Water & Sanitation Africa July/August 2022

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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

Key project to boost Gauteng water supply

Water finance: how to move from red to black


Mine closure: it’s all about the water

MARISWE Half a century of engineering solutions for Africa



The M&D Pipeline Division has a strong, loyal and dedicated team with extensive skills and experience to complete projects worth up to R1 billion. This includes highly competent and experienced welders who are all certified by the American Petroleum Institute.”

Martin van Aswegen HEAD: Pipeline Division, Murray & Dickson Construction

July/August 2022 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 17 No. 04

Low or High, Bermad can handle the Pressure Whether your needs are to reduce, relieve, or sustain, we have the right valves to handle any pressure and keep your business going. Our partnership with Bermad is long-standing and has been one of the ways we keep reinventing ourselves.


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VOL. 17 NO. 04

JULY/AUGUST 2022 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

Key project to boost Gauteng water supply

Water finance: how to move from red to black


Mine closure: it’s all about the water

MARISWE Half a century of engineering solutions for Africa



The M&D Pipeline Division has a strong, loyal and dedicated team with extensive skills and experience to complete projects worth up to R1 billion. This includes highly competent and experienced welders who are all certified by the American Petroleum Institute.”


ON THE COVER Water conservation and demand management, water resilience, and appropriate water solutions for water-scarce areas will be the major focus of Mariswe’s Water and Sanitation consulting business. P6 (Photo credit: Jaco Heyl, Mariswe – 25 Mℓ command reservoir in Jane Furse, Limpopo)

Martin van Aswegen HEAD: Pipeline Division, Murray & Dickson Construction

July/August 2022 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 17 No. 04


Editor’s comment You said it in WASA Index to advertisers

Cover Story

Half a century of engineering solutions for Africa


CEO’s comment Chair’s comment WISA 2022

Hot Seat

M&D sets benchmark in pipeline construction

Mine Water Management

Treating AMD, with a waste product Mine closure: it’s all about the water Closed-loop water circuits for mines

Water Security

Employees can help save water at work

Industrial Effluent

The waste-water-energy nexus in industrial effluent

Decentralised Plants DEWATS explained

Water Quality

Goodbye limescale

3 4 52 6



9 10 11 12 13 14 17 19 20 23








Water Pollution

South Africa’s estuaries face a growing threat from pollution


The future of groundwater

26 29

Pressure Management

A vital part of any water-loss strategy: pressure management


Water Governance & Finance

Protecting our water resources through compliance, monitoring and enforcement Water finance: how to move from red to black Stats SA reports improved access to water and sanitation


Hydropower basics: 10 facts you may not know

Project Focus

Key project to boost Gauteng water supply


Reliable level readings from remote areas

Pumps & Valves

Water pressure booster systems for local applications

34 39


41 42

The Murray & Dickson Construction (M&D) Pipeline Division has worked with mining houses, petrochemical and gas suppliers, as well as the country’s water boards and municipalities. WASA talks to Martin van Aswegen, HEAD: Pipeline Division, M&D.

44 50 52 infrastructure news



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Editor Kirsten Kelly


kirsten.kelly@3smedia.co.za Managing Editor Alastair Currie Editorial Coordinator Ziyanda Majodina Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Designer Janine Schacherl Chief Sub-editor Tristan Snijders Contributors Lester Goldman, Neil Macleod, Malango Mughogho, Dan Naidoo, Dineo Phoshoko, Zaid Railoun, Anusha Rajkaran, Yazeed van Wyk Production & Client Liaison Manager Antois-Leigh Nepgen Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Advertising Sales Hanlie Fintelman c +27 (0)67 756 3132 Hanlie.Fintelman@3smedia.co.za

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach 3S Media Production Park, 83 Heidelberg Road, City Deep Johannesburg South, 2136 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 www.3smedia.co.za

ISSN: 1990 - 8857 Annual subscription: R330 (SA rate) subs@3smedia.co.za Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. All material herein is

copyright protected. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of WISA or the publishers.

WISA’s Vision

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: lesterhu@cut.ac.za 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: zoe.gebhardt@gmail.com KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson: Lindelani Sibiya Company: Umgeni Water Cell: +27 (0)82 928 1081 Email: lindelani.sibiya@umgeni.co.za Limpopo Chairperson: Mpho Chokolo Company: Lepelle Northern Water Cell: +27 (0)72 310 7576 Email: mphoc@lepelle.co.za Mpumalanga Chairperson: Lihle Mbatha (Acting) Company: Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency Tel: +27 (0)13 753 9000 Email: mbathat@iucma.co.za Western Cape Chairperson: Natasia van Binsbergen Company: AL Abbott & Associates Tel: +27 (0)21 448 6340 Cell: +27 (0)83 326 3887 Email: natasia@alabbott.co.za

Why are South Africans so resilient? Load-shedding, ‘Day Zero’, dead schoolchildren in a tavern and endless corruption – it’s been a rough couple of weeks for South Africans. But, our country keeps ticking over... why have we not imploded yet?


aving recently followed a Reddit post on the subject, I was amused, impressed and appalled by answers to this question: •S outh Africa’s downward curve has been gradual, giving us time to adapt. Its very similar to an old car that goes to the mechanic for a quick spanner-beating every few days, and that, somehow, miraculously keeps us puttering along. •T here is always a ‘Plan B’. The private sector is used to stepping in every time that the public sector fails. •H ard times make hard people. Adapt or apply for a UK passport. • Most South Africans have no other choice. There is no safety net from government and they must keep on going. •S outh Africans are awesome. We laugh at our problems and then we solve them. •W e developed some self-sufficiency from the apartheid era. •W e offer strong commodities, are the gateway to the rest of Africa and have a stable financial system. •W e survived apartheid; we will survive anything. •S olid foundations take a long time to annihilate. Whatever the reason, we are a resilient country. And in times of hopelessness, I always turn to one of my favourite quotes by Fred Rogers: “When I was a child and saw scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the

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

Key project to boost Gauteng water supply

Water finance: how to move from red to black


Mine closure: it’s all about the water

MARISWE Half a century of engineering solutions for Africa

Namibia Please contact the WISA Head Office at admin@wisa.org.za for more information

The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust. WASA is ABC audited and certified.

helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” We only have to look at Gqeberha with the volunteer associations, private companies and citizens working together to coordinate water tankers, fix leaks and treat water. Or at Parys this month when the town was without water and electricity for five days. People with boreholes were sharing their water, private citizens were transporting water to vulnerable people like the elderly and schools, while others cooked food on gas stoves and distributed it. In addition to our resourceful and resilient citizens, we also have some very talented and dedicated people working at various water boards, municipalities and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). In this issue, I interview Anet Muir, chief director: Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement at the DWS (page 34), as well as Sipho Mosai, chief executive of Rand Water, on the Zandspruit Station 5A project (page 44), and look into a pressure management approach at the City of Cape Town (page 31). There are times when it feels like our resilience is running thin. But South Africans will always fight on. You just have to read this magazine to see it; it is filled to the brim with solutions, projects, ideas and research on how to attack the water crisis.



The M&D Pipeline Division has a strong, loyal and dedicated team with extensive skills and experience to complete projects worth up to R1 billion. This includes highly competent and experienced welders who are all certified by the American Petroleum Institute.”

Martin van Aswegen HEAD: Pipeline Division, Murray & Dickson Construction

July/August 2022 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 17 No. 04

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 information, contact Hanlie Fintelman on +27 (0)67 756 3132, or email Hanlie.Fintelman@3smedia.co.za. J UL/A U G 2022



You said it in WASA The opinions and statements shared by thought leaders in the water industry to Water&Sanitation Africa.

“A slow – or no – response from failing municipalities cannot be tolerated and we call on the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to take action on any errant municipalities who make no effort to be part of an improvement process. We call for improved accountability and performance, and consequences for counsellors and administrators who are slowing down or even hindering progress.” Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA PAGE


“Simplistically put, most mine closure strategies revolve around separating the ‘dirty/contact water’ that has come into contact with mine residue from the ‘clean/non-contact water’ and keeping the latter clean.” James Lake, principal environmental scientist, SRK Consulting PAGE


“Many municipalities have been handed the results of these Green Drop audits and do not know what to do to improve them. Some do not even understand the report. They do not have the knowledge, skills or money to make any improvement. Let’s build a bridge and allow them to ask for help.” Dan Naidoo, chairman, WISA PAGE


“Water costs are set to rise, and it’s likely that waterusage legislation will start appearing as demand for water grows. Every business will, in the future, rank water as a prime consideration for costs and operational risks. Prevention is better than cure: the Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2020 Global Water Report notes that companies that don’t mitigate water risks end up with financial impacts five times worse than those that strategically address water supplies to their operations.” Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager, Xylem PAGE


“The manufacturing environment is never stable, making the inflows vastly different. Water treatment plants work within set parameters and issues arise when the plant has to work outside these design parameters. There needs to be a greater focus on change management. Veolia values par tnerships with its customers; there needs to be constant communication. We turn wastewater into a resource for our clients. It’s a complex, technical process, but we have the exper tise and knowledge, and work closely with our clients to achieve this.” Miles Murray, director: Business Development, Veolia Services Southern Africa PAGE


“Limescale that forms on the inside of water pipes increases the resistance to the system and decreases the flow of water. This results in greater energy consumption and even damaged pumps. Limescale build-up on heating equipment also impedes heat transfer and the elements use more energy. Removing this limescale often results in expensive downtime for various industries.” Tinus Venter, director, Hydroflow SA PAGE



JUL /AUG 2022


“In the popular imagination, estuaries don’t have the prestige or romanticism of their two constituent parts: the rivers that feed them with freshwater from one side, the ocean that injects salty water from the other. But as the go-between between river and ocean, estuaries nonetheless deserve more credit. Their dull, brackish appearance belies the abundance of life that they hold. Considered as, pound for pound, among the most productive environments on earth, they are said to produce more organic matter than forests or grasslands of the same size.” Anusha Rajkaran, associate professor, University of the PAGE Western Cape


“Groundwater is a major water supply source and provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide. While it delivers roughly 40% of water for irrigated agriculture, this figure can be much higher considering that half the water flowing in rivers comes from groundwater as baseflow. Furthermore, groundwater provides about a third of the water supply required for industry and also sustains biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems. It is a strategic resource and an important component to adapt to the threats associated with climate change. Despite these impressive statistics, groundwater is out of sight and often out of mind for most people. Human activities (including population and economic growth), poor land-use planning and climate change are putting pressure on groundwater resources.” Yazeed van Wyk, national treasurer: Ground Water Division, GSSA PAGE


“Municipalities receive suppor t and financial aid from national government in the form of grants, specifically, from the Depar tment of Water and Sanitation (DWS), which manages the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant and Water Ser vices Infrastructure Grant. Local government receives a substantial amount of money to upgrade its wastewater treatment works, as well as the systems that feed those works. This cannot continue if there are no visible improvements. When analysing the outcome from the recent Green Drop Repor t, it is clear that there is little benefit from the money transferred in some of the municipalities. The next option for poorly per forming municipalities despite financial and other suppor t, is for the DWS to inter vene in these municipalities as empowered by the Water Ser vices Act and the Constitution. Some municipalities will receive fur ther suppor t from government while the DWS is investigating the option of removing the WSA status from other municipalities.” Anet Muir, chief director: Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement, DWS PAGE


“South Africa’s water finance account has been in the red for years and the numbers are staggering: R898 billion is needed to fund the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan. Alarmingly, we are adding to that total ever y day, as the impacts of increased urbanisation and climate-driven weather events take their toll. So, where will the money come from? How do we move from red to black? We need to expand our financing options and plan with water in mind.” Malango Mughogho, founder and managing director, PAGE Zenzi Zenzi Sustainable Finance


“High water demand and inefficient water systems in Gauteng remain a concern in a countr y that receives approximately half the global average of rainfall. By increasing Rand Water’s supply capacity, Station 5A improves Rand Water’s network resilience and Gauteng’s water security.” Sipho Mosai, PAGE chief executive, Rand Water


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Water conservation and demand management, water resilience and appropriate water solutions for water-scarce areas will be the major focus in the future of Mariswe’s Water and Sanitation consulting business.


elebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Mariswe is a truly African civil engineering consulting company, says Louis Uys, divisional director: Water and Sanitation. “Our mandate is to provide world-class engineering solutions across all disciplines for the African context that address the long-term requirements of our clients and end-users. We understand and appreciate the challenges of providing water and sanitation infrastructure in Africa and we are fortunate to have a team of flexible and passionate professionals.”

Shifting focus

When Mariswe entered the water and sanitation market in the 1990s, early assignments included basic water services to rural areas in South Africa. Over the years, the focus shifted to regional water resource reconnaissance and pre-feasibility studies, as well as water and sanitation in urban areas, including water demand management and water-loss control. “We also grew our specialisation to provide services to local and cross-border mines, from water resource studies and stormwater management plans to bulk water supply schemes and designing the enabling and permanent infrastructure for green- and brownfield mining developments,” says Uys.

Hydrology review, Algoa Water Supply System

Mariswe regularly works with international funding organisations such as the World Bank, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and African Development Bank to provide services across Africa, including bulk water schemes, rural water supply, water treatment, sewer treatment, water planning studies, climate-resilient water and sanitation projects, and the upgrading of existing infrastructure. “We have also gained substantial experience in public-private partnerships (PPPs) and water reuse projects.”

Flagship African contracts

Two significant projects in the past decade that have earned Mariswe much acclaim are: • The expansion of Lower Ruvu Water Treatment Plant, which supplies over 75% of the water requirements for Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam. The capacity of the plant was increased from 180 Mℓ/day to 270 (and an eventual 360) Mℓ/day. The project donor, the US government through the MCC, stated that “Mariswe provided exceptional service and was critical in aiding us to overcome several contractual and technical challenges through the course of the project.” • The Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage Project in Zambia – involving six construction packages

that directly benefit more than 1.2 million people. The total construction value of this project is US$200 million (R3.2 billion). Mariswe is the construction supervising engineer and the project is still under way. Complex multidisciplinary projects require input from a range of professionals across Mariswe. The Water and Sanitation Division has partnered with the Management Services Division for the provision of water and sanitation services to mining developments in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Liberia, Botswana, Lesotho and Burkina Faso. It also works closely with the Transportation and Structures divisions for hydrologic and floodline inputs at bridge structures and road alignments. Infrastructure Planning Division professionals assist in the assessment and long-term planning of water and sanitation infrastructure.

Human resources

While Uys concedes that South Africa faces complex water supply and sanitation problems, he is confident that the country and the African continent have the necessary talented human resources. “Our challenges can be addressed by providing sufficient budget and autonomy to our technical experts in the public enterprises to give genuine


engineering services without any interference or non-technical side shows. These resources within Shemula our public enterprises Water Treatment should be augmented Works, northern KwaZulu-Natal with technical staff with the motivation, knowledge, tools “We need consistent work flowing into and resources to deliver service of a the private sector to make it feasible to high standard. appoint and train young engineers. The "Mariswe and other private sector public sector also needs to employ its specialists can play a valuable role in own new generation of engineers and the planning, training, implementation, develop internal training programmes. It operation and management of water can be done but will require a concerted resources and associated infrastructure.” effort from government. However, not enough young “We know that ‘water is life and engineers are coming into the sanitation is dignity’,” says Uys. “If we system, mainly due to the cyclical lose our technical capacity in Africa, and unpredictable workload of professionals from outside will have consulting engineering firms. “The to provide the services. This will be a challenges of funding and financing requirements for public projects, as sad indictment and we cannot allow it well as tender processes, make it to happen.” difficult for consulting firms to have Uys believes South Africa can solve a consistent workload that allows its water and sanitation problems with for the appointment and training of the consideration of efficient global young engineers,” Uys points out. technology collaboration channels "Corruption, indecision and wrongly to enhance the local knowledge motivated decisions have also played and experience pool. “However, we a negative role in the past decade. do not have sufficient projects and

development in Southern Africa to keep all the expertise utilised, and thus the risk of losing our best professionals to other countries is high. “Our hope is for a future in which private and public professionals work together for the most sustainable, efficient water and sanitation solutions for the end-user, that public professionals are appreciated for their skills, and that our infrastructure is operated and maintained as intended.”

Current projects

Mariswe works on multiple water and sanitation projects at any one time. Some of its current projects include:

• Eswatini The World Bank is funding the Eswatini Water Supply and Sanitation Access Project for the Eswatini Water Services Corporation. Mariswe and ZMCK Partially completed Consulting Engineers intake works, Goedertrouw (Eswatini) were appointed Dam in a joint venture for the preliminary and detail design, procurement documentation, and construction monitoring. The project aims to provide sustainable, potable water supply to the Shiselweni Region in the south of Eswatini. The water will be supplied from the Mkhondvo River in Eswatini and the infrastructure will include three reservoirs, a pump station, 68 km of bulk pipelines, and about 270 km of J UL/A U G 2022



reticulation pipelines. The first of five work packages (three reservoirs, chlorine building and pump station) is now under construction. • Mauritius In 2021, Mariswe was appointed to lead a feasibility study for a new wastewater pumping station at Roche Bois in Port Louis and a wastewater treatment plant at the Baie du Tombeau in the Pamplemousses District of Mauritius. The proposed build-operate-transfer project is required to improve wastewater treatment infrastructure to match growth and development and to protect the ocean waters. The services are being provided for the Mauritian Wastewater Management Authority with funding by the DBSA. The feasibility study phase is nearing completion. • Outfall sewer, Johannesburg Mariswe was appointed by Johannesburg Water for the design and construction supervision of a new outfall sewer in the north-west of the city. This outfall sewer and the new Lanseria Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) will enable the development of new residential, commercial and industrial zones. The 12.4 km long outfall sewer will connect the existing Zandspruit sewer pump station and the new Lanseria WWTW and will eventually convey 150 Mℓ/day of wastewater. An extensive EIA process to select the most suitable pipe route and preferred WWTW site has been completed, and Mariswe has also completed the 1:100-year floodline delineation for the Zandspruit and Jukskei rivers.

• uMhlathuze Wastewater Reuse PPP The City of uMhlathuze, a key economic hub in KwaZulu-Natal incorporating Richards Bay and Empangeni, has prioritised the treatment and reuse of wastewater, which is available in large volumes. Mariswe was appointed to head a consortium that concluded a feasibility study in May 2019 and is now the transaction advisor for the procurement of a PPP to continue the project. The project entails the collection and treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater from the Richards Bay and Empangeni areas and distribution of the reuse water to industrial off-takers in and around Richards Bay. The plant capacity envisaged is 75 Mℓ/day, which will provide significant relief to the City of uMhlathuze and its industrial users. Project infrastructure will include wastewater collection pipelines, a regional treatment plant and distribution pipelines, and associated pump stations.

A turnkey contractor was appointed by the DWS in 2017 to design and construct the doubling-up of the existing scheme, but the construction project was halted in December 2018. Mariswe was appointed in 2020 to conduct a due diligence audit of the unfinished scheme and prepare tender documents for its completion. The contract for the completion of the scheme was awarded in May 2022 and construction is due to commence during July 2022. • Palm View Estate Mariswe is undertaking design and construction supervision of civil services for the new Palm View Estate being developed by Sortor Investments at Etete, Shakaskraal, on the KwaZuluNatal Dolphin Coast. Mariswe is providing engineering services for roads, stormwater, water reticulation and booster pump stations, as well as sewer reticulation and pump stations.

• Tugela-Goedertrouw Transfer Scheme The growing water demands of the Richards Bay/Empangeni region of KwaZulu-Natal have placed the Goedertrouw Dam System under pressure. In the early 1990s, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) decided to implement the Tugela-Mhlathuze River Government Water Scheme to augment the supply to the Goedertrouw Dam from the uThukela River. The first phase of the scheme, completed in the late 1990s, transfers water from the uThukela River to the Mvuzane River, a tributary of the Mhlathuze River, upstream of the Goedertrouw Dam.

• Algoa Water Supply System Mariswe is the lead consultant on a DWS project to review the hydrology for the Kouga, Baviaans, Gamtoos and Kromme river catchments. The study area forms part of the Algoa Water Supply System (WSS) supplying Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, surrounding towns and agricultural operations. The inflows from these rivers to the four key dams feeding the western areas of Gqeberha have been significantly lower than anticipated in the past few years and the study aims to update the yields currently available from the water resources to the west of the Algoa WSS, assess future water availability under various scenarios, and develop Raw water pump station, Lower Ruvu Water allocation schedules for Treatment Plant, consideration. This project Dar es Salaam will help to standardise the approach for other waterstressed areas of the country.





ACCOUNTABILITY While preparing for the upcoming 2022 WISA Biennial Conference, I came across a file with my old speeches. My heart dropped when I read an excerpt from my 2014 WISA Biennial Conference speech. By Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA


ocal best practice seems to give us the thumbs up if say, as a municipality, we score 70% in our Blue Drop and Green Drop assessments. My question is, is that good enough? Should we not be striving for 90% or even higher? Has mediocrity become the new norm?” How far we have fallen since the last report in 2013... The latest Green Drop Report reveals wastewater compliance has plummeted in the intervening years. In 2021, of the 850 municipal wastewater treatment works, 334 (39%) are in a critical state, obtaining a score of 30% or less.

Stemming the tide

These results, and the action needed, will be discussed at length in the upcoming conference under one of our subthemes, ‘Stemming the tide’. At least the water sector now has measurements to evaluate its performance. The Green Drop Report should result in a developmental improvement plan for municipalities. WISA and its members are eager to be a part of that process. While WISA

is willing and able to assist and guide municipalities on how to improve their performance, these municipalities must begin to take responsibility for improving basic services. A slow – or no – response from failing municipalities cannot be tolerated and we call on the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to take action on any errant municipalities who make no effort to be part of this process. We call for improved accountability and performance, as well as consequences for counsellors and administrators who are slowing down or even hindering progress. There have been eight years of no reporting; we cannot have another eight years of no implementation. The time to act starts now. We need accountability and performance. We need change and we absolutely must do everything possible to reverse the downward trajectory and make improvements. Unfortunately, there is very little water professionals can do if politicians and administrators are not held accountable...

Let’s make the best of it

On a lighter note, I look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s conference. I want to thank the sponsors and exhibitors for their enthusiastic response and urge everyone to book their spot before we reach capacity. J UL/A U G 2022




NOW LET’S IMPROVE While the results from the Green Drop Report were alarming, they were not surprising. The water sector has taken the time to digest the report, and must now move to improve the situation. By Dan Naidoo, chairman, WISA


etween 2013 (when the last Green Drop Report was released) and now, we were sitting at an impasse. While we had a fair notion of the situation, if was difficult to determine if the performance of various water services authorities (WSAs) was improving or deteriorating and by what margin. There was very little guidance to WSAs on their performance and how they compare with each other. A benchmark has now been set. Audits for the Blue Drop and No Drop reports are ongoing. These programmes are world class, the auditors are highly skilled, and the Department of Water and Sanitation should be praised for reinvigorating these programmes and releasing the results. It is a positive move towards creating a layer of transparency with the public, and a good step towards regaining their trust.


JUL /AUG 2022

Our response is fundamental

However, we cannot have a situation where, going forward, the results of these reports continue to decline or remain stagnant. We have reached a tipping point where compliance cannot be ignored. Our industry cannot sit on this Green Drop Report. From here, we need to stop this downward spiral and start to make incremental shifts in the right direction. Many municipalities have been handed the results of these Green Drop audits and do not know what to do to improve them. Some do not even understand the report. They do not have the knowledge, skills or money to make any improvement. Let’s build a bridge and allow them to ask for help. We cannot afford to be crushed under the weight of the problems we are facing – being overwhelmed will only cause inactivity. What are the quick wins? What issues are the easiest to fix? Can we optimise

existing infrastructure? WISA has a body of knowledge that can assist poorly performing WSAs. We have the passion, skills and experience to tackle these issues. Let’s volunteer our knowledge and skills where we can. We need to join hands with WSAs that are performing poorly and take steps forward together. If we start moving in the right direction, we will gain momentum. But we need to take these first steps. We can unpack Green Drop results and help to formulate action plans. Let’s focus on incremental improvements. The upcoming WISA Biennial Conference is a perfect opportunity for professionals in our sector to formulate our thinking and take action to start shifting these results in a positive direction. We are a resilient country; let’s give back, help wherever we can and improve this situation for ourselves and future generations.


NAVIGATING OUR WAY THROUGH A STORM With the ‘Day Zero’ water crisis in the Eastern Cape, floods in KwaZulu-Natal and pollution issues nationwide, the WISA Biennial Conference could not come at a better time. Water and sanitation are front and centre in the national discussion, and we can hopefully leverage this attention to drive action. By Neil Macleod, technical committee member, WISA


ur previous WISA Biennial Conference in 2020 was held virtually due the Covid-19 pandemic. While the world battled a health storm, the 2020 conference called for #AllHandsOnDeck where the focus was to ‘keep the ship afloat’. More recently (after five Covid-19 waves), regulations around maskwearing, events and Covid-19 tests for incoming overseas travellers have been repealed. This has a positive impact on WISA’s upcoming event. For this conference, we have kept the nautical theme and have chosen #NavigatingTheCourse. As the water sector, we find ourselves off-course when measured by the lived experience of our passengers – both the residents of Southern Africa and the economic activities that support them. It is our responsibility to correct this. We need to evaluate where we have been, where we are and where we want to get to.

4. Batten down the hatches: Respond to climate change. 5. Learn the ropes: Harness the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 6. Matters ashore: Address environmental water quality and sustainable groundwater issues. 7. Stem the tide: Management and regulatory issues – Blue and Green Drop, professionalisation of the sector, address skills shortages, manage stakeholders effectively and develop capable institutions. WISA has received over 250 abstract proposals for posters, workshops and presentations. Our panel has finished reviewing all the proposals and a programme will be released shortly. There is a high standard of abstract proposals and the programme is going to be filled with very relevant presentations that provide new

thinking and methods to tackle existing problems. In addition to the presentations, the conference will afford delegates valuable networking opportunities where experience and knowledge can be shared and relationships built. In addition to the presentations, there will be tours in the Johannesburg area, some of which will be technical (visiting plant sites, viewing places where new technology has been deployed) while others will be non-technical (visiting museums and historic sites). The conference will be a hybrid event that will allow for both in-person and online attendance.


There will be seven subthemes: 1. D on’t abandon ship: Leave no one behind – reach SDG 6, listen to our customers’ needs and those of vulnerable communities that are unserved. 2. R ock the boat: Rethink sanitation in a circular economy – reuse, resource and energy recovery, off-grid solutions and reinvent the toilet. 3. R un a tight ship: Improve water-use efficiency and demand management across all sectors of water users; mining, agriculture, industry and municipal. J UL / A U G 2022




IN PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION The Murray & Dickson Construction (M&D) Pipeline Division has worked with mining houses, petrochemical and gas suppliers, as well as the country’s water boards and municipalities. WASA talks to Martin van Aswegen, HEAD: Pipeline Division, M&D.

Martin van Aswegen, HEAD: Pipeline Division, M&D

What gives M&D the competitive edge over other pipeline contractors?

MvA We have the ability to complete projects valued up to R1 billion and are one of a few pipelaying contractors in the country that has the expertise, skills and equipment required to construct, among others, continuously welded steel pipelines ranging between 150 mm and 3 m in diameter. We demonstrate our values – ‘be safe’, ‘do what you say’, ‘find the best way’, and ‘do it right’ – in all of our projects, where we meet and even exceed our clients’ expectations. Through another M&D core value, namely Khula Nathi – isiZulu for ‘grow with us’ – we have developed a strong, loyal and dedicated team with extensive skills and experience. It also includes highly competent and experienced welders who are all certified by the American Petroleum Institute. Our pipe fittings factory enables us to accelerate the manufacture of steel pipeline connections and fittings for our contracts. Notably, it was the first such facility to be certified to ISO 3834 quality standards by the South African Institute of Welding. Furthermore, my team has quick access to 180 different critical plant and equipment items required for highperformance contracts via M&D’s Plant Division, including pipelayers, excavators and welding machines. M&D is increasingly harnessing digital technologies. We use 3D, 4D and 5D


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building information modelling (BIM) techniques during the tendering phase and during construction to maintain high levels of productivity, efficiency, accuracy and safety. Furthermore, our Murray & Dickson Operating System (MDOS) helps us to establish direction, execute plans and deliver results. MDOS is based on an entrepreneurial operating system that promotes accountability throughout the group to ensure that all employees are aligned to our core values and pull in the same direction. It also facilitates a system whereby issues that arise are identified and dealt with timeously. M&D’s Integrated Management System on SharePoint enables us to administer all our ISO accredited documentation. This includes ISO 45001:2018 Health and Safety; ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management; and ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems, as well as ISO 3834: Part 2 Welding of Pipes. Importantly, we are a Level 1 BBBEE Contributor, with 100% black ownership and 51% black disabled woman ownership, demonstrating our unwavering commitment to transformation. We have CIDB ratings of 9GB PE, 9CE PE and 9ME PE.

we are usually entrusted with technically complex projects. Challenges can also be socioeconomic in nature. Via our Khula Nathi value, M&D has always been able to work well with communities located within our project footprints. This ability is becoming increasingly important and one of the reasons we remain a preferred pipeline contractor for municipalities and waterboards.

What is M&D’s focus in the next few years?

Our core focus over the next few years encompasses water, sewerage and stormwater pipelines, including their maintenance. Municipalities are also showing interest in the application of hydropower in their existing urban water systems to harness excess energy that otherwise would be wasted. This clean energy could be used to power parts of or their entire operations to reduce reliance on unstable grid electricity supply.

What challenges are experienced by pipeline contractors?

All our projects have had their own unique challenges that require innovative solutions. Considering our extensive skills, experience and capacity,



TREATING AMD, WITH A WASTE PRODUCT While working in the mining industry as a metallurgist for over 14 years, Boitumelo Nkatlo identified challenges with acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment and saw a business opportunity. Dineo Phoshoko interviews Nkatlo about BNAqua Solutions and its prototype to treat acidic water.


he proposed solution aims to convert the current 20 000 ℓ/day pilot plant into an integrated, modular solution for gold and coal mining companies. It treats water contaminated with AMD for both drinking and agricultural purposes.

Please explain how the water treatment solution works.

BN The first step is the purification process that involves the use of a waste metallurgical by-product that is costeffective and removes heavy metals from the raw acid mine water. Next is the water softening phase, while the last step involves the pumping of the partially treated water into the reverse osmosis membrane, where water is demineralised or deionised by pushing it under pressure through a permeable membrane. This step is executed to remove ions and unwanted molecules from the water and makes it safe for human consumption. A mineralogy analysis was conducted on the residual slag, which revealed that minerals such as gypsum, magnetite and synthetic lime can be recovered and sold. Therefore, the technology recovers water by using a waste by-product and simultaneously transforms the waste by-product into saleable minerals.

Who else was involved in the invention of this prototype?

The technology was successfully demonstrated and supported through collaboration with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the CSIR. This project started in 2014 under laboratory conditions at UJ where the results proved that we have a case for further development. We then received funds

Boitumelo (left) and Ntaoleng Nkatlo from BNAqua Solutions

from the City of Johannesburg in order to build our first prototype at the CSIR in 2016, later expanding this plant to treat greater volumes of AMD with the seed funding received from Technology Innovation Agency.

What makes this AMD solution unique?

View of the prototype

Our solution is innovative and cheap, as we use a waste material in order to treat AMD to drinking stage. This waste slag is cheaper to procure and locally available. This makes our treatment process cheaper and qualifies this project for a circular green economy, as we use waste products to treat another waste stream.

What are some of the challenges associated with the treatment of water contaminated with AMD?

One of the challenges to treat AMD has always been the high cost of treatment that makes the project unfeasible. But by using a waste material, we wholeheartedly believe that we have found a cheaper solution to treat AMD to the drinking stage. This treated water can also be used for irrigation and agricultural purposes in order to increase our food security – especially in low-income communities surrounding the mines. The other challenge with the treatment of AMD is the removal of heavy metals. We have conducted a series of tests and have so far removed up to 64% of sulfates using this waste slag. The business plan is to build a number of modular plants, which will need to be manned by plant operators and these positions will preferably be given to people from host communities.

Partially treated AMD using the waste slag

Raw AMD with low pH

Treated AMD with removed sulfates

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After the dewatering pumps are switched off and when the mines close, the open pits, underground workings and mined voids will gradually fill with surface water or groundwater


One thing all mines have in common is that, at some point, every single one of them will have to shut down. Water is a particularly important element of mine closure, and mistakes in its management can have devastating consequences. By Kirsten Kelly


uring mining operations, water is often dewatered from the mine pits and underground workings. At closure, when the dewatering pumps are switched off, the open pits, underground workings and mined voids may gradually fill with groundwater and in some cases surface water where the water balance is positive. This rewatering can last from several months to many decades. Water that comes into contact with the side walls of an open-pit or underground mine may be contaminated, depending on the mining operations. It may result in salty water, water rich in metals, acidic water, or water that is rich in nitrates (from explosives). Eventually, the water table stabilises, often to levels reached before mining took place. From there, the water could move out of the workings (decant) and overflow/discharge into the environment and even receiving water courses. Decants occur because the mine void and openings connected to it, such as shafts, occur at a variety of elevations. Water will flow into the void


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in higher areas (called recharge areas) and decant at low (discharge) points. There is a head of water pushing the water to the surface. In addition to contamination risks, decants also pose erosion risks and can cause instability of the mine itself. Mine waste storage facilities are another cause for concern. At the time of closure, many mines have tailings, waste rock, low-grade ore stockpiles and/or slags. Rainwater falling on this mine waste percolates and mobilises contaminants, which can be toxic and corrosive. This then joins and pollutes surface water, groundwater or both. Cover systems are used over the waste material to reduce the percolation of rain into the mine waste, which reduces effluent seepage volumes. Backfill in pits often has the same effect as covers on residues, in that backfill can reduce infiltration to workings, as long as the backfill is geochemically inert.

Other solutions

“Simplistically put, most mine closure strategies revolve around separating

James Lake, principal environmental scientist, SRK Consulting

the ‘dirty/contact water’ that has come into contact with mine residue from the ‘clean/non-contact water’ and keeping the latter clean,” says James Lake, principal environmental scientist, SRK Consulting. The existing legal framework in South Africa is such that the environmental responsibilities and financial implications of mine closure remain with the mine until a closure certificate is issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, upon which the environmental liabilities can be transferred to a competent person. However, a number of large underground mines, particularly within the Witwatersrand Basin, are interconnected. “Therefore, it is very difficult to work out who is responsible for what. Furthermore, acid mine drainage (AMD) is the result of a century and more of environmental damage, and hundreds of mining companies have long closed – so which companies must be held accountable for centuries of pollution? Mines in many affected areas are no longer


Water that comes into contact with the side walls of an open-pit or underground mine may be contaminated, depending on the mining operations

operational, making it difficult to enforce compliance,” adds Lake. He believes that it is best to take a catchment-level approach to tackling potential water issues when dealing with a mine closure. “Mines need to consider water stewardship for the mine’s entire life cycle. The first step is defining and understanding what problems mine closure may bring. This requires a substantial amount of investigative work.” There are a huge range of treatment options; some include neutralising agents for acidity and high-tech

solutions like reverse osmosis and ion exchange for salts. “Water treatment often generates a waste product, creating a further waste management problem, so it is not always the best and only answer when tackling water issues and mine closures,” says Lake.

metabolic energy, photosynthesis and chemical energy. In addition, the nutrients needed in passive treatment are commonly available in nature and only compost and/or limestone addition may be needed. Since passive treatments are self-sustaining processes, they require infrequent maintenance, and function well with minimal human interference. “Over the past few years, I’ve been pleased to witness a much more responsible attitude in mining. Mines allocate substantial resources into understanding and managing their risks. Mining companies typically allocate mine-closure-related key performance indicators to their management team. They also undertake studies needed to create a closure plan and regularly update closure plans to changes within the environment and regulations. The proactive management of environmental impacts is required from the outset of mining activities and the word ‘closure’ is now used from greenfield projects. Early mine closure planning and concurrent rehabilitation during the operation of the mine can save a lot of time, effort and money,” concludes Lake.

Passive treatment

Passive water treatment methods can be used. They are based on natural chemical and biological reactions with little or no nutrient and energy addition. They use mainly naturally available energy sources such as microbial

AMD is the result of a century and more of environmental damage

SRK Consulting considers the entire life cycle of a mine. The firm offers a wide range of mine closure ser vices that include: • Closure plan and concept development, assessment and management • Environmental and social impact assessments, and health and safety and economic studies, including mitigation planning, as well as community and government stakeholder engagement • Waste characterisation and geochemical assessment • Seismic assessments • Ear thworks design and stability assessments, such as landform engineering for waste dump and tailings storage facilities • Soil cover and reclamation design, as well as sediment and erosion control • Hydrologic assessments, including water quality and acid rock drainage, and water treatment system design • Revegetation management

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AMAREX - Dual performance submersible pump Vertical single-stage submersible motor pump for wet installation, with free-flow impeller (F-max), stationary or transportable version. Electrical submersible Motor sizes ranging from 1.1 kW to 10.2 kW. Applications - Pumping station - Waste water treatment (Including sludge treatment and recirculation) - Municipal and industrial waste water transport - Storm water transport KSB Pumps and Valves (Pty) Ltd Tel: +27-11-876-5600 www.ksb.com/en-za Your Level 1 B-BBEE Partner

Fluids handled - Waste water containing long fibre and solid substances - Fluids containing gas - River water - Service water - Grey water


Closed-loop water circuits for mines

Since that first potable water storage tank installation in 1999, SBS has supplied many liquid storage solutions to mines

The mining sector is estimated to consume around 5% of South Africa’s water resources, with many mines located in drought-stricken regions where water is in short supply.


his calls for the creation of cost-effective, waterefficient solutions, built around managing the demand for freshwater or alternative water sources and the ability to reduce consumption, limit evaporation and process existing water in a closed circuit. There also must be a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the mine and effective planning that can accommodate both existing and future needs. With a history of over two decades in the mining sector, the SBS Tanks range is ideally suited to the needs of the mining sector and can be utilised at all stages of the process within a closed water circuit. The first SBS Tanks mining installation took place at a coal mine in Ogies, in the Nkangala District Municipality,

Mpumalanga, South Africa. Since that first potable water storage tank installation in 1999, SBS has supplied many liquid storage solutions to mines across South Africa, into Africa and across the globe. The company has worked with many top mining companies to deliver adequate water and wastewater processing and storage systems, and has gained vast experience and expertise along the way.

Key considerations

By using this experience, and partnering with mine engineers and procurement specialists, SBS has established three key considerations to address when developing an effective closed-circuit water solution that limits the requirements for ‘new’ freshwater in the mining context.

• O n-site requirements and speed of installation Historically, concrete structures had been considered the go-to solution for water or liquid storage. However, the mining industry has come to realise that concrete comes with time and cost constraints, and can have a greater environmental impact. SBS Tanks can be installed on a simple ring beam structure that can be erected within a few days and commissioned immediately. Due to their modular nature, these tanks can be installed in even the most remote locations and do not require heavy equipment on-site or an access road for components to be transported. The local South African SBS manufacturing facility is both ISO 9001 and ISO 45001 compliant, addressing the need for quality, health and safety

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standards on a mine site. SBS Tanks are also SANS 10160 accredited, with the fire tanks meeting both ASIB and 12th Edition Rules. On-site environmental conditions, as well as seismic conditions, need to be established when devising a process water system. Extreme weather conditions such as wind events can impact the solution selection process. Water and liquid storage tanks and reservoirs need to be able to withstand this sort of activity on-site. The SBS Tanks Cyclonic Range of tanks is rated for regions with a high incidence of meteorological hazards, including tropical storms, hurricanes and other high-velocity events, designed to withstand winds of up to 240 km/h. • Water supply and requirements Considerations such as mine water standards need to be factored into the equation too. Does the mine require fresh ‘new’ water or can processed water be used? Will the fresh water come from a municipal source or aquifer, and will it require pre-treatment? If seawater is the most readily available water source, can this be desalinated, and will the system be

SBS Tanks at a gold mine in Ghana


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required to accommodate this process? Are there other requirements such as providing the community nearest the mine, where the bulk of employees will reside, with potable water and will there be access to electricity to pump the water from this tank to the community or will the tank need to be elevated on a hill? SBS Tanks have been designed and developed for use in all sectors from mining to manufacturing, bulk municipal supply, rainwater harvesting and water conservation to commercial, industrial and property off-grid resource supply and management. As a BBBEE Level 2 Contributor, SBS Solutions SA believes in working with communities, the commercial sector and municipalities to assist with the effective delivery of the mandate of ‘Water for All’. • Space limitations and capacity requirements SBS products and solutions are adaptable to meet all system and site requirements. Tanks can be built on a limited space, expanding vertically to maximise capacity with 11 or more rings where required. With a range of c 500

sizes and capacities from 7 000 litres to 4.4 million litres, SBS Tanks are suited to every stage of the process for liquid, water or effluent storage. This allows for a flexible and adaptable circuit to be designed and even relocated, if necessary, to establish the most effective closed water circuit. With a history of servicing the mining sector since 1999, the robust design of SBS Tanks can meet demanding conditions on mine sites. Liners or bladders used inside the tank structure can be changed to suit the nature of the liquids stored within. These protect the tank structure from corrosion caused by chemical exposure. SBS Tanks typically have a +65-year life expectancy depending on conditions on-site, with liners carrying a 10-year conditional warranty. As a trusted water and liquid storage solutions supplier to the mining industry for over 23 years, SBS will continue to work hand in hand with mines and mining engineers to offer a range of custom-designed systems to improve water-use efficiency and reduce the water requirements of the sector, delivering modular and scalable solutions.


Employees can help save water at work The world once took water for granted. But attitudes are changing as water security becomes a significant risk consideration for companies. In 2015, 70% of companies surveyed for the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Global Water Report were exposed to substantial water risks. In 2019, that figure rose to 75%.


ater management takes shape in many forms. New generations of water meters measure different operations, revealing efficiencies as part of non-revenue strategies such as loss detection. Digital technologies substantially improve consumption reporting: modern leak detection systems are very effective, using innovations such as acoustic waves to pick up leaks in water pipes and prevent more significant issues before they surface. Reusing and recycling water is very effective and affordable – today, it’s best practice to find water recycling in manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Yet every business can start saving significantly without jumping straight into water solutions. They can take a big first step by creating an employee culture that champions responsible water use.

How to save water

Companies can encourage employees to save water in several ways: Lead by example: Visible water saving is an effective way to promote similar attitudes among employees. For example, collect rain- and greywater, and recycle water when maintaining gardens and washing vehicles. Executives and managers should visibly back water-related

projects, attend water project meetings with employees, and treat water as an investment. Encourage water-saving ideas: Employees have an excellent view of practical water-management opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as dripping taps or leaking pipes. Provide feedback channels – e.g. suggestion boxes and email addresses – where employees can send their ideas. Elect water champions who can advocate better water use. Create incentives for employees who report issues such as leaks. Celebrate employee success: Reward staff for achieving water-saving goals: improve employee facilities or arrange for family days, and acknowledge water-conscious employees with benefits. Creating a visible link between saving water and employee welfare motivates employees to see how water conservation benefits them directly. Collect water usage information: Many companies have little idea of how much water they use across their daily operations. Determine the major and minor water uses and use water sensors to report their usage. Reporting is essential for planning and can demonstrate progress to employees, raising their awareness of water pain points. Establish water-saving policies: Employees are often willing to save water, but there isn’t always clarity

Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager, Xylem

on how they can contribute while doing their jobs. Sometimes a task will contradict mandates to save water. For example, an employee’s job is to wash fleet cars, but they are expected to do so without water. How would that even work? Developing pragmatic water-saving policies will remove ambiguity. Don’t stop at the office: The best opportunities for better water use are often at employees’ homes. Children, in particular, can be very insistent and bold about the water problems they see around them. Host workshops on practical actions such as building rain capturing systems or safely recycling household water – perhaps to support a home vegetable garden. Look for fun resources such as children’s books with water themes that they can relate to their families.

Take-home message

Water costs are set to rise, and it’s likely that water-usage legislation will start appearing as demand for water grows. Every business will, in the future, rank water as a prime consideration for costs and operational risks. Prevention is better than cure: the Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2020 Global Water Report notes that companies that don’t mitigate water risks end up with financial impacts five times worse than those that strategically address water supplies in their operations. J UL / A U G 2022



THE WASTE-WATERENERGY NEXUS IN INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENT Veolia Services Southern Africa is a water, waste and energy solutions company that specialises in the design, supply, procurement and commissioning of water and wastewater treatment plants in multiple industries. WASA talks to the Veolia team about industrial effluent in the mining and metals as well as food and beverage sectors.


ecent changes at Veolia Services Southern Africa have meant that our primary focus on water treatment has now shifted to include waste and energy solutions across subSaharan Africa. Veolia offers solutions in three paradigms: waste, water and energy,” says Miles Murray, director: Business Development, Veolia Services Southern Africa. The company is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. “Achieving 13 out of the 17 goals, to a lesser or greater extent, depending on the context, has already been well established through the various water treatment solutions that we offer. This includes water reuse, wastewater recycling, water scarcity solutions and zero liquid discharge, to name but a few,” he adds.

Increasing competitiveness

When dealing with wastewater, companies are faced with three options: 1. Recovery – Wastewater recovery is the extraction of valuable resources such as clean water and metals from industrial effluent. 2. Reuse – Industrial water reuse and recycling is the process by which wastewater produced from one source is treated to be reused in the same process or recycled for another. 3. Discharge – When industrial effluent (that is within certain legal parameters) is discharged into the municipal sewer. “Veolia will typically assess all of the different waste streams on a customer’s site. We then aim to treat these waste streams as a multilink, consolidated system instead of treating all waste streams separately. As with most water cycles, there are certain waste products that are generated. Our commitment to the circular economy ensures that we don’t waste resources through waste products that are

Miles Murray, director: Business Development, Veolia Services Southern Africa

valorised. Zero waste to landfill is a huge focus at Veolia,” maintains Murray. Treating wastewater for reuse entails extracting: • sediment through a refining process of filtration, decantation and clarification • bacteria by disinfection through mechanical and chemical methods • micropollutants by microfiltration or clarification. Veolia is increasing its customers’ competitiveness by assisting them in minimising operational expenses, complying with legislation, and becoming socially and environmentally responsible. Veolia focuses on optimising its customers’ resources, offering energy-efficiency solutions for better water cycle management.

Mining and metals

This is one of the most water-intensive industrial sectors in the world. “We help customers reduce their water needs while enabling productivity gains by establishing a circular economy. Every process unit of a metals plant – raw materials, operational units (like furnaces and kilns), discharge units and refineries – processes water and creates

wastewater. This wastewater would typically consist of a solid waste (such as slag, dust and/or sludge) and process water,” Reinier Delport, manager: Business Development, Veolia. “Due to environmental regulations, all of these wastewater streams need to be assessed and a decision has to be made on how these wastewater streams will be treated. Will it be on- or off-site treatment? And will contractors or employees be used to treat these streams? What methodology will be used: discharge, reuse or recovery? Does the value of the resource recovered justify the cost of the treatment process?” asks Delport. Recovery, for example, would include the milling and separation of slag, followed by reuse into the furnace. Spiral centrifuges, dewatering systems and rotation systems are typically used. Processed water that could not be reused can be discharged within the municipal sewer (if the water quality falls within certain limits) and waste that cannot be treated can be sent to either a hazardous or ordinary landfill. Delport adds that the primary drivers for reuse come from an operational expenditure point of view. “The high volumes of water used during the overall manufacturing process represent a significant expense and Veolia focuses on reducing costs through better water and wastewater management.” The reduction of energy is another focus point, and this is done by focusing on utility circuits like compressors, boilers, cooling and chiller circuits. As a global company, Veolia works closely with the top five mining companies in the world. “Veolia’s expertise guarantees the complete management of the entire water cycle – a vital component for the smooth operation of our customers’ businesses in the mining industry. As a water treatment specialist, we provide a full range of water services for mining, including preliminary and detailed engineering, the

provision of standard and custom equipment, project management and maintenance services, as well as longterm operation or temporary mobile water solutions.”

Food and beverage

Food and beverage processing faces environmental and sustainability challenges: high energy and water consumption as well as high-volume waste production, combined with strict hygiene and food security regulations. “Although not the most waterintensive industry, water quality is a crucial issue for the food and beverage sector – water purity must be at the right level so as not to alter the characteristics of the food and beverage products. As water cycle experts, we also help meet regulatory and environmental compliance through treating wastewater streams and reducing water consumption. Treated water quality must be within client specifications to mitigate finished product contamination risks,” says Chad Lawrence, manager: Business Development, Veolia. In South Africa, the food and beverage industry is particularly concerned with water security, as well as the inconsistent quality of municipal water. Veolia has the technology to treat this water to SANS 241 standards, treat effluent, and secure water supply by finding new water sources to replace municipal water, such as treating groundwater or collecting rainwater and recycled wastewater to be used for the process.

“We have seen a significant increase in water recovery projects where the effluent stream is treated to water process specifications for reuse in the plant or even potable water reuse, tying into the zero liquid discharge approach,” notes Lawrence. Significant progress has been made within the waste valorisation sphere, where organic waste is turned into biogas that can fuel a plant. Organic waste is fed to an anaerobic digester, offering a dual benefit for food and beverage facilities. Veolia simultaneously treats a wide range of waste and wastewater streams while creating energy-rich biogas as a byproduct that can be used to produce green electricity or heat.


The manufacturing environment is never stable, making the inflows vastly different. Water treatment plants work within set parameters and issues arise when the plant has to work outside these design parameters. “There needs to be a greater focus on change management. Veolia values partnerships with its customers; there needs to be constant communication. We turn wastewater into a resource for our clients. It’s a complex, technical process, but we have the expertise and knowledge, and work closely with our clients to achieve this,” concludes Murray. J UL / A U G 2022




DEWATS explained

Sanitation where the sewer does not go, DEWATS systems are the sweet spot between waterless on-site sanitation and conventional sewers with centralised wastewater treatment. What is DEWATS?

The Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS) approach is a combination of biological treatment procedures to purify wastewater to a standard that allows for safe disposal into natural water bodies or for use in agriculture. Wastewater treatment efficiencies can be controlled according to the governmental regulations of the place of implementation.

DEWATS is a combination of biological treatment procedures


DEWATS is modular

Step Module

What is it really?


Inlet chamber

The wastewater from the area being serviced flows through this common point, therefore DEWATS is always at the lowest point of the site.


Screen chamber Built to suit the municipality, this chamber prevents anything >20 mm in diameter from entering the treatment system.

•P rimary treatment = Grease trap + settler + biogas digester •S econdary treatment = Anaerobic baffled reactor •T ertiary treatment = Planted gravel filter + polishing pond • Can treat 1-1 500 m³ of wastewater a day


Settling chamber

A physical separation occurs in this chamber. The heavier particles sink, the fats and oils combine and float on the surface, and finally the suspended layer in-between flows through to the next chamber.



Anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR)

An advanced septic tank that is designed to retain wastewater for longer periods, determined by the treatment efficiency requirement. Within the chamber, a maze of walls is set up, forcing extended periods of contact between settled sludge and fresh wastewater. This assists with overall purification of the wastewater.


Anaerobic filter (AF)

The chamber is set up to force wastewater to flow through a membrane of material that further enhances the treatment. The membrane is very easy to construct (any non-porous material 30-60 mm in diameter).


Mechanical siphon

This is a device that pumps wastewater on to the constructed wetlands of DEWATS. The pump achieves flow rates of 75 ℓ/s and works off the principle of buoyancy. No electricity is needed and it is built right here in South Africa.


Stage 1 – Constructed wetland, with vertical filtration

The first stage of advanced treatment is a coarse gravel filter, where the focus is on mechanical and biological posttreatment for organic pollutants (COD/BOD), ammonia and nitrate.


Stage 2 – Constructed wetland, with vertical filtration

Before this stage, another mechanical siphon is set in place to ensure that wastewater is effectively distributed on the surface of the second wetland. This filter uses fine sands and the focus here in addition to nitrogen removal is pathogen removal.

• Individual households • New and existing settlements • Institutions • Schools • Hospitals • Small and medium-sized enterprises


• Local materials, minimal scrap value • Simple to operate and maintain • Reduced pipe lengths, fewer pump stations • No electricity or chemical inputs required = low operating costs • Can be placed in or near community • Beneficial reuse: treated effluent, biogas, urine For more information, contact BORDA

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Hydro FLOW ® can optimise industrial processes, yielding a quick return on investment. • Op�mise liquid carrying systems • Improve produc�on capability

• Run processes more efficiently • Be more environmentally sustainable • Reduce your carbon footprint


HydroFLOW® units utilise a unique technology to transmit an electric field into the pipe and the water inside. This technology works on all types of pipe material without the need for any cutting or plumbing, making it ideal for retrofits. The signal can travel throughout the plumbing network, both upstream and downstream, to protect the entire system.


HydroFlow SA is the exclusive distributor of HydroFLOW® electronic water condi�oners in South Africa. • The ul�mate eco-friendly water care technology for preven�ng and removing limescale, bacteria algae and biofouling. • HydroFLOW SA is on a mission to bring South African industries and consumers this cost-effec�ve and green solu�on for water condi�oning because we believe that South Africa deserves first-class technology and tailored solu�ons. • We intend to move the industry away from accep�ng second-rate, archaic solu�ons just because that is what is available or has previously been done.

FROM COMBI BOILERS TO COOLING TOWERS HydroFLOW® units are working all over the world on mul�ple applica�ons, trea�ng carbonate and non-carbonate scaling and filtra�on issues in a wide variety of industries. Check out our website for more informa�on. • From homes to heavy industry • From spas to steel mills • Suitable for any pipe material • From 15 mm to 1 500+ mm OD pipe diameter







GOODBYE LIMESCALE Hydroflow – an electronic water softener – removes the ‘cholesterol’ from water pipes and heating equipment without the use of chemicals.


omprising minerals (usually calcium and bicarbonate) that are dissolved in water, limescale creates a hard mass on the surface of pipes and heating equipment when water is heated (or becomes otherwise supersaturated). “Limescale that forms on the inside of water pipes increases the resistance to the system and decreases the flow of water. This results in greater energy consumption and even damaged pumps. Limescale build-up on heating equipment also impedes heat transfer and the elements use more energy. Removing this limescale often results in expensive downtime for various industries,” explains Tinus Venter, director of Hydroflow SA.

No chemicals

Hydroflow is a patented technology that eliminates the formation of both old and new limescale. A ferrite ring is placed around a pipe (PVC, galvanised copper, steel) in diameter sizes ranging between

Hydroflow is robust, and can be exposed to the sun and rain

20 mm and 3 m. This ring induces a highfrequency electrical signal into the water that can travel up to 2 km throughout the water system, both up- and downstream. This causes the mineral ions to form clusters that do not settle on the sides of the pipes and equipment. These mineral ions act as a starting point for the crystals, so that, when water is heated, the limescale forms as a fine powder in suspension, which can then be washed away by the flow. The high-frequency signal is not dependent on water flow or quantity. The technology is used in a wide range of industries – from geysers in domestic use to desalination plants, wastewater treatment plants, heat exchangers and cooling towers in power stations, factories, mines and steel mills. “Hydroflow is an environmentally friendly option that reduces operational expenses. No additional chemicals are added, reducing the margin of human error regarding quantities and timing, as well as the harmful effects (corrosion and rust) that chemicals have on the pipes and dosing systems. It also uses a minimal amount of energy; its power consumption is similar to that of an LED light (2 W),” states Colin van Rooyen, a consultant for Hydroflow. Furthermore, Hydroflow is easy to install; there is zero downtime (it clamps over pipelines). With no mechanical parts, Hydroflow does not require any maintenance. Hydroflow is robust, and can be exposed to the sun and rain. “While this technology has been used for nearly 30 years in the UK and is available in over 70 countries, it is still relatively new in South Africa. Like anything ‘new’, there is initial scepticism regarding its viability,

Tinus Venter, director, Hydroflow SA

Colin van Rooyen, consultant, Hydroflow SA

but Hydroflow has many successful references and case studies. Hydroflow water conditioners have also won the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Award by the Solar Impulse Foundation, as well as the Innovative Technology Award from the Water Environment Foundation,” concludes Venter.

Limescale buildup on heating equipment impedes heat transfer

Hydroflow won the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Award

J UL / A U G 2022



South Africa’s estuaries face a growing threat from pollution In the popular imagination, estuaries don’t have the prestige or romanticism of their two constituent parts: the rivers that feed them with freshwater from one side, the ocean that injects salty water from the other. By Anusha Rajkaran

Anusha Rajkaran, associate professor, University of the Western Cape


ut as the go-between between river and ocean, estuaries nonetheless deserve more credit. Their dull, brackish appearance belies the abundance of life that they hold. Considered as, pound for pound, among the most productive environments on earth, they are said to produce more organic matter than forests or grasslands of the same size. With little of the violent movements of water associated with oceans and rivers, they hold few predators. As a result, they shelter and offer respite to countless species of birds, fish and mammals. They are economic powerhouses, too. They’ve been described as ‘super’ ecosystems. And, in the case of South Africa, although they comprise less than 2% of the country’s territory, they’re


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estimated to contribute R4.2 billion per annum to the country’s economy. A 2020 report pointed out that as many as 80 species caught in linefishery rely on South Africa’s nearly 300 estuaries for their feeding, refuge and reproduction. In addition, estuaries are valued for their capacity as ‘blue carbon’ sinks. This refers to the ability of coastal mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrasses to store carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change. However, estuaries are vastly understudied, which means that we know little of the harm that we as humans are doing to them. To help make up for this gap in our knowledge about the nearly 300 estuaries in South Africa, we have increasingly begun to look at microplastics pollution in a selection of these estuaries. Our work is in collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Our findings in a recent study show that South African estuaries could be considered to be moderately to highly polluted in comparison with microplastic levels in countries such as Singapore, China and even the UK. We conclude that urgent action needs to

be taken to reduce pollution of these precious waterways.

Mapping microplastics levels

Much of the research on microplastics pollution focuses on oceans and beaches. This overlooks the location of estuaries, sitting at the interface between terrestrial and ocean environments. As such, they store both land- and sea-based macro- and microplastics – which animals may consume – and transport large amounts of plastic and other debris from the rivers to the ocean. Microplastics are defined as fragments of plastics less than 5 mm in length, typically small pieces of plastic that remain as they break down into every smaller pieces. Plastics, of course, can take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose, in the meantime posing threats to marine and human life. Our study focused on four mangrovedominated estuaries in KwaZulu-Natal. These were the St Lucia, uMgeni, Durban Harbour and Isipingo estuaries located on the country’s east coast. Healthy mangrove forests are considered important as effective protection of coastlines, and serve as nurseries for many fish species.


We took water and sediment samples over two random days in the dry season, and two random days in the wet season. This is critical, as water levels and salinity – salt content – rise and fall depending on the tides and the seasons. In a good wet season, the rivers will flood the estuary with freshwater. Over the dry season, when input from rivers dries up, estuaries may shrink and become more saline. Likewise, stormy ocean weather would inject more saltwater into the estuaries. As a result, microplastics pollution in the estuaries tends to rise and fall. Rivers, for example, pick up much human waste as they course past and through human settlements, onward to the ocean via estuaries. Microplastics levels have also been found to increase over the dry season, however, due to increased sedimentation. Across the four estuaries, we found and identified seven types of microplastics. We categorised these as fibres, films, foamed plastics (foam), fragments, fishing line, microbeads, and pellets. What we found was that the abundance of microplastics rises with increased levels of what we describe as ‘disturbance’. This is defined as either the ecological influx of new organisms

or species into estuaries, or the human, anthropogenic kind, which includes the introduction of chemicals, heavy metals and other pollution as a result of human residential or industrial activity. Of the human kind, we identified disturbances such as developments adjacent to the estuaries, microplastics pollution (shopping bags and the like), human effluent and fishing/maritime activities. We showed that, as in other estuaries subject to anthropogenic pressures, the greater those pressures, the greater the levels of macro- and microplastics pollution. We found that microplastics concentrations were highest in water and mangrove sediment of those estuaries affected by industrial, residential and agricultural land uses (Isipingo). This was followed by the system impacted by residential recreational disturbances (uMgeni), and heavy industrial and maritime activities. St Lucia, which suffers from limited residential and tourism activities, recorded the lowest microplastics levels. The average sediment concentrations in our study sites varied between 37 MPs/kg in semi-rural estuaries and 287 MPs/kg in the most densely

populated urban mangroves. In the UK’s River Tame, levels around 240 MPs/kg have been recorded in urban areas. In China, levels went as high as 3 520 MPs/kg in mangroves closer to industrial/urban zones.

The growing threat

South Africa is a developing nation that is cranking up industrial activity. At the same time, its population is growing fast, ‘consuming’ more plastic products – from 2010 to 2018, World Wildlife Fund South Africa estimated, total plastic consumption in South Africa grew by 24%. The country has limited consumer and environmental awareness, and multiple shortcomings in its waste management systems. These issues should be addressed urgently. Consumers, rich and poor, can become more informed of what they buy, while industry should be encouraged or compelled to offer more sustainable alternatives. Pressure should also be put on industry to improve the treatment of their waste.

This article was first published in The Conversation.

Mntafufu Estuary in the northern part of the Eastern Cape (Photo credit: Anusha Rajkaran)

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The future of

GROUNDWATER Today, about 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 3.6 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. The latest World Water Development Report (WWDR) tackles groundwater, which has remained under the radar for far too long. By Yazeed van Wyk


roundwater is a major water-supply source and provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide. While it delivers roughly 40% of water for irrigated agriculture, this figure can be much higher considering that half the water flowing in rivers comes from groundwater as baseflow. Furthermore, groundwater provides about a third of the water supply required for industry and also sustains biodiversity and terrestrial ecosystems. It is a strategic resource and an important component to adapt to the threats associated with climate change. Despite these impressive statistics, groundwater is out of sight and often out of mind for most people. Human

Yazeed van Wyk, national treasurer: Ground Water Division, GSSA

activities (including population and economic growth), poor land-use planning and climate change are putting pressure on groundwater resources. Serious depletion and contamination problems are reported in many parts of the world due to this lack of understanding, including in South Africa. Locally, groundwater plays a pivotal role in ensuring water security. It supplies approximately 13% of the total water supply but often provides up to 100% of supply to some areas. It is thus a resource of strategic importance. The Water Research Commission has been a driving force in setting the research agenda for groundwater in the country for just over half a century. A core focus is to promote, create and disseminate

knowledge and innovation on the optimal and sustainable utilisation of South Africa’s groundwater resources through coordinated research activities.

Increased dependence on groundwater

Cities internationally are becoming increasingly reliant on groundwater and, right now, roughly 50% of all urban populations worldwide rely on groundwater. This dependence will intensify, particularly in the rapidly urbanising areas of developing countries and emerging economies. As dependence on groundwater increases, how sustainably can it be used? As an example, how many cities are sinking faster because of aquifer compaction (over-abstraction) than J UL / A U G 2022


GROUNDWATER sea level rise? This is something that has never been published in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, showing that cities are sinking because of groundwater over-pumping. Cape Town is actively developing the Table Mountain Group (TMG) and Cape Flats aquifers to increase long-term water security. This is in direct response to the unprecedented multi-year drought that dramatically reduced surface run-off into the main water supply dams. The drought serves as a case in point and gives us a sense of how we are on a definitive trajectory to a drier climate and that we will reach the 1.5°C average rise in global temperatures a lot sooner than expected.

Managed aquifer recharge

A key intervention for adapting to climate change and to secure and augment the current water supply has been the practice of managed aquifer recharge (MAR). South Africa has advanced significantly in this regard, with a national map showing the prospects for MAR, an artificial recharge strategy on how to develop MAR projects, and well-documented case studies (e.g. Atlantis, Hermanus and Elandsfontein).


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However, the pace of MAR implementation in other areas has been slow and this could be because of a lack of awareness of and experience with MAR, financial resources, human and institutional capacity, enabling policy frameworks, sufficient and sufficiently wellfunctioning demonstration sites, and poor understanding of aquifer hydrogeology and geochemical properties. Another challenge that will need to be looked at from an MAR perspective is the role of the shallow unsaturated zone thickness, as there is a concern that some bacteria, viruses or parasites could survive and contaminate groundwater.

Groundwater professionals

The research that has been developed and implemented through Water Research Commission studies demonstrates that the know-how and technological solutions exist to address the many challenges we are facing in sustainably developing groundwater as an alternative mix to surface water. However, the general lack of groundwater professionals among the staff of institutions and especially at local government level, as well as insufficient mandates, financing and

support of groundwater departments or agencies hamper effective groundwater assessment, monitoring, planning, development and management. Siting and constructing the higher-yielding boreholes that are necessary for large-scale irrigation or town supplies in complex hydrogeological environments require considerable expertise. In addition, how we procure for professional groundwater development services is an area of concern. Improved knowledge, capacity building and training are not enough; to protect aquifers, we also need innovation, in terms of technical interventions, institutional and legal reforms, improved financing, and behavioural changes. Individuals, researchers, governments, NGOs, civil society, the private sector and, indeed, the entire international community need to make groundwater more visible. It is necessary that we work together to ensure each country can assess and sustainably manage its water resources. We are counting on you all to engage actively in our efforts to make groundwater visible in 2022 and beyond, and educate the next generation of groundwater industry leaders.


A vital part of any water-loss strategy:


As a water services authority, the City of Cape Town (CoCT) is expected to implement water conservation and water demand management interventions to deliver water as efficiently as possible. Pressure management is an integral part of this commitment. By Kirsten Kelly


e immediately see the benefits of pressure management by reduced pipe bursts, which limits operational costs for repairs and, most importantly, limits water leaks. We also extend the infrastructure lifespan, postponing costly upgrades,” explains Ivy Maisela, senior professional officer, Water Demand Management Division, CoCT. She adds that through Cape Town’s drought period, 70 Mℓ/day of water was saved by pressure management alone. As water restrictions eased and water pressure increased, the savings have reduced to 20 Mℓ/day. As an ISO 9001 certified organisation, CoCT follows a process-based approach with regard to pressure management, where there is an increased focus on standard operating procedures and documenting all water pressure management activities. “Recordkeeping and documentation play a key role in water demand management.

Data integrity is very important,” states Maisela. A 10-year plan has been formulated on how CoCT will implement its pressure management strategy, prioritise areas in need of pressure management, analyse pipe burst statistics, evaluate different pipe materials, and look into average system pressures. Pipe distribution network A pipe distribution network can fail due to: • ageing infrastructure • f ailure of the joints of the pipeline (corrosion or age) • p oor workmanship (poor flushing/air in pipes) • high network distribution pressure (faulty valves). CoCT therefore focuses on reducing the pressure of its pipelines to

acceptable parameters. “Ironically, our pipelines often fail as a result of routine maintenance and daily operations. For example, when a burst pipe has been repaired, and there are air pockets in the mains, there are often additional burst pipes. Pressure management plays a vital part in pipe replacement programmes,” adds Maisela. Zone management CoCT’s water distribution network is divided into four regions that are further divided into pressure management zones. Zone management for non-complex areas is managed internally by CoCT, while complex areas are outsourced. Implementing zone management J UL / A U G 2022


infrastructure (like pressure-reducing valves [PRVs], zone meters, strainers, chambers, isolation valves, spool pieces, bends and thrust blocks) is also managed in-house, as is analysing the viability of controllers. Close-out reports and as-built drawings are also created. All zone information captured while working in the field is shared with the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team, the Engineering team, and the Asset Management team responsible for capturing and maintaining asset registers. Dates are also recorded for proactive maintenance plans. “Confirming or verifying the discreteness of a zone is a critical part of our zone management design, even after the zone has been designed. We use the information on the design report as well as logging data (inside and outside of the zone) and pressure zero tests where we isolate the zone,” explains Maisela. Zones are monitored remotely for their discreteness. There are alarm settings to notify a reticulation operator if there are changes (outside set parameters) in the operation of the zones. Monthly formal reports on the performance of zones are produced and distributed to operations. They contain information about a zone’s upstream pressure, downstream pressure and flow profile of each zone.


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Also known as record drawings and red-line drawings, as-built drawings are documents that allow one to compare between the designed versus final specifications, and provide a detailed blueprint of the land around the zone. “CoCT now combines as much information about a zone as possible on the as-built drawings, such as number of properties, length of mains, static inlet pressure, inlet elevation at PRV, supply reservoir, critical point elevation, and the coordinates of where the valves are placed. These drawings are invaluable when zones are breached,” states Maisela. Time-modulated pressure control (TMPC) She adds that CoCT has adopted the TMPC approach, whereby pressure is reduced at night and in the afternoons and increased in the morning when water is used the most. This has reduced incidents of pipe bursts. The critical point is monitored to ensure that the minimum pressure requirement is supplied. The TMPC approach offers greater flexibility in pressure adjustment at specific times of the day, achieved with the help of the controller. The controller is low in cost and relatively easy to set up. A notable limitation of TMPC is that of its poor response to water demand requirements, such as

the demand for firefighting. During the firefighting demand period, full pressure is usually required to tackle a fire outbreak. A higher level of expertise is required to operate and maintain the installation of the devices used in this approach compared to the fixed-outlet pressure control approach. Non-revenue water CoCT is currently sitting at a 34% non-revenue water (NRW) figure and implementing measures to reduce this further. “An NRW steering committee has been created to provide an integrated approach with implementing methods to reduce NRW,” says Maisela. Some of the key focus areas include: • bulk meter audits and a meter replacement programme • pipe replacement programme • water network leak detection and repair programme • pressure management and district meter areas programme • zonal water balance for discrete zones (bottom-up approach where water balances are produced for the individual zone) • water infrastructure asset management • education and awareness areas. Maisela adds that CoCT experiences a number of challenges (that they are working to overcome) with regard to reducing NRW:


CAPE TOWN’S WATER SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM Population served Number of connections Total length of mains (excluding bulk) Total length of mains under PRV control Total length of mains under booster zones Total length of mains under DMA Pressure management mains coverage Total number of zones established to date

• reporting inaccuracies, especially when dealing with meters • zones being breached • the licences belonging to remote pressure controllers and zone monitoring platforms are owned by third parties – creating red tape within the procurement process • long turnaround time when repairing PRVs • in the procurement process, brand names cannot be specified, resulting in many different PRVs in the field – requiring additional training for operators as they need to make use of multiple different types of PRVs

4.7 million 673 789 10 977 km 7 698 km 63 km 92 km 70% 236

• low availability of spares • ageing infrastructure • loss of skills and institutional knowledge through resignations and retirement • quality of workmanship • lack of an in-house meter maintenance capability •o versized meters. Future plans “CoCT plans to implement pressure management measures across the entire city by 2028, where all areas will be zoned with a clear idea of the positions of all boundary valves. In the

near future, we will be implementing meters and monitoring systems at reservoir outlets, as well as creating reservoir water balances. CoCT also aims to increase the visibility on 70% of the pipe distribution network that can be monitored for performance. There are also plans to install meters at all PRV zones,” says Maisela. She adds that there will be a focus on creating district metered areas in industrial regions to monitor leakage levels. CoCT will also pilot new technologies for leak detection and pressure management. “CoCT has initiated an integrated approach to water supply. Reducing NRW is approached from a holistic point of view – from bulk water supply to the customer. We have found that the effectiveness of any pressure management strategy relies on the skills and experience of the zone operators, and they need to be constantly upskilled,” concludes Maisela.

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The Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division within the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has the difficult task of curbing water transgressions and safeguarding all water resources while still encouraging development. Kirsten Kelly interviews Anet Muir, chief director: Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement at the DWS. 34

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Anet Muir, chief director: Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement at the DWS


hile water is an economic enabler, it can also be a victim of economic growth when industries and organs of state alike do not comply with laws and regulations. “As a water-scarce country, we need laws and regulations to protect this resource. Our unit does not believe in over-regulation, and

we are working towards streamlining authorisation requirements. We need to preserve water for future generations and businesses,” says Muir. Policies and standards to deal with water pollution sectors are generally in place; the challenges facing South Africa are not due to policy gaps but rather non-compliance with existing policies and standards.


Compliance The Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division conducts regular inspections and audits to assess compliance against issued authorisations. If non-compliance is detected, that facility is notified of non-compliance issues and given a time frame to comply. Should the facility still fail to comply, they will be referred to the division for administrative, civil or criminal processes. If there is a suspicion that there is unlawful activity, an investigator (not an inspector) will go on-site. When dealing with illegal activity, there are three options available, depending on the severity of the situation: 1) Pre-compliance notice with a time frame to respond or comply, which may be followed by a directive 2) Civil enforcement if there is a threat to property or life 3) Criminal enforcement, which may run in parallel with the two actions above. With criminal enforcement, a case is opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS). “Our officials are designated as environmental management officers that can conduct an investigation (carry the docket, collect evidence and statements, and build a case). This docket is then handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority. We work together with the SAPS, especially where there are other elements like commercial crimes together with the environmental crimes,” explains Muir.

The requirements for compliance for organs of state (other ministries, municipalities, water utilities and state-owned entities) remain the same. Administrative enforcement can be implemented. However, an intergovernmental process must be followed regarding civil and criminal litigation. This is because the Constitution states that organs of state must avoid legal proceedings against each other. Therefore, before instituting civil or criminal action against another organ of state, the DWS must exhaust all other measures. Muir explains that the DWS needs to both support and regulate local government. “For example, should we institute a criminal or civil enforcement against a municipality, the court will first ask for proof that the DWS exhausted all manners of support.” While criminal enforcement has its place, it is not always the best option. “Fining an already impoverished municipality millions of rand will not restore or improve water services. The DWS will continue to encourage and assist companies, individuals and organs of state with compliance and will only involve enforcement as a last resort. Our division runs compliance awareness activities around the legal requirements for compliance as well as the audit process. We are here to provide clarification around compliance,” she adds.

Blue and Green Drop programmes The Blue Drop and Green Drop programmes fall within Muir’s Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement unit. “I am proud of our Minister for releasing this data. There were a number of bad performing municipalities within the Green Drop Report, but at least we have a benchmark point after having a reporting gap. The report provides a clear indication of municipal performance. It is a full diagnostic of what a water services authority (WSA) needs to perform its function. It assesses, for example, the WSA’s capacity to provide water services within required norms and standards. Do they have financial resources? Do they have qualified process engineers? Is the design of the works appropriate for the area serviced and with the wastewater generated?” According to Muir, the department’s compliance monitoring, audits and inspections for services are supplemented by comprehensive Blue and Green Drop assessments. Compliance audits are focused on the works where the Blue and Green Drops’ scope is broader – it has a holistic approach. Problems are often experienced outside the treatment works – at pump stations and pipelines and around the institutional aspects of managing systems. “In response to the April 2022 Green Drop results, we have requested action

Some municipalities will receive further support from government while the DWS is investigating the option of removing the water services authority status from other municipalities.” J UL / A U G 2022




To book your spot


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WHY PARTICIPATE THROUGH SPONSORSHIP? Increase your pre-conference exposure through marketing coverage (website/social media/mailers) Raise your profile above your competitors Increase recognition and drive traffic to your exhibition stand/website Marketing platform through branding and acknowledgement Contribute to and be actively involved in the development and growth of the industry and those that work in the water sector Deliver a greater ROI. Sponsoring an event can often be cheaper and have a higher return on investment than a TV commercial or other advertising methods Contribute to the upliftment of science and technology Increase your company’s perceived image – sponsoring such a big, professional and reputable event will provide the impression that your company is a reputable one Gain the respect and creditability of your target audience

WISA will once again host the flagship event of the Southern African water sector, bringing together regional and international water professionals, companies, regulators and stakeholders. +27 (0)11 805 3537 admin@wisa.org.za • events@wisa.org.za • adele@confco.co.za


plans from WSAs on how they plan to improve their performance. This will form part of the water services improvement programme. Requesting action plans is not a punishment; it is to assess what can be done by the WSA and what can be done by the DWS. The department cannot fix this situation by itself – everybody needs to play a role,” adds Muir. “Municipalities receive support and financial aid from national government in the form of grants, specifically, from the DWS, which manages the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant and Water Services Infrastructure Grant. Local government receives a substantial amount of money to upgrade its wastewater treatment works, as well as the systems that feed those works. This cannot continue if there are no visible improvements. When analysing the outcome from the recent Green Drop Report , it is clear that there is little benefit from the money transferred in some of the municipalities. The next option for poorly performing municipalities, despite financial and other support, is for the DWS to intervene in these municipalities as empowered by the Water Services Act (No. 108 of 1997) and the Constitution. Some municipalities will receive further support from government while the DWS is investigating the option of removing the WSA status from other municipalities,” states Muir. Blue Scorpions, Green Scorpions and environmental management officers The creation of environmental management inspectors (EMIs) was enabled with the amendment of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998). EMIs within the DWS form part of a greater Environmental Management Inspectorate Network, including the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the Department of Mineral Resources, provincial environment departments, local government (municipal inspectors), South African National Parks, and provincial parks. The EMIs have specific powers relevant to their designated grades: • R outine inspections: entering premises, sometimes without

warrants, for specific purpose; seizing evidence (Grades 1-4 EMIs). • Investigations: questioning witnesses, copying documents, inspecting and removing articles or substances, taking photographs, taking samples, removing waste (Grades 1-3). • E nforcement: search, seizure, roadblocks, arrest (some powers from CPA) (Grades 1-2). • Administrative powers: compliance notices (Grade 1). The Green Scorpions typically work with the DFFE in protecting biodiversity and the Blue Scorpions work with the DWS with water. There is also an overlap with the DFFE, DWS and other ministries with regard to pollution prevention and management. Currently, the DWS has 87 of its compliance and enforcement officials trained and designated as EMIs. “An anti-pollution task team – responsible for the development and implementation of strategies to improve water quality in different regions – reports to me. The Minister has committed to improving water quality by 60% within the next 36 months. This is an enormous task and, to achieve this, all components need to work together. Monitoring needs to identify pollution hotspots, authorisations that have a detrimental effect on water quality cannot be granted, clean-ups and rehabilitation activities need to be coordinated with specific industries, wastewater treatment plants need to operate at the correct capacity within agreedupon discharge levels and quality parameters, and Blue Scorpions need to take action against illegal activities,” states Muir. Policies and regulation There is a team within the Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Division that solely focuses on the development/updates of regulation around water resources. Here are some of their current projects: • Cabinet has approved the mine water

management policy. Developed in line with the National Water Act, the policy provides mechanisms to protect and conserve water usage. It balances mining economic activities with the mandate to provide sustainable water usage for the country. • Process controller regulations have been drafted and published for comment and once the social economic impact assessment is completed, it will be routed for publication. • A revised set of norms and standards is being drafted for water services, which includes standards for drinking water, sanitation, water demand management and conservation, operational maintenance of works, audits and water service delivery. • GN704, which pertains to water use for mining activities, will soon go out for comment. • Regulations are being developed to impose best practice on existing lawful use, which is water use recognised under the 1956 Water Act. This will ensure uniform regulatory requirements between water use J UL / A U G 2022



authorised by licences under the National Water Act and the uses authorised under the 1956 Act. • T he unconventional gas regulations for fracking have now been closed for comment, but the department is still consulting with some stakeholders prior to approaching the Minister for final publication. Digital resources The DWS uses the Integrated Regulator Information System (IRIS), which currently houses the Blue Drop and Green Drop components, the National Compliance Information Management System (NCIMS), and the Enforcement Case Management System (ECMS). “Our long-term vision is to integrate all of these systems into one under IRIS, including authorisations. We are also looking at early warning systems where we will have access to real-time data the moment there is any

incident or threat to our water quality,” adds Muir. The DWS is part of Operation Phakisa, where satellite navigation is used to observe and build cases against perpetrators in the oceans economy. The DWS is partnering with the initiative to conduct surveillance against suspected illegal sand mining in our coastal rivers and estuaries. This is needed, as the EMI unit is often met with violence and threats when investigating such activities. The SAPS, South African National Defence Force as well as the National Asset Forfeiture Unit are also working on these cases to target the people funding such operations. Challenges Ageing municipal infrastructure and a lack of maintenance are key problems faced by the DWS in regulating the municipal sector. “The Green Drop audit process calculated a ‘very rough order of measurement (VROOM)’ where it has been estimated that it would cost

over R8 billion to return wastewater infrastructure to a workable condition. The cost is broken down further to civil (R1.9 billion), mechanical (R4.8 billion) and electrical (R1.3 billion),” states Muir. With a constrained fiscus, the DWS has limited resources, making partnerships important. “Partnerships that we have made with other ministries like Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, as well as Mineral Resources and Energy are invaluable to us. These partnerships have strengthened the DWS and helped us react to issues more rapidly. We simply cannot safeguard our country’s water resources on our own,” states Muir. “By improving performance levels and compliance to all authorisations, pollution decreases and water quality improves. My message to our water users is to do the right thing. We will work with you to improve your compliance. But our unit will begin to shut down operations with no authorisations,” declares Muir.

WATER USE COMPLIANCE, MONITORING AND ENFORCEMENT IS ONE OF FOUR UNITS IN THE DWS’S REGULATION BRANCH: •W ater Use Authorisation – issues water-use authorisations • Water Use Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement – drinking water regulation, wastewater regulation, water resource regulation, compliance monitoring and enforcement • Economic and Social Regulation – develops economic and social regulations norms and standards, manages and regulates pricing strategy, raw water, bulk water, municipal water and sanitation tariffs • Dam Safety Office – implements and administers dam safety regulations



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WATER FINANCE: how to move from

RED TO BLACK South Africa’s water finance account has been in the red for years and the numbers are staggering: R898 billion is needed to fund the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan (NW&SMP). Alarmingly, we are adding to that total every day, as the impacts of increased urbanisation and climate-driven weather events take their toll.


his monetary term does not address some of the underlying challenges the sector faces: a lack of cost-reflective tariffs, planning that does not aim to build resilience into water infrastructure, or the poor implementation of pollution legislation. But what the term does is, first, it helps to set a target to aim for and, second, it is commonly understood language for the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). These are the two departments that can get us out of the red. So where will the money come from? How do we move from red to black? In keeping with expressing the need in terms of numbers, here are two strategies to do just that: 1) Expand financing options. 2) Plan with water in mind.


Lead author: Malango Mughogho, founder and managing director, Zenzi Zenzi Sustainable Finance

Expand financing options by expanding the horizon of possible financiers Attracting private finance has been a long-standing refrain, particularly since the Addis Ababa Action Agenda was adopted by UN member countries in 2015. During the launch of the NW&SMP in 2019, the Minister stated that approximately 33% of the R898 billion needed would need to come from the private sector. And this is not about privatisation. Rather, it’s about building on the fact that underinvestment in a country’s water assets (infrastructure and ecosystems) creates a risk that affects everyone in society, including the private sector. These risks include droughts, which nearly caused Day Zero in Cape Town and may yet cause Day Zero in the Eastern Cape, affecting livelihoods and food prices. Another risk is floods, such

Co-author: Zaid Railoun, associate, Zenzi Zenzi Sustainable Finance

as the ones that devastated parts of KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year. Some scientists claim that the damage was worsened by poor land management practices, which increased the volume and power of the floodwaters. This shared risk means that the private sector, with the right enabling environment, should be willing to provide funding if it helps reduce the risk. There are already examples of this, such as Local Government Support Partnerships (LGSPs) between Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), municipalities, the private sector and state-owned companies. Through an LGSP, Santam has provided funding and technical expertise in flood risk reduction and disaster risk management, among other areas. Long-term savings in the form of pensions and collective investment J UL / A U G 2022



It is not about privatisation – it’s about building on the fact that underinvestment in a country’s water assets creates a risk

schemes represent one of the largest sources of private finance in the country. And recent research by Sanlam found that stand-alone retirement funds anticipate investing 6.6% of their assets, on average, in infrastructure. This is significant, given that retirement funds hold around R4.5 trillion in assets. So, there is potential to move the water finance account into the black by focusing on financing structures that attract private finance. Plan with water in mind: include water considerations in all infrastructure planning Apart from being essential to life, water is integral to a diverse range of economic activities, including agriculture, construction, energy generation, medical care and maintaining ecosystem integrity. In a nutshell, all these activities can therefore be materially affected by what happens to the water ecosystem. For example, the tourism sector in Cape Town was affected by the drought that began in 2015 and only ended in 2018, because of perceived and actual water risks. Fast-track to this year, the floods in KwaZulu-Natal created significant transport backlogs following damage to infrastructure at the Port of Durban and associated road routes, affecting the country’s exports and imports.


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Yet a comprehensive assessment of these risks is often not considered when those economic activities are planned. And since it is typically only what is measured that gets done, the water finance gap is exacerbated because these risks are not known, and money is not allocated by the affected parties towards addressing them. The integration of water risk can be addressed by asking key questions during any planning process, such as: • What are the water input demands of electricity generation? How can electricity generation be affected by water-related events such as floods, snowfalls or drought? A comprehensive review, titled ‘The vulnerability of the South African electricity transmission network infrastructure to weather and climate’, indicated that a deeper understanding of such water input impacts on electricity and infrastructure would assist considerably with risk management and decision-making, consequently contributing to the sustainable provision of electricity in South Africa. • How will the water availability in the Orange-Senqu River Basin be affected by climate change? This is important given that this river basin contributes 26% to South Africa’s GDP and supplies

most of the water consumed in the Gauteng province, which generates 33.9% of the country’s GDP, given that climate change models predict significant changes in precipitation in eastern Southern Africa in general. • What physical water risks does my factory face? What if there were heavier than usual rainfall? Or a heavy storm? Certain industrial processes require a certain quality and purity of water to work efficiently. • Do my employees have access to adequate sanitation at home? Among other things, access to effective sanitation was an important factor in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and is a marker of human development in general, so this is an important question to ask. The answers to these questions can help guide the development of appropriate risk strategies that can then be budgeted for and implemented. At a national planning level, the government announced the creation of a National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency in March 2022, which will have a financing mandate for national water resource assets. This is a welcome development. Here’s to hoping that planning and broadening the horizon of possible financing structures is at the top of its agenda.


STATS SA REPORTS IMPROVED ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION Stats SA’s General Household Survey (GHS) tracks the progress of development in South Africa and identifies persistent service delivery gaps.


he percentage of households with access to an improved source of water increased from 84.4% to 88.7% between 2002 and 2021. The increases were most notable in the Eastern Cape (14.9%) and KwaZulu-Natal (11.6%). The survey revealed that around 14% of households relied on a communal or neighbour’s tap as the main source of drinking water. Despite these notable improvements, access to water actually declined in six provinces between 2002 and 2021. The largest decline was observed in Limpopo (4.4%), Mpumalanga (4.3%) and the North West (2.2%). The declines, however, belie the fact that more

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households had access to piped water in 2021 than two decades earlier. Sanitation Through the efforts of government, support agencies and existing stakeholders, the percentage of households with access to improved sanitation increased by 22.4% between 2002 and 2021, growing from 61.7% to 84.1%. The greatest improvement was noted in the Eastern Cape, where the percentage of households with access to improved sanitation increased by 58.3%, to 91.7%, and Limpopo, in which access increased by 31.6% percentage points, to 58.5%.

The installation of pit toilets with ventilation pipes played an important part in achieving the significant improvements. A range of reasons, including rapid household growth and urbanisation, as well as a preference for flush toilets, have all contributed to the slow progress over the reference period. The relative scarcity of water and regular water interruptions experienced in many parts of the country might increasingly lead to the use of alternative sources of sanitation. It is notable that the percentage of households whose members usually wash hands with soap and water increased notably between 2019 and 2021 (from 43.6% to 59.1%).

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facts you may not know Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is a form of renewable energy that uses the force of moving water to generate electricity.





Approximately 71% of all renewable electricity generated is from hydropower.



To harness energy from flowing water, the water must be controlled. A large reservoir is created, usually by damming a river. A gate or valve controls how much water flows out of the reservoir. Engineers control the amount of water let through the dam. The process used to control this flow of water is called the intake system. Water gains potential energy just before it spills over the top of a dam or flows down a hill. The potential energy is converted into kinetic energy as water flows downhill. Water is channelled



• Impoundment facility: A dam is used to control the flow of water stored in a pool or reservoir. When more energy is needed, water is released from the dam. Once water is released, gravity takes over and the water flows downward through a turbine. As the blades of the turbine spin, a generator is powered.


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through tunnels in the dam. The energy of water flowing through the dam’s tunnels causes turbines to turn. The turbines make generators move and generators produce electricity. The water can be used to turn the blades of a turbine to generate electricity, which is distributed to the power plant’s customers. When a lot of energy is needed, most of the tunnels to the turbines are open, and millions of litres of water flow through them. When less energy is needed, engineers slow down the intake system by closing some of the tunnels.

• Diversion facility: Instead of a dam, this approach uses a series of canals to channel flowing river water toward the generator-powering turbines. • Pumped storage facility: The plant stores energy by pumping water uphill from a pool at a lower elevation to a reservoir located at a higher elevation. When there is high demand for electricity, water located in the higher pool is released. As this water flows back down to the lower reservoir, it turns a turbine to generate more electricity.

When flowing water spins a wheel or turbine, it generates power, and this approach was used by farmers as far back as Ancient Greece for mechanical tasks like grinding grain. Egyptians used Archimedes water screws for irrigation during the third century B.C. The evolution of the modern hydropower turbine began in the mid-1700s when a French hydraulic and military engineer, Bernard Forest de Bélidor, wrote the Architecture Hydraulique.

5 6







The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world in terms of electricity production. The dam is 2 335 m long, 185 m tall and has enough generators to produce 22 500 MW of power.





The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is an ongoing water supply project with a hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa. It comprises a system of several large dams and tunnels throughout Lesotho and delivers water to the Vaal River System in South Africa.

While there is no internationally agreed-upon definition for the different sizes of hydropower sites, a generic distinction between ‘large’ and ‘micro’ hydropower is that micro hydropower usually refers to installations up to 10 MW of installed capacity. Micro hydropower could play a pivotable role in remote areas to provide access to electricity in stand-alone isolated mini-grids or as distributed generation in national grids. The gold mines at Pilgrims’ Rest are a good example. These were powered by two 6 kW hydro turbines – as early as 1892. A 45 kW turbine was added two years later to support those turbines to power the first electrical railway in 1894.

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supply capacity, Station 5A improves Rand Water’s network resilience and Gauteng’s water security,” explains Sipho Mosai, Sipho Mosai, chief executive, chief executive, Rand Water. Rand Water As one of the oldest pump stations within the Rand Water distribution network, Zuikerbosch follows a zero Zuikerbosch effluent discharge process. Station 5A is This is an engineering approach to water a water purification treatment where all plant under construction, water is recovered; the located within the Rand Water process water is recycled Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant back to the intake works of the plant and in Vereeniging. By Kirsten Kelly the contaminants are reduced to solid waste at the water residue disposal site. cheduled for completion A three-phase commissioning in 2024, the R3.9 billion strategy has been adopted for project will purify an the project. The first phase will be additional 600 Mℓ/day, completed in the last quarter of 2022, which will augment the Zuikerbosch where 150 Mℓ/day of water will be water supply capacity to the Palmiet available to the overall water supply and Mapleton booster stations. These capacity of Zuikerbosch. A pipeline booster stations (50 km from Station 5A) will be connected between the filter feed the greater eastern and northern house of Station 5A and ‘System 3’, parts of the Gauteng province. The which will give the station flexibility new capacity of Station 5A also offers in operating and maintaining the refurbishment opportunities for older existing operational plants with potable infrastructure at Rand Water’s minimal disruptions. Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant. The construction of the R3.9 billion “High water demand and inefficient project was split into subcontracts, water systems in Gauteng remain a the following of which have either concern in a country that receives reached practical completion or are approximately half the global average within their respective stages of of rainfall. By increasing Rand Water’s plant commissioning:



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• raw water pipeline from the Zuikerbosch station forebay/buffer dam and all other secondary pipeline works • lime slaking and dosing plant, and lime loading bay • polyelectrolyte dosing plant • activated silica dosing plant • flocculation, sedimentation and sludge pump plant • medium-voltage power supply and reticulation of Station 5A and all the associated infrastructure. The following contracts are either under construction or still need to be procured: • filter house plant (design and construction phase) • reservoir and engine room (design and construction phase) • disinfection plant (scoping phase) • landscaping and permanent roads (scoping phase). Spiral flocculators and chemical dosing plants Raw water is pumped from the Zuikerbosch forebay/buffer dam all the way to the intake system. The pipeline then gravity-feeds water from the intake tank. All raw water contains suspended particles that must be removed. Water from the Vaal Dam contains highly dispersed particles that tend to remain suspended for a very long period because they are colloidal. Chemical coagulants, such as calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), are used as an aid to settle these particles. This calcium hydroxide

PROJEC T FOCUS is created when calcium carbonate (raw limestone) is heated in a kiln and converted to calcium oxide and carbon dioxide gas. The burnt limestone is then crushed and water is added, in slakers, to destabilise the electrostatic charges of suspended particles in the water. A small quantity of activated sodium silica is also added to the raw water to promote flocculation. Coagulation in Rand Water’s system is the process that destabilises the particles when the coagulants (slaked lime and sodium silica) are mixed with the raw water in about 20 to 30 seconds. This is the first process in removing suspended particles. Flocculation is the clumping together of the suspended particles, which are destabilised by coagulation, to form heavier visible particles called floc. The floc remains in suspension as the water flows at high velocity through either spiral flocculators or baffled channel conditioning bays. In Rand Water’s system, orthokinetic flocculation predominates, resulting from the fluid motion at higher velocity gradients and larger particle sizes. The high pH of between 10.5 and 11 is obtained during the lime coagulation, limits algal growth, and removes heavy metals, organic material, bacteria and viruses. Station 5A has the option to use slaked lime and silica, or slaked lime and organic coagulant, depending on the quality of raw water and availability of the chemicals. To ensure the watertightness of the three flocculation tanks, the outer walls and one internal wall were constructed in situ; the remainder of the internal walls were precast panels that were manufactured off-site.

Sedimentation tanks The sedimentation tanks stretch over 30 000 m² and, due to the soil conditions on-site, an engineered platform had to be constructed to accommodate it. Lime was used to stabilise the material, and the engineered platform was constructed, creating a 1 000 mm thick soil mattress. A total of 60 floor panels, measuring 25 m by 25 m each were constructed. The 160 walls, each 25 m long, were then constructed on the floor panels. With a capacity of 720 Mℓ/day – providing an additional 120 Mℓ/day should the plant size be expanded in the future – the sedimentation tanks are rectangular in shape. Water flows slowly into sedimentation tanks and the floc then settles to the bottom of the tank to form sludge. This is removed as a thin slurry containing 3% mass by volume of dry sludge. The sludge is pumped to Rand Water’s sludge disposal site at Panfontein. Here, it is dosed with an organic flocculent in gravity-thickening plants to aid the separation of the solids from the liquid. The clear supernatant fluid is drawn off and returned to the purification system. Thickened sludge is pumped on to drying beds where it is dried by evaporation. Carbonation The use of lime as a coagulant raises the pH of the water to about 10.5, which is very unstable and conducive to scale forming. After sedimentation, the water flows into carbonation bays where it is stabilised by adding pure carbon dioxide gas to the water. This lowers the pH to between 8 and

8.4. The carbonation plant walls at the Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant is 4 m high and the longest single section of wall poured was 75 m long. Rapid gravity sand filters Following carbonation, the clarified water passes into the filter house where it flows through rapid gravity sand filter beds of finely graded silica sand and pebbles. This occurs under a roof to avoid bacteria from entering the treated water. The remaining suspended particles are removed and ferric chloride may be added prior to filtration to enhance the process. There are two galleries at Rand Water’s filter

Station 5A has the option to use slaked lime and silica or slaked lime and organic coagulant

J UL / A U G 2022




Installation of the split tee

house – each with 32 filters. The water leaving the purification plant is disinfected with chlorine to kill microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that may be present in the water. The free available chlorine concentration must be between 0.8 Mℓ and 2.5 Mℓ, depending on the raw water quality, to ensure that all pathogens are killed. Once water from the filter house is chlorinated, it goes to the reservoir. Pipelines Murray & Dickson Construction (M&D) was awarded the R234 million pipeline contract in 2019. “The project was delayed slightly due to Covid-19 and is reaching completion this month. We laid all the pipelines within the Zuikerbosch pump station and pipelines linking the forebay to Station 5A and from Station 5A to the new works, as well as interconnections of some of the pipelines,” explains Martin van Aswegen, HEAD: Pipeline Division. Pipe diameters varied between 1.5 m and 2.5 m, with trenches as deep as 10 m. A total of 2 600 m of pipeline was laid: comprising 1.3 km of raw water pipeline, a 1.5 km water line and a 450 m carbonation line. The contract also included all excavation, trenching, backfilling and welding, as well as the supply and installation of gate valves, air valves and scour valves. They also installed (with added protective coating for corrosion protection) manholes and chambers, and added cathodic protection to the pipes. The steel pipelines were chosen, due to their durability. “These pipelines were laid utilising multiple side-boom cranes in tandem lifts, with each pipe weighing in at over 25 t. There was a section where we laid a 2.1 m pipe beneath two 2.1 m pipes,”

adds Van Aswegen. Double 1 400 NB wedge gate valves with a 2 500 NB special manifold (reducing to a 1 400 NB section) that weighed 26 t was installed at the forebay connecting chamber. With its own ISO 3834-2 certified fabrication factory, M&D could rapidly manufacture its own pipe fittings and manifolds, and owns all specialised equipment required for pipelaying. M&D is also ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 compliant. “There are 14 electrically operated valve actuators that can remotely control and monitor pressure. A drop in pressure is usually an indication of a burst pipe and these valves will assist Rand Water in proactive, speedier repairs and maintenance, minimising water losses. M&D also installed fibre-optic lines for communication between the electrically operated valves and the control room,” says Jacques de Coning, senior contracts manager, M&D. All welding on the pipelines was done according to standard. Once the coatings are completed, M&D submits footage of the inside of the pipes taken by a CCTV camera and conducts a pressure test.


T otal pipeline length: 2 600 m Clear and grub: 2 600 m Trench excavation: 44 000 m³ Removal of hard rock: 10 000 m³ River sand bedding: 21 000 m³ Installing of pipe: 3 600 m³ Concrete works: 7 000 m³ Manholes and structures: 12 Valves: 45 Hot tap connections: 4

Pipelaying at NKP road crossing

A portion of the work was completed by local subcontractors, where M&D provided mentorship and management. A total of 80 local people were used by M&D and 40 took part in a skills development initiative. The site was congested and M&D had to consistently interface with other contractors and Rand Water in order to lay pipelines without disrupting Rand Water’s operations. There were also high water tables, and pumps had to permanently remove water from the trenches into a nearby dam. One of the great achievements of this project was the four big hot taps that were completed by a specialist contractor overseen by M&D. There were two 1.4 m connections to a 3 028 NB diameter pipeline (7 000 kPa) near Pump Station 4 and two 1.5 m connections to a 2.1 m diameter pipeline. “This is the largest hot tapping works on a waterline in South Africa,” says De Coning. Hot tapping (under pressure cutting) is the method of making a connection to existing piping without interrupting the line. Once the T-piece is welded, a valve is connected and specialised drilling equipment is connected on to the valve. The valve is opened, a pressure test is done and the equipment cuts a portion out of the pipe. The valve is closed and equipment is removed, completing the tie-in. Engine room and reservoir Termed as the ‘heart of the water J UL / A U G 2022



With the high water table, buoyancy of the structure was an important design consideration

treatment plant’, the engine room (as well as the reservoir) is constructed by King Civil Engineering Contractors. While 600 Mℓ/day of water will go through the pump station, it is designed to handle an impressive 1 000 Mℓ/day of water – creating 400 Mℓ redundancy. “Due to the gravity-fed system, the engine room and reservoir are constructed at the lowest level and are the last part of the project. Rand Water has an extremely high water table, and all of the run-off water drains towards our site. As contractors higher up completed their work and stopped using dewatering pumps, we had excess water on our site,” explains Andre Bosman, contracts director at King Civil Engineering Contractors. A 300 m long HDPE pipeline is installed, where water is continuously pumped out of the site. With the high water table, buoyancy of the structure was an important design

Groundwater was a challenge on-site


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consideration. “Part of the engine room is 12 m below the ground. The original design of the structure was extremely heavy to prevent buoyancy. After further geotechnical investigations, the decision was made to use a less costly design and build a lighter structure with ground anchors to counter the weight,” adds Bosman. The pump station is designed for six pump sets, five of which have been supplied by Rand Water. They will all be electronically controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC). The pipe work in the engine room will eventually be connected to feed into the Rand Water distribution network. The reservoir acts as a storage facility for the treated water. To minimise joints and ensure a watertight reservoir, 7 m to 10 m high walls were cast in a single pour. From the reservoir, water is pumped into the common sump in the engine room,

Termed as the ‘heart of the water treatment plant’, the engine room (as well as the reservoir) is constructed by King Civil Engineering Contractors

which will prevent movement of water that can affect the pumps’ efficiency. Water will then be pumped into the 3 500 km Rand Water distribution network via two 2.1 m diameter outlet pipes that still have to be installed. Ten 1 500 NB diameter valves, that are 6 m high and weigh 26 t also need to be installed. “As the pump station feeds water to two major pipelines, the pump and valve configuration allows water to be pumped to either of the two pipelines should there be an issue with one of the pipelines or if some of the pumps are offline. There is an impressive amount of redundancy in the system,” states Bosman. There is a dedicated substation from the Eskom electricity transmission station, main underground transmission lines to Station 5A substation, and all associated infrastructure to enable the

PROJEC T FOCUS Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu visiting the Zuikerbosch Station 5A project

safe interconnected electrification of all plants. Redundancy “Regular maintenance helps to identify and resolve minor issues before they become serious and costly hazards. Like all machinery, equipment in a water treatment plant can fail. This can happen slowly over time or suddenly and if left unattended, the consequences could be costly. Maintenance is therefore a priority for Rand Water and Station 5A has been designed with a huge amount of redundancy,” Mosai adds. Rand Water had to strike a balance between cost of ownership and mitigating the risk of reduced supply from unexpected machinery failure and scheduled maintenance, as well as operational efficiencies. While Station 5A is a gravity-fed system, water still needs to be pumped 50 km to the Palmiet and Mapleton booster stations. Therefore, large pumps are required. Additional pump capacity has been supplied and suitable valve configurations are

provided to facilitate the removal of pumps and motors for planned and unplanned maintenance. Furthermore, standby power is provided for the intricate dosing, electromechanical and automation systems. Capacity was also added to the flocculators, sedimentation tanks and filters. This means that cleaning and inspection can occur on a rotational basis with little impact on operational duties and no impact on water quality. Training, development and SMMEs “I am incredibly proud that Station 5A has been managed by a young project management and engineering team, and 41% of these roles are held by women. The team has performed exceptionally in managing numerous project challenges under difficult circumstances (Covid-19) to keep the overall programme on track, while reducing delays and negative financial

impacts on Rand Water,” states Mosai. Due to Rand Water’s Enterprise Development and Socio-economic Policy, the local community and SMMEs were involved since project inception. Various contractors on the project have commended Rand Water for its excellent social facilitation programme and community engagement.

RESERVOIR Concrete Formwork Reinforcing Rock Anchors

3 213 m³ 534 m² 8 491 t 91 nr

ENGINE ROOM Concrete Formwork Reinforcing Rock Anchors

5 798 m³ 19 604 m² 1 229 t 70 nr

While 600 Mℓ/day of water will go through the pump station, it is designed to handle an impressive 1 000 Mℓ/day of water – creating 400 Mℓ redundancy in the system


Reliable level readings from remote areas VEGA’s compact radar level measuring instruments provide energy-efficient measurement around the clock.


hile the Flanders Environment Agency (Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij; VMM) in Belgium can do little to change the volatility of the weather, it does play a decisive role in creating a water distribution strategy. The environmental agency measures and monitors water quantity and quality, as well as manages water systems and levies fees on water pollution and groundwater extraction. It also advises on environmental permits, supervises infrastructure planning and supplies drinking water. VMM relies on IoT (internet of things) solutions and adopts an integrated approach that focuses on limiting the risk of flood damage and achieving a high ecological status. VMM looks to ensure that no user or consumer in the complex system of water distribution is neglected. However, one can only monitor something that has been accurately measured. User-friendly, low-maintenance measuring equipment In the early days, ultrasonic sensing was used to measure the water level in non-navigable streams, canals and rivers. However, this measuring method had a major drawback, especially outdoors: the sound propagation time depended on the temperature, which resulted in considerable measurement errors due to temperature changes or solar radiation. Thick fog, wind and rain, as well as build-up of dirt, also influenced ultrasonic measurement. Even cobwebs caused inaccurate readings, as they gathered debris that interfered with the measuring signal and resulted in an increase in the blocking distance, or dead band. There were also ongoing maintenance problems. Radar sensors, by contrast, are not bothered by dirt, sunlight, fog, wind or rain. They also do not require mechanical protection from high floodwaters. For that reason, the decision was made over 15 years ago to change the sensor type; and since then, VMM has relied on radar technology from VEGA. They first worked with the radar level sensor VEGAPULS 61 with PVDF antenna for many years, then later with VEGAPULS WL 61. VMM especially appreciated the


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The exact location of each sensor is determined via a GPS module built into the data logger

solutions-oriented attitude of VEGA. Johan Eylenbosch, hydrographer and electrical mechanic at VMM, confirms: “Whenever a problem arose, the service and additional information provided by VEGA was very good and helpful.” This was to be reconfirmed by the next project the agency undertook. Climate change Due to climate change, VMM had to get a comprehensive overview of water levels at a wide variety of locations at any time of day. VMM’s idea was to build a fine-meshed network of real-time level measuring points. Important measuring points were smaller, non-navigable watercourses, where information was gathered to help mitigate water shortages or predict floods. Such measured values formed the basis for taking more far-reaching decisions, such as the introduction of local or regional water withdrawal prohibitions. The agency was particularly focused on periods of prolonged drought. In an effort to improve water management, VMM wanted smart IoT level sensors for the continuous level measurement of rivers. Up until then, setting up such measuring points had only been possible through considerable effort and expense. “To install a river level measuring point, the sensor, together with an adequate housing, sometimes had to be set up in the middle of nowhere and the necessary cables laid underground. We also needed special software to configure the system. And we had to collect, amalgamate and process the measurement data,” says Eylenbosch. When the new, compact radar level transmitter VEGAPULS C 11 became available, many of those problems vanished. The instrument contains a radar microchip optimised for the requirements of level measurement. Also, thanks to its high level of integration, the sensors can be very compact. The VEGAPULS C 11 measures with a frequency of 80 GHz, which enables very good signal focusing. This allows for better separation of measurement signals from interference signals – measurement is thus much easier and more accurate than with

other measuring methods, such as ultrasonic waves. And the very small beam angle of only 8 degrees is ideal for the application. “Some channels are very small. Thanks to the narrow measuring beam, there are easier ways to install the sensor in tight spaces. For example, we can mount the sensor very close to the wall,” notes Eylenbosch. Thanks to its encapsulated cable and IP66/68 protection class, the new radar sensor can be immersed in water in the event of a flood. Measurement data around the clock Every 15 minutes, the radar measurement is activated, and the measured value sent to the VMM database via a remote telemetry data logger. “This makes it possible to gain a better insight into our water supply and distribution reality and to calibrate our hydrological models,” explains Eylenbosch. Incidentally, anyone can also access this data – the current readings can be viewed via the web service www.waterinfo.be. VMM procured 50 compact VEGAPULS C 11 radar level sensors and installed them with microcontrollers at numerous locations in five provinces. The exact location of each one is determined via a GPS module built into the data logger. “Most of the measuring points are located in open watercourses and are actually not problematic; we could also have used ultrasonic or pressure sensors. But the simple installation of the radar sensors via Bluetooth and the high measuring accuracy of ±5 mm, not to mention the very reasonable price, tipped the scales in favour of radar measurement technology. The instruments are also completely solar powered, which makes them even easier to operate and maintain. The significantly lower energy consumption of the new radar sensors was helpful to us in many respects,” says Eylenbosch. VEGAPULS C 11 fits into a small stainless-steel housing. “This makes the entire measurement setup so inconspicuous that it is also protected against vandalism and theft,” he adds. “We now have reliable, energy-efficient measurement 24 hours a day,” continues

VEGAPULS C 11 fits into a small stainless-steel housing

Eylenbosch, who is convinced that the need for additional measuring points will increase in the future. Expanding the sensor network is not a problem. A new level measuring point can be put into operation quickly and easily at any time and integrated into the existing network. As soon as the level measurement module is installed, the instrument goes online automatically. The administrator only has to fill out a few fields in a digital activation form beforehand – all subsequent measurement data is then automatically transferred to the database in a continuous stream. This ensures that the level data becomes quickly available on the data platform.

All instruments are completely solar powered

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WATER PRESSURE BOOSTER SYSTEMS FOR LOCAL APPLICATIONS A ready-to-connect pressure booster system with the ability to assist municipalities struggling with water reticulation has been introduced to the South African market by pump manufacturer KSB Pumps and Valves.


he KSB Delta Macro type series is designed for large flow rates with a maximum rate per system able to perform at 960 m³/h and the maximum pump head of 160 m as standard. The ready-to-connect units operate fully automatically and are equipped with between two and six Movitec highefficiency centrifugal pumps.

KSB Delta Macro SVP are ready-to-connect, fully automatic pressure booster systems for large-volume flow rates in building services

According to Shaun Wessels, regional sales manager, KSB Pumps and Valves, the systems’ Booster Command Pro+ microprocessor control unit starts and stops the pumps in line with demand using either cascade control (F variant) or a frequency inverter for speed control (VC and SVP). LEDs on the control panel indicate the system’s current operating status. Clever operation “The pressure booster systems can be connected to the KSB Delta FlowManager app using a Bluetooth LE interface. The app shows the current status of the pumps, the pressures on the suction and discharge side, and the programmed parameters. It also allows users to control and operate the system directly and change the settings,” Wessels explains.

Shaun Wessels, regional sales manager, KSB Pumps and Valves

The SVP version is fitted with highefficiency IE5 synchronous reluctance motors of the Supreme type series and the PumpDrive variable-speed system. The F and VC variants are equipped with IE3 motors. The first pump is started by a pressure drop in the piping when a consumer installation is opened. While the pressure booster system is in operation, the microprocessor control unit starts and stops the pumps in line with demand. “When water consumption stops, all pumps are ramped down one after the other once the stop pressure has been reached. This ensures that the individual pumps operate only in line with actual demand. If a pump has not been operated for over 24 hours, the microprocessor control unit initiates a test run for this pump. Should a lack of water occur in the inlet, the system stops automatically to prevent damage caused by dry running,” says Wessels.



agru Kunststofftechnik


Keller Nederland


SBS Corporate Services


Sizabantu Piping Systems


KSB Pumps & Valves


M & D Construction Group


Macsteel Fluid Control


Vukani Communications/SAPPMA



Water Institute of Southern Africa


Xylem Water Solutions South Africa


Mariswe OdorCure/Hydroflow



Rainbow Reservoirs

JUL /AUG 2022


Specialised Exhibitions/Electra Mining



20 years of your support has given us given us 20 years of excellence



#SizaTurn20 #Since2002

Message from our CEO, Don Coleman:

The past 20 years has been a journey filled with fun and interesting challengers. This wonderful journey has been made possible by the enthusiastic, entrepreneurial character, which has encapsulated the Spirit of our amazing team. The road we have travelled was not without its challengers, but with the positive competitive nature of our management and staff, we managed to scale each mountain that was in our way. It has been an absolute pleasure serving with our adopted family and may we take this opportunity thanking the Good Lord for his Grace and many Blessings. May we all look forward to the next 20 years of this exciting journey. To our Dear Loyal Customers and Suppliers. Thank you for travelling this long road with us over the past 20 years. We have been truly privileged to be included as part of your supply team. Without your success and support, we would have surely stumbled along the way. We look forward to continuing our journey with you, into a bright new future.