Forum – YWP-ZA will be hosting a forum during the WISA 2020 Conference. This is a unique opportunity for YWPs to report on the conference in order to identify and contextualise major issues. These will be discussed by YWPs at the YWP Forum on the third day of the conference. The outcome of the forum will be presented
and incorporated into WISA’s position paper. YWPs interested in the rapporteur programme should contact Niel Louw at email@example.com. 3. Webinars – YWP-ZA will be hosting a series of exciting webinars in the coming months. Of note is the transformation webinar that will be held in August. The webinars will focus on celebrating young women in the water sector and will discuss the challenges and means of promoting women in the water sector. Interested individuals and stakeholders can contact Nontando Mkhize at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Ashton Busani Mpofu is the YWP-ZA national lead and Rivonia Pillay the YWP-ZA coordination lead.
YWP-ZA National Committee 2020–2022
Ashton Busani Mpofu National lead, senior water sector analyst at GreenCape
Ramulifho Pfananani Vice lead, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Venda
“Covid-19 has clearly exposed the vulnerability of our societies due to a lack of universal access to water and sanitation. As young water professionals, we must take heed and strive for socially just communities. Our future citizens would hold us accountable.”
“Being part of YWP means a great deal to me. This motivates me to continue shaping the future of the water sector in South Africa. This is the future we need as young people. The future where young professionals have access to information and use best-practice models to protect natural water resources.”
JULY /AUG UST 2020
Nontando Mkhize Vice lead, technical director at Lifalin
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
WISA • Y WP
Thulani Mlilwana National financial lead, civil engineer
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sibusiso Mhlongo KZN lead, technical sales representative: Water at Protea Chemicals Rivonia Pillay Coordination lead, water engineer at the Department of Water and Sanitation
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
Niel Louw Gauteng lead, water security analyst for the SSA
“The future security of South Africa’s water resources lies in the effective and complete integration of water resources, technology and data, and it is the responsibility of young water professionals to innovate and invigorate the sector.”
Raeesa Bhikhoo North West lead, MSc Microbiology at North-West University in Potchefstroom
Now, more than ever, the world needs not only our strong voices but our swift action to create a reality that prioritises tomorrow’s leaders today.”
Amanda Mngeni Eastern Cape lead, civil engineer
“One day your life will flash before your eyes; make sure that it is worth watching.”
The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Work hard now!”
Nompumelelo Deanah Mkolo Mpumalanga lead, project manager: Water & Sanitation at Gert Sibande DM
Claude Moshobane Limpopo lead, scientist at SANBI/SMU
“The MP team wishes to ensure visibility of YWP-MP within the province and contribute toward local water projects that will empower our local communities. We commit ourselves to increasing the influence of YWPs in the state-owned space through dialogues, forums and publications in the water sector.”
Experience should fear the strength of youth.” – Japanese proverb
Anya Eilers Western Cape lead, hydrologist at Zutari (formely Aurecon)
“It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
WISA • NEWS
Putting members first Over the past year, the WISA board has been hard at work to translate WISA’s vision of inspiring a passion for water into actions that make a difference for both its members and society at large.
ISA and its members are facing numerous challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The poorly performing economy and government policies exacerbated by the resultant lockdown have had a significant impact, despite water being an essential service. The potential also exists for a significant impact on the operational continuity of water services provision should large numbers of essential water services staff require isolation or hospitalisation due to Covid-19. Addressing members at the recent virtual WISA AGM, outgoing chair Achim Wurster noted, “Business continuity in the water sector is important, since water plays a
critical role as an essential service and remains highly relevant under the current constrained economic and health conditions.” The WISA head office was quick to adjust to Covid-19 regulations and operations have continued, with an ongoing focus on providing benefits for members.
Responding to member feedback
Three most recent WISA membership survey revealed three key themes: 1. Improving opportunities for WISA members to gain knowledge and interact with other members. 2. Playing a role in the public discourse on relevant water issues and thereby becoming an active voice for members.
3. Improving the scientific and engineering skills and knowledge of members and the sector. The WISA board annually reviews the results of the WISA membership survey and adjusts the WISA strategy accordingly. According to Wurster, the themes above all fall under one of the existing six WISA strategic goals. In line with these goals, the WISA board and head office completed, among others, the following tasks over the past year: • further embedded good corporate governance within WISA • increased training opportunities and courses on offer through WISA • established the WISA technical committee tasked with being WISA’s technical voice in the public discourse on matters that affect members and society at large • increased WISA’s capacity to respond to media through the appointment of a media and public engagement consultant • resolved a perceived
WISA • NEWS
conflict of interest with SACNASP over professional registration • established a volunteer rewards programme • held a successful initial meeting, together with other professional associations in the water sector, with the Ministerial Advisory Committee of Water Experts from the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to foster closer interaction with the department and resolve issues affecting the water sector and WISA members. The Volunteer Rewards Programme will be implemented in 2020 as a small way of showing volunteer members how valuable they are to WISA and highlighting the important role that they play in the organisation and its participation structures. Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA, noted that the institute’s annual performance survey indicated that most members are happy with the services provided by WISA, but that a similar level of service should be rolled out to smaller and more remote areas. WISA, together with sector patrons and stakeholders, is trying to fulfil this objective by ensuring that all branches are more active. The institute is also working to expand beyond South Africa toward achieving the goal of serving the entire Southern African water sector.
Covid-19 has also disrupted planning for the biennial WISA 2020 Conference. Originally planned for June 2020, the conference has been rescheduled to take place from 6 to 9 December 2020. The conference will be going ahead in December as planned, either as a virtual or hybrid conference, depending on the Covid-19-related restrictions in place at the time. “We are confident that this conference – in virtual or hybrid virtual form – will pave the way for new event formats that will serve the water sector and our members. As a learning organisation, WISA is
learning every day during this pandemic, and we hope to leverage these lessons to improve our future offerings,” says Goldman. The conference, which is scheduled to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, is calling for #AllHandsOnDeck to address the ongoing water crisis. The conference will focus on six sub-themes, designed to read as a to-do list: 1. Reduce water demand and increase supply. 2. Manage resources for a capable ecology. 3. Manage and monitor effective water and sanitation services and infrastructure. 4. Govern and regulate the sector. 5. Improve raw water quality and management. 6. Develop skills and technology innovations and disruptors. According to Wurster, the WISA 2020 organising committee is likely to include a new session in the programme and will issue a call for submission of papers relevant to Covid-19 and water. “The WISA 2020 Conference remains highly relevant and we encourage everyone active in the water sector and related activities to attend,” he said.
Wurster stepped down from his position on the board and his seat was filled by Dr Harrison Pienaar. The new board comprises the following members: • Chair: Mr Dan Naidoo • Vice chair: Dr Inga Jacobs-Mata (strategy committee chair) • Stakeholder engagement committee chair: Dr Harrison Pienaar • Finance, audit and risk committee chair: Mr Gorden Walters • Technical committee chair: Professor Mike Muller • Director: Ms Natasia van Binsbergen • Director: Dr Nezar Eldidy • Director: Mr Sanele Mazibuko • Director: Dr Lester Goldman (CEO).
“This ends six years of serving on the WISA board. I thank all the WISA members and the various fellow board members along the way for the opportunity to serve; it was both a great pleasure and a great learning opportunity for me,” says Wurster. “I am looking forward to seeing the new ideas and passion of the current and future board members grow WISA as an organisation. We have come a long way; yet, looking forward, there is also still a lot to do that requires #AllHandsOnDeck.”
Goldman reports that WISA has remained consistently on track with its strategic objectives over the 2019 financial year. After the strategic objectives and constitutional changes agreed on in 2018 were determined to still be critical and relevant, WISA has concentrated on improving and embedding them within the organisation and sector. These included the acceptance of the new WISA MOI and related documents. WISA’s continued commitment to good governance helped ensure an unqualified audit report, with very few minor housekeeping suggestions from the auditors. WISA also maintained its ISO certification during this review period. “The stable membership statistics, with slow growth and increasing activity in our participation structure, is a clear indication that our members and stakeholders have supported our constitutional updates and are comfortable with the practical aspects related to our activities,” says Goldman. Goldman thanks the WISA board, committees, participation structures and head office team for their individual and collective efforts, as well as the WISA members for their continued support. “We appreciate and applaud the work you do in the sector and want to empower and support you in any way possible. Despite facing tough times as a country, I am reminded by Leonard Cohen singing, ‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’.” J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
Financing NRW projects post Covid-19 The continuous supply of clean water is more important than ever as the globe fights the Covid-19 pandemic. Reducing non-revenue water (NRW) is one of the most effective ways to improve water supply. By Danielle Petterson
ith handwashing being the cheapest, most widely available defence against Covid-19 infection, reliable piped water supply to premises is vital. However, as utilities come under financial pressure, ensuring this water supply may become more difficult.
According to David Ehrhardt, chief executive, Castalia, water utilities are facing reduced income and increased expenses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Utilities around the globe are reporting a cash flow reduction of
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anywhere between 30% and 90%. This is largely due to reduced demand from large industrial and commercial consumers, payment holidays granted by utilities, consumers being unable to pay their bills, and a suspension of disconnections due to non-payment. This is coupled with higher operating costs due to PPE and social distancing requirements, and generally more difficult operating conditions. “In cities with dense underserved communities, as is the case in many African countries, there is not much people can do to protect themselves aside from frequent handwashing and good hygiene. If you don’t have a safe water supply, or must queue at a water point, it creates a greater health risk. Utilities are therefore under increasing pressure to supply services with less money,” says Ehrhardt. South Africa has rolled out thousands of water tanks to communities and schools across the country to enable better hygiene practices in underserved areas. However, this comes at a time when dam levels in parts of the water-stressed country are declining, and some areas remain in the grip of a devastating drought.
Why NRW projects?
Ehrhardt believes that NRW projects do not get enough attention, often
because people in the water sector, government and funding agencies don’t realise how effective NRW reduction could be in helping water utilities to provide services and, more immediately, survive the pandemic. “NRW projects are very useful for many water utilities at the best of times, but especially now. First, if you can convert NRW to revenue water, you can earn more money. Second, by reducing physical losses, you gain more resources, increasing water availability in the network,” he explains. In a situation where you need more water to meet demand or extend water supply into previously unserved communities, reducing NRW is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to achieve this. For drought-stricken areas, such as South Africa’s Eastern Cape, NRW reduction should form an integral part of drought response initiatives. Ehrhardt and his team at Castalia worked with the City of Cape Town to help develop its long-term strategy following the Day Zero threat. NRW was a key focus area for Cape Town and proved very successful. Furthermore, most governments around the world are seeing significant economic declines due to the pandemic and are looking for sources of economic stimulus. This traditionally comes
from infrastructure projects. “While big infrastructure builds are important, we need stimulus projects that act quickly. NRW projects are highly labour intensive and mostly performed by locals, putting them near the top of the list in terms of bang for your buck,” says Ehrhardt.
Ehrhardt argues that for many cashstrapped utilities, the only solution will be for government to give them longterm loans or grants so that they have enough cash to keep operating. However, cash flow is down for most governments and many developing countries (South Africa included) were already at the limit of their borrowing capacity prior to the pandemic. As a result, there is little money available for infrastructure stimulus. The best available option is to acquire private funding for projects. According to Ehrhardt, NRW projects offer good rates of return, commonly between 30% and 50%, and sometimes as high as 100%. Payback periods of less than two years are also achievable. These figures are attractive to private financiers, as they exceed returns on water treatment plant BOOTs, for example. “With that kind of return, you can attract private capital that is seeking to earn a 10% to 15% rate of return
on funds invested, and still have benefits left over for the public sector.” Importantly, the project must be profitable, which depends on factors such as the tariffs and level of NRW. This can be done using performancebased contracts (PBCs), where a private company – skilled in NRW projects – is paid on a performance basis, measured on how much NRW is converted to revenue water. The rate of payment is agreed on by both parties and is calculated to cover the private company’s operating and capital costs for the project. The utility benefits from reduced NRW without incurring the risks and costs associated with the project. While PBCs are not appropriate in every case, and utilities can implement effective NRW projects in-house, analysis shows that PBCs are about 70% more effective in achieving NRW reduction than utility-led NRW reduction programmes. According to Ehrhardt, a lack of information is one of the biggest problems when it comes to designing PBCs. It is very important to know the level of NRW and its composition up front. If this information in unavailable or inaccurate, the cost of reducing NRW is not known. “The problems with negotiating this contract at the start is that you don’t
Performancebased contracts are about 70% more effective in achieving NRW reduction than utilityled NRW reduction programmes
really know what it should cost to reduce NRW, and you need an accurate and objective way of measuring success.” Ehrhardt recommends agreeing on an upfront price based on what the water is worth to the utility – less than the tariff at which the water can be sold or the cost of acquiring new sources of water. Contracts can be structured to focus on a limited amount of NRW reduction initially. Thereafter, a better idea can be gained on the costs to further reduce NRW. Typically, it becomes more expensive the lower the level of NRW you try to achieve. “Utilities doing this for the first time would be well advised to get an expert consultant. This doesn’t have to be an expensive task, but there is a specific way of designing these contracts and getting it wrong could create a lot of problems. Having a specialist to deal with questions and develop a contract is likely to be a good investment,” says Ehrhardt. Castalia has assisted in creating material to assist in establishing and managing PBCs for NRW projects, which can be accessed here: pppknowledgelab.org/pbcsfornrw. J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
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Lessons in resilience
The three-year drought that gripped South Africa’s Western Cape region has many lessons in resilience to teach not only South Africa, but the rest of the world.
uring 2017 and early 2018, over four million South Africans faced the terrifying prospect of running out of water when Cape Town announced a potential ‘Day Zero’. This would be the day when dam levels were so low that reticulation to most residential areas in the city would be
turned off and residents would have to queue every day for their daily rations of 25 litres per person at 200 manual water collection points around the city. In the end, Day Zero was averted, as the daily drawdowns from the major dams feeding Cape Town were slowed dramatically and the rains of the 2018 winter rainfall season came early.
But the brush with disaster had been too close. If the Day Zero disaster plan had been implemented, the consequences for Cape Town and its residents would have been catastrophically disruptive. Even the averted crisis had serious adverse consequences. Important sectors of the local economy, such as tourism, suffered substantial commercial costs as international travellers were scared away when the Day Zero story made global headlines. The reputational damage to the city was severe, and the social fabric of the city came under severe strain. So, what can be learnt from this costly, narrowly averted disaster?
Learning from crisis by capturing insights
It was in order to answer this question that project partners Peter Willis and Victor van Aswegen founded the Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative in mid-2018 in the wake of the crisis, shortly after the announcement by authorities that Day Zero was unlikely to happen that year. Motivated by the twin insights that, first, the crisis was a multifaceted event, and second, a great many
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people gained many new insights over the course of this intense period, they realised that there could be substantial social value in recording and gathering in one place the individual observations, analyses and reflections from senior societal actors who had been involved in crafting the city’s drought response and from acknowledged experts and researchers in the field. Rather than asking people to record their views and recollections in writing, the decision was made to conduct and film in-depth interviews. This enabled interviewees to expand at length on camera, downloading their first-hand knowledge based on direct personal involvement in senior decision-making capacities during the crisis or sharing the results of their research work. A total of 39 such interviews were conducted, with a total runtime of 43 hours, and all made publicly available as a learning resource on the project website www.droughtresponse-learning-initiative.org. Interviewees were deliberately selected from a wide spectrum of sectors, ranging from government and business to intermediary organisations, NGOs, civil society and academia. The emphasis was on the diversity of points of view offered by widely varying individual perspectives, ranging from the deputy mayor to an informal settlement dweller, from independent consultants to leaders of major businesses.
Learning from crisis by distilling lessons
From this rich resource of wide-ranging
insights captured on film, the key themes and learnings were then identified and three series of 56 filmbased learning outputs were produced, all again made available on the project website. The flagship output of the initiative is the Learning from Crisis series. Each of the 16 films in the series draws together multiple voices and viewpoints on a particular subject – on average six or seven interviewees setting out the key points on a topic in about 20 minutes. This gives the user a quick and efficient introduction to each of these important topics to have emerged from the crisis, with the opportunity to listen to and watch knowledgeable people discuss the subject. True to the multifaceted nature of the crisis event, these cover a wide range of subjects, demonstrated by the following sample of topics covered in the series: • Adapting to climate change • Effecting household behaviour change • You can’t build yourself out of a drought • Inequality and social cohesion in a crisis • Feasibility of the Day Zero disaster plan • System management and operational issues • The governance challenge • Suspend the politics • A new relationship with water • Is Cape Town more resilient now? Each of the 16 modules in the series also contains a text component accompanying the film and summarising its key points to facilitate learning.
In addition to the Learning from Crisis series, there are also two series of 40 shorter clips, of around five minutes each. The Spotlight series offers briefings on a specialised topic of which the interviewee has expert knowledge rooted in deep professional engagement and personal involvement during the crisis. The Viewpoint series contains brief, digestible opinion pieces in which the interviewees express personal points of view. The Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative was undertaken in association with the University of Cape Town’s African Climate and Development Initiative, in partnership with lead donor The Resilience Shift, and with the generous additional support of Old Mutual, Nedbank, Woolworths, Aurecon, PwC, GreenCape, Arup, and 100 Resilient Cities. It is an invaluable resource, making widely accessible the important lessons learnt in Cape Town, distilled from an intense two-year engagement with the subject, with particular relevance to other rainfall-dependent cities around the world.
Would you like to know more? www.drought-response-learninginitiative.org
J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
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The challenges and solutions
Water scarcity, both locally and globally, is going to shape water management trends indefinitely. By Dr Andries Nel*
resident Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement late last year, “Our existing water systems are already over-exploited, as usage increases rapidly due to population growth and as more homes get connected to water. Combine this with the worsening effects of climate change and we are clearly facing a dire situation. Unless we take drastic measures to conserve water sources and promote efficient use, water insecurity will become the biggest developmental and economic challenge facing this country.” The growing economic crisis due to Covid-19 has introduced a more immediate economic challenge; however, it is important to remember that while we navigate our way through the fallout from the pandemic, water security will remain a critical issue that needs to be addressed. As such, what are some of the current challenges facing water management in South Africa, and what are the solutions?
Climate change South Africa is already a water-scarce
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country and the negative effects of climate change are likely to have an adverse impact on the country’s already strained water resources. Lower rainfall, with limited underground aquifers, will negatively affect the increasing population and the economy as a whole. Water is used in a vast array of industries and sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining, power generation and infrastructure development, which form the backbone of the South African economy. It is difficult to predict the effects of increasing water scarcity on a developing country such as South Africa. However, Business Day stated that in 2019, the agricultural sector contracted by 13.2% in the first quarter and 4.2% and 3.6% in the second and third quarters, respectively, essentially due to drought. Increasing water demand South Africa’s domestic population is increasing at an alarming rate, which subsequently results in a higher water demand. According to Stats SA’s Mid-Year Population Estimates Report (from July 2019), the estimated overall population
Dr Andries Nel, head: Water, SEM Solutions
growth rate rose from approximately 1% for the period 2002–2003 to 1.4% for the period 2018–2019. In addition to the population increase, considering factors such as poor water conservation awareness and high illiteracy levels will also exacerbate the water demand. In view of the country’s strategy for increased economic growth, the increase in production sectors such
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as agriculture, industry and mining will contribute to an increased water demand. The agricultural sector, responsible for food production and security, uses approximately 60% of the available water in South Africa. Ageing water infrastructure As President Ramaphosa pointed out, our existing water systems are over-exploited. This is due, in part, to our ageing and outdated water infrastructure. Coupled with minimal maintenance on the existing water network, with minimal inclusion of novel technologies, we are faced with immense wastages as a result of system leaks. Over a third of South Africa’s water supply is lost due to ageing and leaking water infrastructure. Furthermore, our existing wastewater recycling systems are struggling to treat the increasing wastewater demand, leading to further wastages and system inefficiencies. Water quality South Africa’s water quality is severely impacted by industry polluters and aggravated by ageing water treatment infrastructure. Industrial effluent is a major contributor to the pollution of water sources. In some sectors, such as mining and industry, heavy metals are used in refining processes and disposed of as industrial effluent. This effluent should be disposed of in a particular, environmentally friendly manner; however, there have been cases in which these contaminants have ended up in groundwater due to pipe leaks and insufficient treatment capacity of wastewater treatment plants. Evaporative cooling incorporating chemical dosing also contributes towards increased water usage and water pollution, even though air-cooled alternatives are available. Natural dams and rivers have been polluted with raw sewage due to insufficient wastewater treatment plant capacities.
Water conservation We need a paradigm shift, towards embracing water conservation through public awareness and education around water use. The water crisis in Cape Town showed us that South Africans can adapt their lifestyles and habits, promoting water conservation. Nonetheless, the
solution is not just in the hands of the public. New policy, legal restrictions, incentives and standards should be explored as part of a holistic approach for water sustainability. Technology Like in many other sectors, technology is playing a vital role in making water management systems and water networks more efficient. We have seen potential for the greater use of technologies such as variable-frequency drives on water supply pump motors to increase the efficiency of water networks. Other technologies, such as intelligent monitoring solutions incorporating smart meters and the internet of things (IoT), have provided water networks with fewer leaks and increased efficiencies. Other technology-based solutions include: • Digital twin modelling, which uses a virtual model of an existing water network to create real-time analysis and monitoring capabilities. The digital twin model incorporates live and historical data to highlight potential problems before they occur. • The integration of IoT to improve data gathering, resulting in optimised control and forecasting. • Precision farming is becoming key to agricultural water efficiency. Innovative agricultural technologies and tools can provide insights into water use on farms, allowing farmers to be more resource efficient. These are, among other things, water restrictors on irrigation systems, scheduling optimisation and demand control of pivot and conventional irrigation systems. • Pressure control valves and water supply pressure optimisation to improve
industrial and mining water efficiency by reducing the effects of leaks in the system. • In the building services sector, water efficiency solutions can include, inter alia, low-flow sanitary fittings, greywater reclamation, wastewater recycling, borehole water utilisation, rainwater harvesting, and smart water metering with built-in leak detection. Financial allocation South Africa’s ageing water infrastructure and greater water demand requirements need to be addressed. As the president said, we must take drastic measures to avoid water insecurity becoming our biggest developmental and economic challenge. While there is a great need to make our cities more resilient to climate change, we have always been a water-scarce country and there will always be a need for us to manage this finite resource effectively and efficiently. Therefore, it is not just about managing existing infrastructure; it is also about future-proofing our water networks – all of which requires forward investment thinking and financial planning. Water as a natural resource is essential to life and is becoming increasingly scarce. Access to clean water is a human right and recent crises in South Africa have shown both the public and private sectors that we need to be planning better. Resilience, adaptability and critical thinking are going to be key factors in our ongoing pursuit of sustainable water resource management. Together, we can make a difference.
*Dr Andries Nel is the head: Water at SEM Solutions. As a mechanical engineer and engineering manager, his core focus is the design and delivery of turnkey water solutions. J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
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SA joins fight for Human Right 2 Water The launch of the Human Right 2 Water, a global NGO, could not have happened at a more opportune time. As the world grapples with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the protection of the right to life and health has never been more important.
Dhesigen Naidoo, CEO of the Water Research Commission and president of the Human Right 2 Water leadership team
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he UN’s 2018 Human Development Report estimates that the current rates of resource overuse and depletion, together with increased levels of pollution, will likely result in two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed areas. According to the report, the rate of increase of water use is already leading to chronic water shortage in an increasing number of regions. Trying to address this is Human Right 2 Water, an international NGO registered in Switzerland. Operating through a virtual structure, the NGO brings together the skills of its membership and experts in water and sanitation governance and international human rights from around the globe. The NGO hopes that – through the continued push for realising human rights in law, policy and practice – it can help all people to realise a wide range of human rights, including the right to health, a healthy environment, food, and a life lived in dignity. The Human Right 2 Water leadership team is Dhesigen Naidoo (CEO, Water Research Commission) as president, with Amanda Loeffen (former executive director, Waterlex) as CEO, and Michel Jarraud (former secretary-general, World Meteorological Organization) as chair of the Committee of Experts. “The global Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a pause point, forcing us to relook at the fundamentals. It has emphasised the criticality of water to deal with the immense challenge, both in containment as well as treatment and recovery,” says Naidoo. “There is a strong need for a humancentred strategy, core to which has to be a human-rights-based approach. This will afford an opportunity to enable this Covid moment into a turnaround point, toward a more sustainable and caring world with
heightened resilience to better deal with future shocks.”
South Africa made great strides in the Nelson Mandela years, with a humanrights-based approach to water access and water management, led by Kader Asmal and his team. A revolutionary water law that sought to address unequal access through linking water issues to human rights, social justice and environmental sustainability – the National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998) – was lauded globally. Today, the global novel coronavirus pandemic has intensified the plight of the marginalised and disenfranchised by further exacerbating the challenges related to access to clean drinking water and sanitation. Human Right 2 Water is pro-youth and envisions a world where all people realise the human rights to water and sanitation, through the use and sharing of expert knowledge on how these human rights should be integrated into law, policy and practice. The goal is to realise safe and sustainable access to water and sanitation for all, including the most vulnerable such as youth, who are increasingly marginalised across the globe. “As we strive toward the SDG deadlines – in a time of an almost perfect storm of global crises, with the Covid-19 pandemic riding alongside the economic downturn, an increasing climate emergency and a multilateral system that is under attack – a return to a basic value system represents an important building block on the road to recovery. “Human Right 2 Water is available as a knowledge partner to assist governments and regions to develop laws, policies and strategies to increase water security to fulfil basic needs while making water available for growth and development,” says Naidoo.
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Tailings management aims to progress despite headwinds Tailings storage facilities (TSFs) are great achievements of civil engineering and have tested some of the best brains in the mining sector. Now, despite current headwinds related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry is planning to raise the bar even further by advancing its best practice in a concerted fashion over the next decade.
he impetus for this, according to Adriaan Meintjes, partner and principal civil geotechnical engineer at SRK Consulting, has been a series of TSF accidents in the past few years. The most recent – and dramatic – was the failure of the TSF at Vale’s Córrego do Feijão iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The event, which took place on 25 January 2019, killed over 250 people. “This led to an industry-wide response from a range of organisations – which could be compared in some ways to the response of the security community to the New York terror attacks in 2001,” says Meintjes. “Needless to say, consultancies like SRK have been kept very busy, as mining companies assess their fiduciary risk connected with TSFs.” He highlighted the difficulties in TSF engineering, stemming mainly from the dynamic nature of the infrastructure
Vibrating wire with transmitter installation on a TSF
– which is subject to the facility’s growing capacity. The contents of the TSF shift constantly, with chemical and structural changes in the tailings themselves as the orebody and mineral processing parameters alter. “The changes in and interactions of all these factors – often over a lifespan of decades – complicate the planning, construction, operations, decommissioning and closure of these facilities,” he said. “If errors occur during any of these stages, failure can result.”
The Feijão accident surprised experts for various reasons. An important one was how quickly and completely the integrity of the TSF failed. The front wall was inspected in the days before the failure and deemed to be stable, but it collapsed completely in less than one minute. This mode of rapid failure is a brittle failure,
Adriaan Meintjes, principal civil geotechnical engineer, SRK Consulting
similar to glass breaking. It is normally expected that early signs of failure are ductile and gradual, and can be picked up and addressed long before a total collapse. It was also troubling that the facility was in a mature stage of its life, and was in fact in the process of decommissioning;
it had not received any tailings for more than a year. “The prevailing view is that TSFs are most vulnerable as they approach the end of their lives – and while they are still actively being fed with tailings,” he said. “This accident shows that TSF failure can occur at any time, if adverse site conditions combine.”
At the centre of managing the risk of TSFs is the ability to monitor accurately and frequently, says Meintjes. Unfortunately, this is probably where there is the most variation in best practice within the industry. So, it is fitting that TSF monitoring is an important focus of global efforts by various stakeholders to improve standards. “The instrumentation that is traditionally deployed on TSFs usually has to be manually read, at intervals that vary from days to months,” he says. “The shortcomings of these systems include human error and other inconsistencies – as well as the obvious time lapses before results are available for decision-makers.” Advances in electronic instrumentation and remote sensing systems, such as satellite deformation modelling, however, have opened the door to real-time performance monitoring. The sophistication of the equipment, combined with the power of remote sensing, makes it much easier and quicker for mines to conduct detailed field sampling – even testing the properties of tailings. “Certain modern instruments – many of which are smaller and cheaper to install – can now be hosted in the tailings material, and can send data relating to
deposition parameters,” Meintjes adds. He notes that the improved readings can be leveraged by better data acquisition systems; data transmission systems can centralise the collection of data, which can also then be shared across mine networks. “New industry standards will demand that these systems are integrated. Better monitoring means that potential failures can be detected earlier, and interventions can be put in place. In many instances, we have been doing this for decades – but it needs more consistent application across the whole sector,” Meintjes says. Modelling will also be a valuable field of technological advance. Fed by the data from modern sensors, modelling software will help engineers to compare the TSF’s actual behaviour with its original design expectations. “This will allow us to understand more clearly what is taking place at different stages in the TSF life cycle. We can then further improve best practice as it relates to each phase – from design through to closure – and incrementally learn from the information gained as to the next steps to be taken,” he says.
Meintjes is sober about the timeframe that such a process will involve, indicating that it may easily take 10 or more years of diligent perseverance. Indeed, he warns that attempts to rush such an important review would not be advisable – as key
An example output from a vibrating wire data logger
observations and insights would then be missed. “To achieve the necessary innovations that we seek, we will obviously have to run the manual legacy system alongside the high-tech options that we want to test,” he says. “This approach is the responsible route, which ensures that safety is always at the heart of our efforts.” But he is upbeat about the commitment demonstrated by all stakeholders, including mining company executives. The sector’s global body, the International Council on Mining and Metals, is undertaking a comprehensive review of tailings management – in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment, as well as the International Commission on Large Dams and a number of other related and interested organisations. He also emphasises the need to convince all stakeholders that the process is moving constructively and efficiently. “Our work to date in both field sampling and testing is already delivering better results,” he says. “We expect a continued improvement, and look forward to taking significant steps in TSF safety through scientific and applied endeavour.” He acknowledges that Covid-19 lockdowns are indeed slowing the pace of this good work. “The economic disruption from lockdowns, with the loss of income in local and global economies, is certainly focusing minds on survival,” says Meintjes. “However, addressing these demanding conditions goes alongside the need to constantly pursue and improve industry best practice.” J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
A water-driven approach
Mining in South Africa has faced a significant downturn in recent years. Focusing on water efficiency may help secure savings for mines while also preserving a limited resource. By Danielle Petterson
outh Africa, although technically a water-scarce country, is fortunate to have sufficient water resources available to support large-scale mining operations. However, the relatively wide availability of water may have led to complacency around the use of water in mining operations, says Stephen Rose, director advisory group: Industry, Royal HaskoningDHV. “Optimising your water efficiency has a direct impact on optimising the performance of your mine. When we are undertaking feasibility or economic assessments for mines, we often find that water is a key deciding factor in determining whether the mine will be viable or not,” he says. This is fundamentally linked to the availability of water on the mine site and the cost of importing water. Mines use a vast amount of water in their operations. On average, in South Africa, coal mines use 0.8 m3 water per run of
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mine (RoM) tonne, gold mines use 2.5 m3 per RoM tonne, and platinum 1.7 m3 per RoM tonne. However, a massive disparity exists in water use at different mining operations. “There is data to indicate that certain mines are doing far better at water conservation and reuse than others. On some gold mines, water use drops to as low as 1.1 m3 per RoM tonne. On mines that don’t perform as well, it goes up to 3.5 m3 per RoM tonne,” says Rose. While some mines are performing better than others, current legislation – which Rose describes as prescriptive and forwardlooking – enforces compliance in many areas. However, enforcement of the law can be a challenge.
“Mining is extremely water intensive and it is absolutely critical that the mine’s operations are geared up to be as efficient as possible to minimise the use of fresh
water. We should adopt a water-driven mining approach with water-sensitive practices at the core of mining,” says Sheilla de Carvalho, director business unit: Industry & Smart Asset Management, Royal HaskoningDHV. When it comes to optimising water usage to make a more profitable mine, there are two metrics to focus on: consumptive water use and total water use throughout operations. Optimising your water use per tonne not only increases the chances of having your water-use licence application approved but also creates a more sustainable business. “The less water you use, the less you have to pump, the less you pay in electricity charges, the smaller equipment you will require and, consequently, the less your maintenance costs are likely to be,” explains Rose. Many mines in South Africa are waterpositive – meaning they generate more water than they use. When discharging into the environment, water must be
treated to potable standards, or higher. Reusing water within the mine can therefore sometimes be the cheaper option. Extensive opportunities exist for the reuse of excess water generated from the mine within operations and, in the case of heavily water-positive mines, to boost potable water supplies for surrounding communities. Water pumped out of the mine can be reused as process water, for dust suppression, or to feed supporting mining infrastructure such as offices and change houses. Progressive technologies are also creating a shift towards dry tailings methodologies in which water is pressed out of the final product and reused within the mine or the process. Further opportunities exist to extract valuable by-products from mine water, although this often requires economies of scale. In some instances, water can be treated for use outside the mine, often for agriculture or potable consumption. The Optimum Coal plant in Mpumalanga, for example, supplies much of Hendrina’s potable water. The Sishen mine in the Northern Cape, operated by Kumba Iron Ore, discharges its excess groundwater into the Vaal Gamagara Regional Water Supply Scheme. “It is not only technically feasible, but it should become the responsible way to treat your excess water in the mining industry,” says Rose.
The right technology
Using the right technology is key. Royal HaskoningDHV’s Crystalactor® technology, for example, uses a crystallisation process to purify water,
harvesting high-purity pellets that are reusable and can be sold in some cases. According to Rose, it is typically used when there are heavy metals, phosphates and carbonates in the water, as is typical in mining operations. Provided the feedwater is of sufficient quality, Crystalactor can largely be used as a stand-alone technology, thereby reducing costs. The process also creates very dry solids, which vastly reduces disposal costs. “The Crystalactor can also be used to treat some of the components of acid mine drainage. Some of the high-level benefits include the generation of high-purity crystals, which can be sold as by-products, extremely low energy consumption and low chemical consumption,” explains Rose. Crystalactor technology is currently being used at one of South Africa’s gold mines on a dewatering circuit for underground fissure water. Here, it
softens the water and removes uranium and nickel. “The important thing is to think holistically about where the water is being generated and the surrounding communities and potential impacts and/or benefits thereof. We should not only be looking at mine water treatment technologies for the mine itself, but also potential biological treatment technologies within these communities and harnessing the combined opportunities for reuse,” says De Carvalho. She highlights Nereda®, a biological treatment process, which can be coupled with other technologies and offers many benefits including high energy efficiency and a small footprint. Nereda purifies water using the unique features of aerobic granular biomass. Contrary to conventional processes, the purifying bacteria concentrate naturally in compact granules, with superb settling
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properties. As a result of the large variety of biological processes that simultaneously take place in the granular biomass, Nereda can produce excellent effluent quality. “You need to know what you are dealing with and employ the best combination of technologies, taking into account the final use of the water. The economics need to make sense,” adds Rose. De Carvalho also highlights the importance of digital technologies that allow mines to make more informed decisions. “We are seeing a lot more attention being paid to the optimisation of mine operations, including water systems. You are now able to perform functions based on real, measured data and therefore reduce the use of chemicals, input energy costs and water wastage due to process inefficiencies.” An example of this is AquaSuite, which Royal HaskoningDHV developed together with other partners. AquaSuite allows for better monitoring, operation and control of your water system. The software uses accurate machine-learnt artificial intelligence prediction, based on good
data, to tell you how to operate your system most efficiently and effectively, and, if desired, automate operations and support predictive maintenance. “Data-informed decisions are critical,” stresses De Carvalho. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see that many of the mining houses in South Africa are aware of technologies around improved operations and maintenance, as well as data science. The awareness is there, the next step is for the private sector to join hands to implement these technologies faster and show the clear benefits not only on their mines but to the benefit of society at large.”
“One of the biggest drawbacks in South Africa is the level of education, awareness and training around the sustainable use of water. That often means that people are hesitant to employ more advanced technologies in remote places where they may be the best fit,” says Rose. De Carvalho elaborates that while the need for water and its use within the mine is top of mind, the economic value of
water, both from a mining and societal perspective, is not always very apparent. “We must find a way to attribute more value to water and move away from policy to day-to-day discourse. We need to think about water-sensitive mining the same way we think about water-sensitive cities.” She adds that without this approach, water may become a limiting factor for mining operations as well as development in general. Rose concurs that a holistic view of the mine and the context in which it exists and operates is important; the mine should become an asset to the community. “The sustainable use of water should be carried across the mining industry, government and regulatory bodies, together with communities and private companies. It should be everyone’s responsibility. The mining houses have a huge role to play, but the value of public-private partnerships is immense, and they will lead to more sustainable, holistic and forward-looking views on the management of our precious and limited water resources,” concludes Rose.
ASSE T MANAGEMENT Following 10 years of little to no proactive maintenance on the bulk supply system, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) transformed its approach. Transitioning from a lack of systems to a futurism approach, the municipality has significantly improved the operation of the system. By Chandre Barnard*
MBM is a Category A municipality, with a population of over 1.3 million. Current potable water production is approximately 280 Mℓ/day. The bulk supply pipelines are up to 100 years old, vary in size from 225 mm to 1 400 mm in diameter, and consist of several different pipe materials. These pipelines, with an estimated value of over R5.5 billion, are crucial to the supply of potable water to residents and businesses in NMBM, as well as the neighbouring Kouga Municipality.
Since the formation of NMBM in 2000, there has been no review of the institutional arrangements of the organisation. The environment has changed significantly in terms of water demand and geographical extent but, due to a moratorium on the filling of vacancies, the staff complement of the Bulk Water Supply Division has dwindled over time. The approved organogram dated June 2005 indicates 211 approved positions and 98 vacant posts in the division – a 46% vacancy rate. However, even at 100% occupancy, the organogram will not be able to satisfy the needs of the
NMBM bulk water resource map
The story of Nelson Mandela Bay’s bulk water maintenance current system. Added to this is an insufficient budget. During the 2016/17 financial year, just R2.178 million was available for the maintenance of NMBM’s 700 km of bulk pipelines. With the cleaning up of budgets and prioritisation, the 2018/19 budget for maintenance to pipelines was more than R9.5 million. While this is a tremendous improvement, it is still inadequate to eradicate the backlog. According to the CIDB’s maintenance budgeting guidelines, NMBM should have an annual maintenance budget of at least R220 million for bulk water pipelines.
NMBM had also fallen into the trap of becoming completely reactive in its operations, with a maintenance backlog in excess of 10 years. Pipe bursts and
disruptions to supply were the alarms for duty. Similar to the majority of municipal infrastructure in South Africa, very little was replaced proactively before a component ultimately failed. This makes repairs more expensive and increases safety risks. The lack of systems was a large contributor to a general lack of maintenance and the failure of infrastructure. The main storage building for all bulk supply materials was found to be in a state of utter neglect, indicating a clear lack of systems implementation. A neglected storage space means that repair materials are presumably only purchased when needed, if not found after a long search through the clutter. This delays repairs, in turn disrupting supply and increasing consumer frustrations. The store was cleaned, a stock list created, and sufficient stock levels procured for a
Before and after photos of the Linton bulk supply store
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ASSE T MANAGEMENT Repairing a broken chamber
Raising a chamber submerged by a sand dune
Newly replaced air valve
Neglected air valve chamber
minimum of at least two repairs for every pipeline at any given time. This ensures quick turnaround time on repairs. The municipality also adopted a ‘back to basics’ approach, followed by an intricate programme. Pipeline inspectors were mobilised and tasked with asking the following simple questions while inspecting pipelines: • Can you access the servitude? • Can you drive on the servitude road? • Is the chamber locked? • Are there visible leaks? • Is there any corrosion of pipe, valve or fittings? • Does it function? The answers to these questions resulted in a comprehensive external condition assessment. Problem identification is a crucial step in engineering. For instance, if the assessment shows a recurring problem, it can be highlighted and prioritised. Documenting standard procedures assists in preventing problems from repeating themselves. Pipeline inspectors carry a file in their vehicle containing many important documents, schematic plans and condition assessment sheets.
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These sheets are very basic – a tick list – as too much writing would create extra challenges among staff that already have low morale. There is an added benefit when technical staff accompany the inspectors. They are usually in possession of a smartphone with the ability to pinpoint the locations of chambers or problems as well as photographically documenting what is observed. The technical staff also assist in the capturing and sorting of this information once the assessment is completed. The newly acquired information was captured in the municipality’s water management system, known as Edams (Engineering, Design and Management System), which has been in use since 2005. The information was transformed into a network data modelling system through the association of element topology and zoning characteristics. This detailed information can give the engineer performing a desktop study the feeling of being on-site, as the entire external condition is captured and visible. This exercise also enabled NMBM to generate maintenance management reports. These automated job cards
are predefined and will ensure that the pipeline receives routine maintenance and does not return to the state it had been in before this project. The asset values and existing useful life of the pipeline could also be updated – valuable information for the maintenance manager.
One of the largest contributing factors to a lack of maintenance is the loss of intellectual assets, better known as skilled individuals. When these positions remain vacant or are filled by less qualified individuals, it leads to a breakdown in services. The consequences of the departure of experienced staff are a loss of mentors, skills and institutional memory. The latter is critical when it comes to water infrastructure, as pipelines are mostly buried and the bad recordkeeping of plans could see the pipeline location lost. This is often exacerbated by no career path or succession planning, which results in low staff morale. Another challenge is the siloed approach within the municipality. This is one of the most frustrating issues to a municipal
ASSE T MANAGEMENT engineer, as they are aware of the problem but lack the ability to fix it. Major inefficiencies are witnessed in the overall operations of the municipality when this constriction in information exists, as different divisions are working with completely different understandings of project outcomes. In addition, operating budgets are usually the biggest cause of financial distress. It is relatively easy for municipalities to acquire capital funding; however, operational issues cannot be rectified with national government funds. Sadly, the political landscape in South Africa focuses funds on investment rather than recurring expenditure. For smaller rural municipalities who must largely rely on national grants and subsidies, generating money to maintain this infrastructure is particularly problematic. Furthermore, financial managers usually set maintenance allocations as a percentage of the operating budget, which is an unsound method that does not consider the current condition of assets or what is needed for the asset to achieve its expected useful life. The vandalism of assets adds a further layer of complexities. Added to this, many municipal engineersÂ indicate that supply chain management is the biggest challenge when it comes to executing their duties. Excessive queries and a lack of responsibility can easily see formal contracts taking more than a year to be awarded. Systems like signatory or procurement requirements regularly change, requiring technical staff to start executing nonsensical administrative duties to simply process a payment. This is a large contributor to the underspending of budgets.
From a lack of systems to futurism
The budget is depleted by the obvious maintenance requirements, which leaves little to no money for the underlying, unforeseen issues. These issues can be identified through technologies that enable internal condition assessment and non-intrusive surveys. They can assist in identifying weak spots, which could be repaired, proactively, as well as budgeted for. With maintenance teams constantly facing reactive duties, it becomes a disturbance to repeatedly react to the operations of a dynamic system as well. A clever control system, using telemetry or Scada, can sometimes assist when faced with a lack of human resources.
The information captured on the pipeline before and after the interventions. Previously, there was only a blue line indicating position â€“ now, each item is captured along with its condition
NMBM executes most of its monitoring and operating functions of all its reservoirs and pump stations via a control room Scada server, where a process controller monitors it constantly. For the most part, the system functions reactively and upgrades are required for increased functionality. A link has been created between the water management system and the Scada system, which provides the ability to generate a wide variety of reports. A task team was set up to expedite the installation of bulk meters in order to establish losses on the bulk supply systems and develop water balances. Work is still ongoing and the number of meters currently in operation is 85 out of 107. With more metering, problem sections can be pinpointed and prioritised for maintenance.
It is evident that a large maintenance backlog exists in South Africa. NMBM has shown that simple methods can be used to
achieve great results by using an internal workforce. However, it is essential to obtain a stable workforce by retaining skills, having clear career paths, and thorough succession planning. To maintain an asset requires buy-in from all departments â€“ goals should be united. Inventory management, recordkeeping and document management should be done according to an approved quality management system such as ISO:9001. Municipalities must harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution in water network management and control. Communities all over South Africa that have been forgotten are increasingly turning to violent protests to get their voices heard. Similarly, these pipelines will continue to protest with bursts and disruptions, reminding us that we have forgotten them for too long.
*Chandre Barnard is the deputy director: Water Management & Bulk Supply at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
Long-term solutions needed The Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa precipitated a need for water tanks to be installed across the country to ensure communities have clean water. It has also highlighted the extent to which many communities still do not have adequate access to water and sanitation.
ational Treasury approved the use of R306 million from the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitationâ€™s (DHSWSâ€™s) 2019/20 Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant for the implementation of Covid-19 interventions. By 20 April, 7 698 water tanks had been installed across the country, and 1 239 water tankers deployed. Since then, thousands more tanks have been rolled out to schools and communities across South Africa. The aim has been to supply communities that are without access to a continuous supply of piped potable water with clean water for handwashing and hygiene in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A more permanent solution
The widespread roll-out of tanks has drawn attention to the need for more permanent water supply solutions for unserved communities. Mannie Ramos Jnr, COO, Abeco Tanks, stresses that short-term solutions are not the answer to the systemic water crisis in our communities. The problem is that, although 95% of South Africans now have water supply infrastructure, only 64% have a supply that is both safe and reliable. For
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residents of informal settlements, the situation is even worse. He explains that, at the outset of the pandemic in South Africa, the entire supply of plastic tanks in the country was purchased as government rushed to provide informal settlements and communities with water. However, these 5 000 ℓ plastic water tanks are meant for individual home use, not for larger communities. He highlights various problems. First, these tanks are too small for the needs of these communities. They also require a foundation, and therefore need to be implemented in tandem with a stand or concrete slab. Speaking in a joint Portfolio Committee and Select Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation meeting on Covid-19 initiatives in April, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu noted that there had been a lag in the distribution of tanks because they needed to be mounted on platforms. The provision of the platforms was the role of municipalities, which faced challenges in accessing the cement and bricks needed to mount and fix the tanks in position because hardware stores were closed under Level 5 lockdown. As at 20 April, a total of 18 875 tanks had been allocated to be distributed nationally. Of these, 14 737 tanks had been delivered, but only 7 698 had been installed. Ramos Jnr points out further challenges: queuing poses a risk of spreading the disease and taps will need to be regularly sanitised. Tankers will also be required to fill up smallsized tanks around the clock, which can be a logistical nightmare. Because of the possibility of corruption, the DHSWS, together with CoGTA, decided that private companies will not be allowed to fill the tanks. Instead, the joint parliamentary portfolio committee was told that the DHSWS would eventually buy all the trucks delivering water and allow the previous businesses to drive government-owned trucks. Professional water services consultant Derek Hazelton also expresses concern over interventions largely being limited to water tanks. He draws on his experiences as the coordinator: Water Supply Task Force for the National Consultative Forum on Drought in 1992/93. During the 1992/93 drought, efforts quickly moved from tankering to refurbishing old boreholes and drilling new ones, as the
use of tanks is costly and therefore not sustainable. However, he notes that while this change was highly beneficial to all stakeholders, the revised interventions did not lead to sustainable supplies, as there was no follow-up to rectify the poor governance issues causing the appalling state of disrepair that existed prior to the drought. “The same situation applies today, in 2020. A very comprehensive follow-up in line with the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan’s call to action will be required to turn around the current water services crisis that already existed before Covid-19,” says Hazelton. Today, with many more households having piped water, fixing visible leaks on distribution systems and from fixtures on private property also needs to proceed immediately, so that downstream users without water receive a supply. He calls for water services authority (WSA) capacity building, community employment creation, improved wastewater management, reduced leakage from water systems, and the financial strengthening of WSAs to turn around the current water services crisis.
The problem is that, although 95% of South Africans now have water supply infrastructure, only 64% have a supply that is both safe and reliable
Larger tanks a better solution
Ramos Jnr points out that larger tanks, which can hold up to 50 million litres of water, could provide a better solution as they need to be filled less frequently than 5 000 ℓ tanks, and therefore reduce the logistics complexity. By installing larger-volume tanks, multiple taps can be inserted 1.5 m apart – an option that is not available with the 5 000 ℓ plastic tanks. More taps will reduce queueing times and allow for more effective social distancing, which is key to preventing the spread of Covid-19. Ultimately, Ramos Jnr calls for more spending on water infrastructure such as fabricated water reservoirs and the connection of larger tanks to a main water supply as a longer-term measure until water infrastructure is piped in. “Water tanks should be viewed as a longer-term strategy to bank water and make it available to communities until water infrastructure projects are implemented. If one thinks about how people save money in a bank for when they need it, in the same way water tanks should be viewed as ‘banks’ for water that can be used during times of emergency or water shortages,” he concludes.
Web platform addresses Covid-19 challenges A new website dedicated to collaboration and knowledge sharing in the water sector has been launched by technology consultancy Isle.
ponsored by leading water industry partners, the Water Action Platform started as a response to Covid-19. The platform pools experience and expertise from utilities around the world and has grown to encompass a much wider range of topics. The Water Action Platform is open to all and will be especially useful to water utilities, technology companies, global industry groups, governments, and
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financial and academic institutions. This dynamic platform will catalyse experiences within the global water network to foster responses to Covid-19, at scale, to protect lives and livelihoods. “Only through targeted global collaboration and coordinated action can we assist with the response to and recovery from this unprecedented health emergency. We aim to identify ways to support utilities and minimise the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on communities around the world where we can,” says Piers Clark, chairman, Isle.
Six key learnings from the Water Action Platform technologies addressing 1 95Covid-19 issues
Technology will play a key role as utilities seek sustainable, viable solutions to Covid-19 challenges. Detailed research has identified 95 technologies with a role to play in virus detection, removal, monitoring and contingency, including: • 8 for detecting and monitoring for the presence of SARS-CoV-2
• 32 with a proven ability to remove or deactivate SARS-CoV-1 or 2 • 29 for supporting remote work • 26 that can help water utilities manage contingency in times of crisis.
technology offers early 2 Nanopore virus detection potential
A molecule-sensing technology developed by UK company Oxford Nanopore could be on the cusp of a breakthrough into the water sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has developed the only technology that offers the sequencing of native deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) along with genuine real-time monitoring. The technology has been successfully applied in other sectors and can identify the DNA and RNA of microorganisms or viruses in liquids by looking at the resistance created across the nanomembrane, which varies across different microbe species.
epidemiology is 3 Sewage increasingly valuable
The huge value and potential of using
sewage epidemiology for scanning the spread of Covid-19 infection in populations is being revealed. Contrary to early assumptions, evidence based on sewage sample analysis now shows that the virus arrived in Italy in December 2019, rather than February 2020 as originally thought.
wo factors impact on the 4 Tcost of implementing wastewater surveillance
The Water Action Platform community is keen to learn how to cost the implementation of an epidemiological wastewater surveillance system for SARS-CoV-2. Costs vary depending on geographic location and the availability of laboratory capacity at the appropriate biosafety level and access to commercial and university labs. More data is being gathered on the costs of epidemiological surveys.
face huge revenue losses 5 Utilities due to Covid-19
Utilities around the world anticipate a major loss in revenue due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The current prediction of the financial impact of Covid-19 on US drinking water utilities is approximately US$13.9 billion (R238 billion), representing an overall 16.9% financial toll. “If this is the scale of impact in the US, where the majority of residents are able and willing to pay their water bills, the impact in other parts of the world is going to be even more extreme,” says Clark.
SPONSORS Sponsors of the Water Action Platform include: • World Bank • Unicef • Water Services Association of Australia • AquaFed • AfriAlliance • World Water Innovation Fund • Institution of Civil Engineers • Inheritance Enterprises • Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia • Atkins • Hydro International • Skion Water • Aqualia • Metito • LuminUltra Technologies • Andeye
vending machines provide 6 Water affordable supplies
The need for all communities to have access to affordable piped water supplies has become even more critical through the Covid-19 pandemic. Where that is not yet possible, the roll-out of solar-powered water vending machines is providing a practical alternative. The water ‘ATMs’ are an economically viable and safe solution for urban and rural communities. Pricing is not much more than the cost of piped supplies, and the purified rainwater is paid for via a water card, purchased from vendors and local shops. To join the Water Action Platform community, visit www.wateractionplatform.com.
COVID-19 • OPINION
The article (Part 1 of 2) aims to stress how essential it is for South Africa to implement comprehensive measures to achieve speedy, equitably shared, sustainable economic recovery as the Covid-19 pandemic eases, and to give an overview of the approach needed to ensure successful recovery. By Derek G Hazelton
South Africa: before, during and after Covid-19
uring April 1994, South Africans were full of hope for the future as we cast our first votes as a free people. There was amazing unity of purpose, stability and, in some sectors such as water supply, there was real progress towards serving the poor.
But by 1996, our government began to abandon its RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) socio-economic policy framework, and introduced GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution). As a result, our expectations of reduced poverty and inequality, and the needed gradual
Derek G Hazelton, Pr Eng., FWISA, founder and manager of TSE Water Services
transformation of our whole society were dashed. De-industrialisation began and unemployment levels increased. But worse was still to come through Aids denialism and, later, shameless indiscriminate corruption. By January 2020, poor service delivery, record levels of unemployment, especially among the youth, failed state enterprises and municipalities, and poor economic forecasts all competed for our attention. Our unity was destroyed. In relation to our achievable expectations, and our youths’ assessment, it had been a failed 26 years.
March to July 2020
FIGURE 1 Institutional arrangements set up in terms of the disaster response directions
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Such was the situation in South Africa when the first Covid-19 case was confirmed on 5 March 2020. Twenty days later, the initial ‘hard lockdown’ was declared. The lockdown severely restricted the movement of people and goods to buy us time to get our health services in order. Simultaneously, government issued a set of disaster response directions. These had four aims: 1. T o set up the institutional arrangements for the development
COVID-19 • OPINION
and implementation of government’s own Covid-19 response plans. 2. To outline those plans. 3. To set out the basic essential precautions we, the people, should take to minimise the risk of contracting and/or spreading Covid-19. 4. To set out the precautionary measures that need to be taken to mitigate employee health and safety risks once they return to work. Overall, our government’s speedy response to the pandemic is to be praised. Yes, there have been serious shortcomings, some of which are listed below. But it is still important to understand how difficult it is to govern during such a crisis.
Governing in a crisis
Figure 1 sets out the institutional arrangements that were set up in terms of the disaster response directions. The speedy setup of the institutional and subsequent central procurement arrangements, and the allocation of responsibilities to municipalities to locate hotspots and lead much of the implementation and maintenance work were excellent. However, as indicated in Figure 1, in our free South Africa, we have the institutional arrangements to ensure that all interventions are informed by two-way communications between the people and the top emergency Command Council structures. There is little evidence available to indicate that this happened. Rather, the national, provincial, metro and district structures tended to operate in the clouds with few links to their foundation, and ward councillors were not encouraged to act
as the vital link between the people and the higher structures. The press has valued the communication that has existed between it and government since the last general election. This communication, although usually carefully managed – together with the freedom the press has to publish investigative work – is vitally important, and hopefully appreciated by the wider public. This article owes much to what I have read in the press. I acknowledge this indebtedness, including the use by the press of writers who are not journalists for news analysis articles. But beyond this communication with the press, government and its small core of professional advisors have been inaccessible. Unlike the press making use of a wide variety of outside writers, government has been doing too much
in-house. This closing itself off from the very people it exists to serve has reduced the effectiveness of its work. I partially outlined these shortcomings with respect to the water sector in my article published in WASA May/June 2020. The big avoidable errors have, of course, all been made by government ministers who have acted on their own and not as members of President Ramaphosa’s Cabinet team. The two items no one foresaw at the time of the lockdown were the relatively low death rate caused by Covid-19 and the immediate impact and severity of increased widespread
COVID-19 • OPINION
FIGURE 2 History of new confirmed Covid-19 pandemic cases per day in South Africa to 4 June 2020
destitution due to economic contraction. Government had no plan to contend with this and, despite its commitments to provide relief, it has utterly failed to do so. I contend, this is not because government members are heartless creatures, but because government itself (and not only its critics) does not understand how difficult it is to govern during a crisis. On 11 May, two actuaries published a report, which estimated that, based on 20 000 deaths due to Covid-19, the continuation of lockdown in its current form entails harms that outweigh benefits by a factor of at least 30. The report then states that, in light of this, continuing with such a restrictive and economically damaging lockdown would be a moral outrage. This conclusion is followed by a no-liability disclaimer and the statement that the report does not constitute advice.
Managing Covid-19’s ongoing risks
Figure 2 is a history of the Covid-19 pandemic cases per day in South Africa, from the first confirmed case on 5 March until 30 June 2020. Also shown in the figure are three trend lines. For the first period – March and April – a linear trend line fit the trend better than an exponential one. But for May and June, similar exponential trend lines fit better. Thus, viewing it from the narrow aim of slowing down the spread of Covid-19, the lockdown worked well.
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The similar trend lines for May and June, however, indicate an ongoing exponential growth in the number of cases per day, with no significant sign of abatement. Although this is of concern, it is important to realise that numerous countries in Asia and Europe have contained the epidemic through residents changing their behaviour without the countries relying on lengthy, strict lockdowns. We must, however, take note that lifting the lockdown does not mean we can relax. Rather, Figure 2 clearly states we must renew and improve our risk management behaviour. Only we, as responsible social beings and employers, can arrest the spread – and we must keep up to date on the most effective ways of doing this. We must also realise that the duration of the pandemic is likely to be much longer than we originally thought. A summary of recent advice would highlight the following to minimise the risk of contracting and/or spreading Covid-19: 1. Keep at least one metre distance (two metres is better) from people. 2. As an additional precaution, when you are with people, wear a daily washed mask correctly, especially around those you are not living with. 3. Do everything possible outdoors. 4. When you must be indoors or
must travel with people, keep the windows open and never use air conditioners that recirculate the air. 5. T o become infected, you need to have contact with a minimum dose of the virus. Thus, exposure, say, for longer than 10 minutes and/or exposure to many people is much more hazardous than brief exposure to one person. 6. W ork from home if practical and avoid unnecessary travel to enclosed destinations (the greater the distance travelled, the greater the risk of you spreading the virus). 7. M ake soap and water as widely available as possible for 20-second handwashing and surface cleaning (sanitisers with an alcohol solution of at least 70% are an inferior substitute). 8. A void crowded spaces. 9. T he elderly and those with comorbid conditions need to take extra care to limit their interactions with people, especially those not living with them. 10. I f you develop symptoms or have contact with a Covid-19 case, selfisolate for 14 days (and do not go to work). It really is up to us. Government cannot reimpose lockdown. In fact, it must continue to relax it. Despite this emphasis on personal responsibility, government must continue with its full programme and even improve its effectiveness by impartially considering all advice and criticism. The additional information in the 28 June 2020 update on the National Department of Health’s Covid-19 sacoronavirus.co.za website, headed ‘Key Provincial Issues’, clearly indicates how this department is improving its already highly effective programme despite the prevailing demanding circumstances.
Part 2 of this article will contain an update on how well or poorly we have managed to contain Covid-19, before describing how – as we learn how to live with the pandemic – we can and must build the South Africa our youth are rightly demanding. For more information, contact Derek Hazelton on firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIPES, PUMPS & VALVES
Masters in fluid control
APE Pumps and Mather+Platt have led the market in South Africa since 1952, building on a proud legacy dating delivered, installed and commissioned the back to the world’s first industrial pump ahead revolution. John Montgomery, of schedule. general manager, speaks to What are your views on Water&Sanitation Africa. promoting local content What sets APE Pumps and Mather+Platt apart from the competition?? JM A major distinction is that we are both an OEM and a CIDB 8 ME registered contractor. In addition, we have one of the few pattern shops left in Africa, where our specialist artisans produce wooden patterns in the age-old tradition, alongside the latest trends in 3D printing. Our unsurpassed skill in patternmaking enables us to produce specialised patterns for our components on a breakdown basis. We have completed major turnkey projects and are currently working on some large-scale installations in South Africa where we are responsible for delivering all the mechanical, electrical and civil components as an integrated turnkey solution. That covers design, installation and commissioning for variable-speed drives, low- and mediumvoltage switchgear, distribution boards, cabling, motors, pipe work and pipelines, and, of course, pumps. Another strategic advantage is our ability to turn solutions around quickly with a combination of project management acumen, technical knowhow and a workshop equipped with the latest technologies. In a recent example, we completed a pump refurbishment for a client during a tight five-day shutdown window. Our team worked two shifts per day to accelerate the repair and
and manufacturing? We are registered as a Proudly South African company. That symbolises our absolute commitment to local fabrication and local industry. Having an extensive inventory of locally manufactured pumps on hand was a vital factor when South Africa entered the Covid-19 lockdown in March. From the onset, we were able to continue uninterrupted operations. Simply put, we were not dependent on imports from overseas territories. Every component we needed was made in South Africa. Keeping our operations running during the lockdown has helped sustain our essential industries, which include the water, wastewater, energy and petrochemical sectors. Keeping the supply chain open has also sustained many of our suppliers and kept their workshops running. Since our local foundries are critical for our business, we ensured that they were kept busy with orders to keep their furnaces on. Are pirate parts posing a threat? Pirate parts pose a business risk, first and foremost, to downstream industries, municipalities and public utilities. It’s also important to note that whether the part is made locally or imported, it’s still non-compliant and unproven. Pirate parts are the weakest link. Most of the time, pirate parts fail unexpectedly and catastrophically.
We’ve experienced many situations where we’ve been asked to intervene after the fact. A case in point was a client who scheduled a critical pump shutdown for emergency maintenance. Once stripped, the technical team discovered that the non-OEM sourced part wouldn’t fit. This is a part that typically takes up to six weeks just to ship if sourced from an overseas OEM. The upside is that we are seeing a major shift back to OEMs. This applies to water and wastewater utilities, power stations, the petrochemical industry and all other critical industries. Predictive and preventative maintenance have become paramount to optimally sustain essential infrastructure. This was already a priority in the constrained macroeconomic environment prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. The deepening crisis has now made asset management and optimum life-cycle costing even more crucial. What is the outlook for the next 12 months? We have an excellent order book, particularly for turnkey projects. We also expect our OEM business to grow significantly in the coming months. As a Proudly South African company, we’re here to add value and we remain committed to sustaining and supporting local industry, whether public or private.
www.apepumps.co.za www.matherandplatt.com J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
PIPES, PUMPS & VALVES
Massive magnetic flow meter delivered
The successful supply of a mammoth 2 400 mm magnetic flow meter marks a major milestone for process automation company Endress+Hauser.
he Promag 400 magnetic flow meter will be installed at the outlet of a new filter plant that forms part of a capacity upgrade of a large potable water treatment plant. This is the largest-diameter flow meter supplied by Endress+Hauser to the water industry in South Africa. Prior to
this, the largest magnetic flow meter supplied was 2 000 mm, which was installed prior to 2007.
A mammoth task
At a weight of around 4 000 kg, moving the flow meter through a production line and to a calibration rig took careful planning and consideration. â€œIt is not a common occurrence to supply these large-diameter magnetic flow meters, as projects of this magnitude do not happen often. The
sheer size and weight of the magnetic flow meter present a challenge,â€? says Hennie Pretorius, industry manager: Water and Wastewater, Endress+Hauser South Africa. Producing, calibrating and transporting these massive flow meters is an immense task. Endress+Hauserâ€™s manufacturing and calibration facilities are among the best in the industry. For large-diameter electromagnetic flow meters such as this one, manufacturing takes place at production centres in Cernay, France, and Suzhou, China. The facility in China, which was established in 2018, can manufacture
The massive 2 400 mm flow meter weighs in at 4 000 kg
PIPES, PUMPS & VALVES
This is the largest-diameter flow meter supplied by Endress+Hauser to the South African water industry
Endress+Hauser team (L-R): Gert Van Wyk; Valencia Mothiba; Laine Rosslee, project management team; Hennie Pretorius, industry manager: Water and Wastewater
and calibrate electromagnetic flow meters up to 2 400 mm in diameter. It has the most accurate calibration rig in this diameter range, with a maximum measurement uncertainty of ≈0.066%. The whole system is accredited by CNAS national bodies according to ISO/IEC 17025. Pressure testing of the flow meter was a requirement of the end-user, and a reliable local facility was sought in order to minimise costs for the customer. A local valve manufacturing company agreed to do these tests with the Endress+Hauser project team and the end-user in attendance. According to Pretorius, the massive weight of the flow meter will make installation challenging. Each flange has 56 holes, each requiring a 56 mm diameter bolt for fastening it to the mating flanges on the pipework.
One of the features of the Promag 400 electromagnetic flow meter is the availability of Heartbeat Technology. This technology guarantees continuous diagnostics and verification without process interruptions and ensures cost-effective and safe plant operation during the entire life cycle. A broad range of Endress+Hauser devices are available with Heartbeat Technology, the benefits of which include: • Verification and documentation of each measuring point occurs without any interruption of the process.
• Devices continuously diagnose themselves and extend test cycles. • Diagnostic messages provide precise instructions for maintenance. • Distinct documented test results are provided with a simple guided test procedure. • The automatically generated test certification supports documentation industry regulations and requirements. • Process and device data show trends for predictive maintenance. • Combined process and device parameters facilitate analysis for process optimisation. In addition to the current features of the Promag 400, Endress+Hauser supplies electromagnetic flow meters that can be installed without reducing the inner diameter of the flow meter. This method is already widely accepted as a potential cost saver for installations. The Endress+Hauser flow meter maintains a zero pressure loss and a measurement error of <0.5% is guaranteed. This is a standard option for all Promag 400 flow meters up to DN 300 and on request available up to DN 2 400,” adds Pretorius.
Continued service during lockdown
The magnetic flow meter was delivered by sea freight to the Port of Durban and then by road to Johannesburg. The flow meter arrived at the Durban harbour just as South
Africa’s Level 5 lockdown started and therefore had to stay in storage in Durban until Endress+Hauser was permitted to transport it to Johannesburg. Because the water industry is an essential service, the required permits were obtained, and the flow meter was delivered to the pressure testing facility during Level 4 lockdown. Pretorius is confident that, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, emphasis is being placed on addressing some of the challenges in the water sector. “Although a lot of sectors have suffered during the lockdown, there seems to be a continuation of momentum within the water industry trying to catch up with the backlog of projects that were delayed over the last two years. There seems to be a stronger political will to improve the performance of the water sector.” Pretorius stated that Endress+Hauser is committed to providing outstanding value to its customers, especially in the current difficult times. “Our sales, services, projects and support teams are available to our customers. We have also launched our new Visual Support Service, which allows customers to be supported remotely for services and commissioning. We will remain close to our customers and ready to support them.” J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
Ozone: a powerful alternative Ozone is an incredibly powerful disinfectant – many times more effective than even chlorine, one of the most widely used chemical disinfectants in the water space.
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hlorine and other chemical disinfectants have long been popular for their price/performance ratio. However, ozone has proved to be a highly effective and useful alternative, treating numerous types of bacteria and other organisms. On its own, ozone is a potent yet environmentally friendly disinfectant agent that outshines other choices. When using treatments that combine ozone’s immediate effects with long-term
disinfectants, the results and savings can be significant. “Ozone doesn’t last long, and it leaves no chemical residual,” explains Brendan van Wyk, business development manager, Xylem. “If we were to disinfect a room with ozone, it would be hazardous to be in that environment during the procedure. But after about 20 minutes, it would be perfectly safe to re-enter the room, with little or no trace of any ozone being detected. This is because ozone (O3) is very unstable and reverts back to oxygen (O2).” This view is backed by research, such as trials undertaken in 2014 by Campden BRI. It found that “ozone at
appropriate concentrations and contact times has the potential to be an effective environmental disinfectant.” The trial also established that, when used correctly, ozone caused no adverse contact effects afterwards.
Ozone is brutal on organic material. Highly unstable, ozone attracts electrons from other compounds, oxidising them and drastically reducing their integrity. In the case of biological targets such as bacteria, ozone attacks their cellular walls, causing the cells to rupture and ensuring there is no chance for the organism to build up an immunity to it, unlike other disinfectants. Ozone is also very effective at oxidising certain minerals and can be used, for example, to remove manganese and iron from drinking water. “Ozonated water is already used in places like abattoirs as wash water. This allows for maximum disinfection, but without a chemical residue that needs to be treated. It is easy to retrofit an ozone dosage system into an existing wash line. Clean technologies for rinsing and disinfection of milk bottles and soft drink bottles are already widely used,” says Van Wyk. Ozone gas can further be used to thoroughly disinfect a room. Modern HVAC systems often use ozone to purify air passing through the system to prevent mould and odours. Other examples of uses include cleaning animal enclosures and aquariums, rehabilitating smoke-damaged rooms, washing taxi ranks, and disinfecting laundry. Ozone-enriched water is a powerful disinfectant that leaves no chemical residual (as chlorine does) that could run into natural water systems through stormwater channels and disrupt natural biological action. Ozone gas breaks down quickly, being rendered into harmless oxygen that can enrich the local atmosphere and improve the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of wastewater.
Safe and cost-effective
Ozone manufacture can be done quite easily and reliably, within a small footprint. With no moving parts and few maintenance requirements, the
system can be operated remotely with no human intervention. Ozone only needs power and air for manufacture, and the units can be custom designed to suit the specific project specifications. A modern ozone generator doesn’t require any chemical additives, therefore negating the need to stockpile chemicals, as well as the risks of handling dangerous materials. Ozone is also very cost-effective: its capital investment is soon recovered through water and chemical savings, as well as a reduction in effluent treatment costs. Recouping capital costs can take as little as two years on industrial systems such as cooling tower water treatment. Van Wyk explains: “To give an example of how the costs work, let’s apply ozone to a water treatment plant. Normally, you’d apply large volumes of chlorine in the final stages of the treatment process. Much of this is first to disinfect the water, and the rest is to keep a residual for long-term disinfection. “If we added an ozone generator to the treatment process, the water is disinfected without the use of chlorine, then a much smaller amount of chlorine is added at the end of the process to keep the water clean. Ozone does the heavy lifting of primary disinfection, without the generation of chlorinated by-products, while improving the taste and odour. It is much safer, and it requires smaller amounts of chemicals, so the costs of purchasing, storing and handling chemicals are reduced.” Ozone technology offers different types of generators, from covering treatment plants to turning home pool water clean and bright. It is modular, environmentally friendly and a highly effective treatment product – without the need for the ongoing purchasing of chemicals and a workforce required for handling make-up and dosage requirements. The systems are self-contained and operate without human intervention, adds Van Wyk. Ozone is nature’s own disinfectant: ruthlessly efficient but without leaving a calling card. Whether used to augment or replace other disinfection systems, ozone is a potent ally against infectious agents and a superior long-term disinfection and treatment investment.
INDUSTRIALISING NEXT-GENERATION SANITATION TECHNOLOGIES Off-grid and non-sewer sanitation systems offer South Africa the opportunity to improve the way in which sanitation services are being delivered. By Akintunde Akinsete*
t the current rate, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to meet the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHWS) timeline for achieving Sustainable Developmental Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Existing sanitation systems are proving inadequate in addressing current sanitation backlogs and it is imperative to explore promising emerging sanitation technologies.
Reinventing the toilet
The current sanitation paradigm is either a hole in the ground (pit latrines and their variants) or a flushing toilet connected to a sewer reticulation system. While both solutions have their merits and can meet the challenges of adequate sanitation, they can only do so if they are deployed in the proper context.
Innovation in the non-sewered sanitation space received a huge boost when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) injected US$200 million (R3.4 billion) into the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge. The challenge invigorated innovation around sanitation worldwide, including in South Africa, bringing the best minds to bear in solving the world’s sanitation challenges. The outcome was a suite of promising solutions with the potential to change how sanitation is currently managed. To encourage buy-in and acceptance by the various sanitation stakeholders and, most importantly, the end-user, there is a need for rigorous field testing and the demonstration of these technologies in a local context.
Innovation in SA
The Water Research Commission (WRC), through its South African Sanitation Technology Enterprise Programme (Sastep), with funding from the BMGF
and the Department of Science and Innovation – and strong support from the DHWS – has been working with local and international sanitation innovators, entrepreneurs and manufacturers to commercialise innovative and much needed sanitation technologies and solutions in the South African market. The focus of the programme is to drive the local manufacturing and industrialisation of these technologies so that there are multiple effective technologies available to tackle South Africa’s sanitation deficiencies and backlog. There are several factors that may hinder the adoption of new technologies, namely policy, regulation, political will, cost, sunken cost (on the solution currently in use), and fear of the new and unknown, to name a few. Implementing agencies are often risk averse and more inclined to deploy familiar solutions, rather than embrace the new and unknown.
Enviro Loo’s dry sanitation solution can save up to 420 000 litres of water annually
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An effective field testing and demonstration process should not be misconstrued with negligent and wilful experimentation on communities
Modular ablution blocks installed in eThekwini Municipality by Bosch Projects
In instances where solution implementers are open to novel technologies and solutions, they are hampered by regulations and internal procurement processes. Technology demonstrations provide a platform for implementers to try new things and to build confidence, know-how and acceptance of new innovative solutions. It is also important to conduct field testing in new locations and contexts different from those for which the technology was originally designed or tested.
Putting the user first
Field testing and demonstration plays an important role in general technological development. It provides a vital link between knowledge generation and technological breakthroughs on the one hand, and industrial application and commercial adoption on the other. Furthermore, it offers the technology developer an avenue to observe the interaction of the end-user with the product and gather vital feedback for further development and improvement of the technology. Factors such as diet, culture and social habits can be a major determinant of performance and user acceptance. For example, a biological sanitation technology developed for a population with a carbohydrate-rich diet will perform differently if the technology is transferred to a region where the population eats a protein-rich diet. Habits such as the use of toilet paper or water for cleaning after
toilet use also affect the performance of sanitation technologies. Some users prefer squatting as opposed to sitting. These subtle differences in toilet use need to be understood and addressed before a mass roll-out of any solution. Many hard lessons have been learnt in the implementation of sanitation solutions, especially in peri-urban and informal settlement settings in South Africa. Although undertaken with the best of intentions, the backlash from some of these interventions has been severe, with some descending into violent service delivery protests. Officials and implementers often rush into these communities without understanding their idiosyncratic sanitation needs. Generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions are implemented without due consultation and often result in disastrous outcomes. Even if consulted, the community may not be able to articulate its sanitation preference and, even if it could, it might not be affordable for the implementing agency. Field testing and demonstration enables communities to sample and familiarise themselves with technologies before they are rolled out en masse. It also allows officials to gauge what works and what doesn’t, and modify the system to ensure it meets the needs and requirements of the community. Using a limited number of toilet units for the demonstration will limit the financial exposure of the municipality and ensure that its budget is not wasted, should the technology be rejected. An effective field testing and demonstration
process should not be misconstrued with negligent and wilful experimentation on communities. When field testing and demonstration is properly conducted in a systematic and ethical way, with upfront consultation of all stakeholders involved, it results in beneficial outcomes such that if the solution is rejected, the community involved is understanding. Effective field testing and demonstration processes must be conducted using scientific principles to assess functionality, safety, performance and, most importantly, user acceptance of the technology or solution. When conducted in this manner, field testing and demonstration becomes a critical tool in the service delivery value chain. It provides a means to understand challenges, develop solutions, and engender stakeholder confidence in a technology or solution. It stimulates a consultative approach that helps gain the trust of the community. When field testing and demonstration is an integral part of the municipal toolbox for service delivery, it becomes a social diplomacy tool that has the potential to help build a social network around sanitation technologies and bring the most important stakeholder – the end-user – into the development of an acceptable and sustainable sanitation solution.
*Akintunde Akinsete is a programme manager: South African Sanitation Technology Demonstration Programme at the Water Research Commission. J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
The typical state of stormwater drainage systems
Stormwater systems need attention Multiple flood events and service delivery protests in recent years have brought stormwater master planning to the forefront. Bio Engineering Solutions resultantly conducted visual condition assessments (VCAs) on several municipalities’ stormwater systems, and the results are alarming. By Danielle Petterson
he VCAs found that the general accuracy of the existing stormwater infrastructure asset registers is only 20% to 25%. This is mainly due to missing information such as dimensions of underground pipes as well as invert levels and gradients of stormwater conduits. More concerningly, about 60% to 80% of existing stormwater systems were found to be completely blocked and/or non-functional due to a lack of maintenance.
The Bio Engineering Solutions team, led by director Matt Braune, started the study using aerial photography provided by the municipality as a basis. A team of field inspectors then walked the area to identify all stormwater infrastructure. The locality of all infrastructure was recorded along with photographic
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records. Another team of labourers opened all relevant structures, where they found a high degree of silting and blockages. They unblocked a portion of the infrastructure to take measurements; however, the existing pipe network could not be inspected fully due to severe blockage, which prohibited the use of CCTV. The next phase of the study included the use of a professional surveyor to obtain both ground levels as well as invert levels of all existing stormwater infrastructure. In addition to this, the type of infrastructure, size and hydraulic capacity were also established. Based on the information, a fully integrated and complete asset register was compiled to assist the municipalities with stormwater management. Hydrological as well as hydraulic modelling of the drainage networks was then undertaken, which enabled the compilation of a fully integrated
stormwater master plan (SMP). The master plan was then used to prioritise and highlight problem areas and to establish remedial measures needed to restore the network.
Although each municipality has maintenance departments tasked with cleaning and maintaining stormwater infrastructure, Braune says standard operating procedures are needed to guide this process. “Workers have no guidelines on how to maintain these systems and we often find that they push any surrounding debris into kerb and grid inlets. The surrounding area and the outside of the kerb inlet are now clean, but they have inadvertently blocked the underground pipe drainage system and caused further problems,” he explains. “Local authorities are not maintaining their infrastructure, and maintenance
is not given priority in budgets. As a result, much of the existing stormwater systems needs to be replaced at an excessively high cost. The flooding resulting from blockages also causes severe damage to road infrastructure, as well as private and municipal properties, increasing the costs further.”
FIGURE 1 SMP showing required upgrading and prioritisation
Asset management register
According to Braune, inaccuracies in municipalities’ asset management registers extend far beyond stormwater. Driven by the Municipal Systems Act (No. 32 of 2000) and Municipal Finance Management Act (No. 56 of 2003), municipalities are required to keep a fixed asset register compliant with General Recognised Accounting Practice 17. This fixed asset register should cover all municipal infrastructure, including water, sewerage, roads, stormwater and electricity. It should be updated every five years and used to inform asset management. “This is the guiding tool for setting up maintenance management systems and ensuring assets are maintained, repaired or replaced as necessary,” says Braune. Unfortunately, these asset registers are
often inaccurate and/or incomplete. Braune frequently encounters insufficient details on assets and a lack of accurate and up-to-date condition assessment information. The result is often non-maintained, non-functional and broken assets. “For municipalities, this causes losses in revenue due to leaking water supply systems, deteriorating roads that can no longer be repaired and must be replaced at an enormous cost, blocked stormwater
Figure 2 SMP showing locality and extent of blockages
systems causing severe flooding, and so much more,” stresses Braune. “It has been established that, for a typical residential area, the upgrading and replacement cost of a stormwater drainage system is 15 to 20 times higher than the average annual maintenance cost. This causes an enormous financial burden on municipalities to replace services for which there are no capital funds available.” Braune believes there is an urgent need to obtain more accurate and detailed information on the status and condition of municipal infrastructure assets, in order to have a more complete and up-to-date asset register for infrastructure management and maintenance planning. “The asset register is the foundation for the sustainable management of all municipal infrastructure. Without it, you cannot ensure effective master planning and maintenance planning. It is essential that municipalities get this right, and I encourage them to embrace new technologies while doing it.”
For more information, contact Matt Braune on email@example.com or +27 (0)82 600 5993. J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
DAMS & RESER VOIRS
LHWP construction resumes post lockdown The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has accelerated the resumption of advance infrastructure works in Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
xcavation work on two diversion tunnels is now under way. The tunnels will divert the waters of the Senqu River away from the natural river bed, creating a dry foundation and work area needed for the construction of the Polihali Dam. Phase II advance infrastructure works were halted during the Covid-19 lockdown period. “We are pleased to see construction work restarting, including the work on the diversion tunnels; however, particularly at this time, the LHDA’s priority is the safety of its employees and the project-affected communities,” says Tente Tente, chief executive, LHDA. Full resumption of the Phase II advance infrastructure construction works and the project’s social and environmental programmes will be incremental as consultants and contractors meet their Covid-19 mitigation obligations and travel restrictions are lifted.
will increase the capacity to carry floods and will provide flexibility to work in one tunnel while the river flows in the other one. The tunnels – one 7 m in diameter and almost 1 km in length, and the second 9 m in diameter and similar length – run parallel to each other from the intake point to the outlet downstream of the dam. They will be excavated by drill and blast method, and will be supported by rockbolts and shotcrete as required. The SCLC Polihali Diversion Tunnel Joint Venture was awarded the diversion tunnel construction contract in April 2019. It comprises South African and Lesotho expertise: Salini Impregilo SpA (SA), Cooperativa Muratori Cementistri CMC di Ravenna (SA), LSP Construction (Lesotho), and CMI Infrastructure (SA). The Metsi a Senqu-Khubelu Consultants Joint Venture, which also includes a number of South African and
Lesotho-based firms – Aurecon (SA), Knight Piésold (SA), Hatch Goba (SA), SMEC (SA) and FM Associates (Lesotho) – designed the diversion tunnels and is supervising the construction work.
Phase II of the LHWP builds on the successful completion of Phase I in 2003. It delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and utilises the water delivery system to generate electricity for Lesotho. Phase II will increase the current supply rate of 780 million cubic metres per annum incrementally to more than 1 270 million cubic metres per annum. At the same time, it will increase the quantity of electricity generated at the ‘Muela hydropower station and is a further step in the process of securing an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements. Feasibility studies confirmed that conventional hydropower is the preferred option for the Phase II hydropower component and identified three potential sites.
The diversion tunnels will take approximately 18 months to complete, from the contract start date. The tunnels
Mohale Dam was the second dam built under the LHWP
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The non-linear spillway extending to 80 m
The rock of the channel in the centre of the duckbill
Raising Garden Route Dam
A new spillway concept devised for raising the Garden Route Dam has resulted in significantly increased storage capacity at the main supply dam for water-scarce George in the Western Cape.
his ‘duckbill’ spillway, named due to its shape, not only allowed for the dam’s existing storage capacity to be increased by 25%, but also significantly increased the discharge capacity of the spillway, boosting the dam’s safety by preventing overtopping. A duckbill spillway is a type of nonlinear spillway, similar to the more generally known labyrinth spillway, explains Frank Denys from the Water Engineering Unit at Aurecon*. Aurecon designed the spillway for the client, George Local Municipality, with project funding from the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant. Construction took place over seven months – from 13 May to 12 December 2019; however, the various planning stages for the project date back over a decade, with the idea of raising the dam first investigated as far back as 2004.
Raising Garden Route Dam
The main aim is to increase the overflow length so that the spillway or weir can
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pass more flow for a given overflow depth. This allows for construction of very long spillways, typically four to five times longer than a linear spillway, in a limited area. The existing Garden Route Dam spillway was only 25 m wide; however, the non-linear spillway extended this distance to 80 m by curving the spillway in the upstream direction. Raising the dam’s water level was originally envisioned to be limited to increasing the overflow sill of the spillway or installing some form of fusegate system on the spillway. These options were subjected to technical feasibility studies and an environmental impact assessment. The various spillway gate options appeared attractive from a cost perspective, but undesirable when considering long-term maintenance. Furthermore, re-evaluation of the dam’s flood hydrology, following large flood events experienced in the recent past, resulted in flood peaks significantly higher than those the original dam and the proposed gate options were designed for. The updated hydrology required the crest of the embankment
to be raised to ensure its safety. A new spillway concept, with a significantly higher capacity than the previous alternatives, was devised to be able to pass the flood peaks with as low a head as possible to minimise the height the embankment would need to be raised by. Besides the spillway needing a high discharge capacity, extreme floods must also pass underneath the road and main water supply pipeline bridge across the existing spillway, in order to limit the high construction costs of raising this bridge, as well as consequent disruption. The sizeable and relatively flat approach channel allowed for construction of a fixed concrete weir that extends upstream from the existing spillway overflow and training walls. This resulted in the design of a trough or a labyrinth type of weir. Ultimately, the geometry of the site and hydraulic analysis led to the duckbill-shape spillway of the final design.
The new sill is a reinforced concrete cantilever structure some 4.9 m tall in
DAMS & RESER VOIRS
PROFESSIONAL TEAM Client: George Local Municipality Consulting engineer: Aurecon Contractor: Khubeka Construction Sharples Environmental Services
SUBCONTRACTORS Earthworks: Amandla Construction Grouting and anchors: Esor Construction Concrete supplier: T&T Reinforcing supplier: RSC Ivan Steel Fixing
The foundation underneath the new spillway sill
places, which is unusual for hydraulic structures of this type, as these are normally self-stabilised by their mass. To enhance the stability, the structure is provided with rockfill on the upstream side of the wall footing, in addition to rock anchors. The rock of the channel in the centre of the duckbill had to be lined with concrete to prevent erosion. This slab also had to be held in place with rock anchors. In addition, the foundation underneath the new spillway sill was grouted to minimise seepage underneath the wall. The main dam wall was raised 1.76 m by placing new earthfill on top
of the existing embankment. This task had to be achieved in confined spaces, atop high slopes, mostly using available material of suitable quality from the dam basin, and some imported from commercial sources. Selected material was placed as follows: general fill (12 500 m3), rip-rap (2 500 m3), filter sand (750 m3), and topsoil (2 050 m3). Although the full supply level (FSL) of the dam was raised by 2.5 m, due to the local terrain, the tallest portion of the new spillway wall is 4.9 m tall. A total of 1 780 m3 of concrete and 150 tonnes of steel was used. The 2.5 m raising of the FSL
of the dam equates to an increase in storage capacity of 2.5 million m3 to a total gross storage capacity of 12.5 million m3. “This will add much-needed drought resilience to the water supply system. Expanding an existing water supply resource is also preferable to the development of new sites, as it limits the extent of the environmental impact to an already impacted site,” concludes Denys.
*Aurecon is currently in the process of rebranding as Zutari, after officially announcing the separation of the African business from the Aurecon Group, effective from 1 January 2020.
The dam was raised by 25 m due to the local terrain
J ULY / A UGU S T 2020
H flume installed
*Peter van der Merwe (Pr Tech Eng) is an independent consultant who advises on hydraulic matters relating to open-channel flow monitoring. He has eight years of experience in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of flumes and weirs, and has consulted and supplied products to over 170 clients, both local and international.
DEMYSTIFYING THE H FLUME The H (hybrid) flume primary device for open-channel flow measurement and monitoring offers great versatility across many applications. By Peter van der Merwe*
he American Dust Bowl experience of the 1930s saw the establishment and mandate of the Soil Conservation Service in 1935 to conserve the nation’s soil and water resources. With this mandate, the researchers of the Soil Conservation Services began the investigation to develop a flume suitable for measuring agricultural flows. The result was the H flume, so called because it was the eighth in a series of flumes investigated. The flume was accepted, as it combined the flow sensitivity of a v-notch weir with the flat floor and self-cleaning properties of a flume. The H series of flumes are more than flumes but modified weirs with a v-shaped throat and no diverging or discharge section. The design allows for a wider range of low flow sensitivity as well as high flow rate measurement. The flume is ideal for edge-of-field, low average flow run-off monitoring and substantially higher rainfall flows.
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The flat floor of the H flume means that it passes sediments and smaller debris with ease. While originally developed for agricultural run-off monitoring, the versatility of this flume can be used in several different applications: • edge-of-field monitoring • earthen channels and furrows • monitoring landfill leachates • watershed monitoring • dam seepage • industrial discharge • s ewage treatment works (screened/ treated flows). H flumes work well in mine applications, as their range of flows is large and their flat floors readily pass large amounts of sediment without clogging. Even with the integral approach section, sediments do not affect H flumes as they do many flumes and all weirs. At low flows, when sediments tend to drop out in the approach section, water channels through any accumulated sediments and, as the flow rises, these sediments ultimately push through the flume.
Unlike the Parshall (ASTM & ISO), rectangular long-throat (ISO) and Palmer-Bowlus (ASTM) flumes, the H (hybrid) flumes have not been defined in a standard, but by several research publications, the most common being: The dimensions for the H flumes are reviewed in two primary publications: • Brakensiek, D, Osborn, H, Rawls, W, Field Manual for Research in Agricultural Hydrology: Agriculture Handbook No. 224, February, 1979 • Gwinn, W, Parsons, D, ‘Discharge Equations for HS, H, and HL Flumes’, Journal of the Hydraulics Division, Vol. 102, No. HY1, January, 1976. Metric conversions of the H flumes and their discharge tables, combined with the development of a standard best-fit equation, were proposed by: • Bos, M, Discharge Measurement Structures, 3rd Edition, International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement, Publication 20, 1989. The approach sections for HS/H/HL flumes are based upon the research of:
FLUMES & WEIRS
H flume for a mine project
H flume construction
• Gwinn, W, ‘Chute Entrances for HS, H, and HL Flumes’, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, Vol. 110, No. 5, May, 1984.
Flow equations and tables
Operators in the field find it easier to use calibrated flow tables instead of flow equations. H flume flow tables can be calculated to the top of the flume. Unlike other flumes, there is no designed freeboard with the standard dimensions. In practice, a freeboard is recommended
in the event that, when maximum flows occur, the flume could overflow with loss of flow accuracy. The unique shape of the H flume – more weir than flume – has meant that the discharge equation for the flume is three separate flow regimes: low, transitional and main. The flow equations, however, can be difficult to calculate with typical applications; the need to transition from one equation to another, as the level in the flume rises and falls, becomes needlessly cumbersome.
To simplify flow calculations, MG Bos developed a single, standard, best-fit equation for the data: Log Q = A + B log H + C [log H]2 Where: Q = discharge in m3/s H = upstream head in metres A, B & C are the constants Bos’ equation and table require only three dimensionless constants for each flume size and the level at the point of
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FLUMES & WEIRS
H flume for pond run-off
H flumes for stormwater run-off
measurement. The equation is useful over the full range of flows. Design H flumes are grouped into three distinct classes for a given height (D = flume depth): • HS flumes (Low flows: 2–25 ℓ/s), width 1.05D, length 1.5D • H flumes (Medium flows: 10–2 400 ℓ/s), width 1.90D, length 1.35D • HL flumes (High flows: 1 600–3 200 ℓ/s), width 3.20D, length 1.5D. The v-shaped discharge of the H flume means that it has little resistance to downstream submergence. As a result, H flumes have very small submergence ratios (HS & H 25%, HL 30%) and the site should always be designed for freespilling discharge. The H flume design is a relatively short length with approach length sections of length 2D. The position of measurement is close to the converging outlet of the
flume. With the unified flow equation for H flumes, the accuracy is to within ≈3%. There is no published information on the dimensional tolerances required for H flumes, but given their low flow sensitivity, the dimensions for the flume should be at ≈2% accuracy. Dimensional accuracy is not required in the construction of the approach section. The turndown ratio of these flumes is as great at 10 000:1 – far greater than other flume types. H flumes do require free-spilling discharges and H flumes for stormwater flows are normally installed at the end of stormwater pipes before they spill into retention basins. The turndown ratio refers to the width of the operational range of a device and is defined as the ratio of the maximum capacity to minimum capacity. For example, a device with a maximum output of 10 units and a minimum output of 2 units has a turndown ratio of 5.
Flume location site
• The flume must be level from front-toback and from side-to-side.
• For installation in earthen channels and furrows, care should be taken to ensure that a stable invert is present, and that the elevation does not change during dry or wet seasons or low-flow periods. • The flume must be centred in the flow stream. • The narrow opening of the flume is set downstream. • All of the flow must go through the flume – there should be no bypass. • If sediment is a concern, the approach section can be provided with a sloped floor, so that channelisation does not occur. The slope should not exceed 1:8.
Flume downstream location site
• Flow must freely spill off the discharge end of the H flume. • The downstream channel should be reinforced and protected so that scour does not occur. • The downstream channel must be clear of vegetative growth or the collection of debris causing the flow backing up into the flume.
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Quality Filtration Systems
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CPT 021 201 2147
JHB 011 813 1083