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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

WATER SECURITY Is Gauteng water secure?


What stands in its way?



What does water mean to you?

1 Instrument – 12 Water Quality Parameters

HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth ® Portable pH/EC/OPDO ® Meter



Our sludge dewatering equipment is easy to install, operate and maintain, and is used in areas where skilled operators are difficult to find or sophisticated technologies are unaffordable.“ Giampiero Donida Head of Global Sales, Teknofanghi March/April 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 02

Leveraging the power of data To provide new information for making better system-level choices and recommendations. During pump operation, there is always the potential for failure. Motors seize, seals leak, stator windings short circuit—it’s the inevitable fate of any station. Take a more proactive approach to station diagnostics and streamline the maintenance experience with the MAS 801’s powerful predictive analytics tools.

VOL. 16 NO. 02

MARCH/APRIL 2021 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

WATER SECURITY Is Gauteng water secure?


What stands in its way?



What does water mean to you?

1 Instrument – 12 Water Quality Parameters

HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth ® Portable pH/EC/OPDO ® Meter



Our sludge dewatering equipment is easy to install, operate and maintain, and is used in areas where skilled operators are difficult to find or sophisticated technologies are unaffordable.“ Giampiero Donida Head of Global Sales, Teknofanghi March/April 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 02

ON THE COVER The HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth Portable pH/EC/OPDO Meter is a product of Hanna Instruments’ philosophy to provide people with an easy-touse, common-sense approach to their testing needs – at an affordable price. P4


Editor’s comment Africa round-up Index to advertisers

Cover Story

1 Instrument – 12 Water Quality Parameters


CEO’s comment Chair’s comment YWP

Water Week

What does water mean to you? We need more than promises and rhetoric

Water, Waste & Energy Looking after the planet

Water Security

Is Gauteng water secure or is Day Zero looming? QFS opens Eastern Cape branch People-first public-private partnerships can help reach SDG 6


Impact on the ground

Hot Seat

Going global with sludge dewatering equipment


3 12 56 4



7 8 10 14 16

18 20 25











South Africa: before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic | Part 5

Pipelines & Leak Detection WC/WDM: Starting with the basics

Water & Wastewater Treatment Works The Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme Filter reduces microplastics in wastewater Building outfall sewers to last

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting – what stands in its way?


Sensors enhance wastewater treatment process Finding the best suited solution for unique applications Diesel level system in Transnet tugboats

32 36 39 43 45



46 49 50 53

Pumps & Valves

Restoration of Ezakheni pump station during lockdown New inline pumps for buildings



54 56

infrastructure news



Editor Kirsten Kelly


kirsten.kelly@3smedia.co.za Managing Editor Alastair Currie Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Designer Jaclyn Dollenberg Chief Sub-editor Tristan Snijders Contributors Lester Goldman, Derek Hazelton, Dan Naidoo, Niel Ramsay Louw, Jan Venter Operations & Production Manager Antois-Leigh Nepgen Production Coordinator Jacqueline Modise Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Printers Novus Print Montague Gardens Advertising Sales Hanlie Fintelman c +27 (0)67 756 3132 Hanlie.Fintelman@3smedia.co.za

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach 3S Media 46 Milkyway Avenue, Frankenwald, 2090 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 www.3smedia.co.za

ISSN: 1990 - 8857 Annual subscription: R330 (SA rate) subs@3smedia.co.za Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. All articles herein are

copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publishers. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Water Institute of Southern Africa or the publishers.

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



ith great excitement (and a little trepidation), I have assumed the position of editor for Water&Sanitation Africa. My first two months have been filled with interviews, reading, listening and writing about all things water. What is my key take-away so far? It has come as no surprise to find that South Africa faces significant water challenges, but it is thrilling to discover that there are solutions. And this is what WASA is: a platform to highlight problems in the water sector and to showcase solutions. As this is the ‘National Water Week’ issue, we decided to commemorate World Water Day by adopting its #Water2me campaign. WASA called upon individuals in the water industry to tell us: What does water mean to you? (read more on pages 14 and 15). Water is dignity While working on this edition, I constantly thought about the value of water. For me, water is dignity. It’s the dignity to keep myself and my house clean, to flush my toilet, and to cook my food. While interviewing environmental consultants around groundwater projects in the SADC region (pages 28 and 29), there was a discussion around water in relation to earning a living. The question was asked: How can you even think about earning a living when your basic needs are not met, and you have no access to water?

In our water security article (from page 20), it was mentioned that, as South Africa works towards SDG 6, we need to decrease water demand while increasing overall access to water. It is heartbreaking to discover that some schools have no water or sanitation facilities at all. We tend to focus on water and sanitation’s impact on one’s physical health, but what about one’s mental health? When a human being cannot access water or sanitation, as a country, we are telling that individual that they do not matter, that they have no worth. Everyone agrees that water is valuable, and so it justifies WISA’s call (on pages 7 and 8) for the professionalisation of key positions within the water sector. It is vitally important that the custodians of this precious resource are ethical and competent. In closing, I want to thank the engineers, scientists and academics who I have met so far for their warm welcome, and I look forward to meeting more ‘water warriors’ in the upcoming months. Please do not hesitate to contact me at kirsten.kelly@3smedia.co.za if you have any feedback or content suggestions.

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

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


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

HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth ® Portable pH/EC/OPDO ® Meter

Is Gauteng water secure?


What stands in its way?



What does water mean to you?

1 Instrument – 12 Water Quality Parameters

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


The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust, providing accurate and comparable circulation figures that protect the way advertising is traded. WASA is ABC audited and certified.


Our sludge dewatering equipment is easy to install, operate and maintain, and is used in areas where skilled operators are difficult to find or sophisticated technologies are unaffordable.“ Giampiero Donida Head of Global Sales, Teknofanghi March/April 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R55.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 02

M A R /A P R 2021




12 Water Quality Parameters The HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth Portable pH/EC/OPDO Meter is a product of Hanna Instruments’ philosophy to provide people with an easyto-use, common-sense approach to their testing needs – at an affordable price.


esigned to withstand harsh environmental conditions and ideal for field measurements, the HI98494 instrument is a waterproof combination of a portable, rugged meter and a digital probe.



The measure of how acidic/basic water is



Oxygen reduction potential



The water’s capability to pass electrical flow


Dissolved oxygen

The amount of oxygen in water



In °C



Probe measures a potential difference between the pH sample and a reference measured in units of millivolts


Absolute conductivity

A conductivity measurement without temperature compensation



The ability the water has to resist an electrical current, which is determined by the concentration of dissolved salts in the water


Total dissolved salts

Describes the inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter present



The saltiness or amount of salt dissolved in a body of water


Seawater sigma

The density at a given temperature


DO concentration

The concentration of dissolved oxygen

TABLE 1 The HI98494 monitors 12 water quality parameters – of which five are measured and seven calculated. Each parameter is fully configurable


MAR /APR 2021

The HI98494 allows for an easy one-point calibration of pH and EC sensors

Digital probe

The microprocessor-based intelligent probe (also called the HI7698494 sensor) comprises three sensors that are field replaceable, with auto-sensor direction and colour-coded caps: 1) Red – for pH and ORP measurements. 2) Blue – conductivity and all associated parameters. 3) Green – does DO measurements over long periods of time without the need for frequent calibration. The sensor also has a built-in temperature sensor and a removable protective shield. It is designed for a variety of water quality measurements both in situ and in active deployments in urban or natural waters. HI98494 has various probe cable lengths (4 m, 10 m, 20 m and 40 m) and the probe may be installed in a horizontal bank (fixed installation) or a vertical suspension (at a maximum depth of 20 m). Unlike probes that require a cable support for active deployments, the


The Hanna LAB App can transform your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch into a fully featured pH meter or a data management system when used in conjunction with a Hanna Instruments HALO pH probe and Bluetooth or HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth portable pH/EC/OPDO meter, respectively

The HI98494 has a multiparameter probe that is protected by a short, stainless steel, weighted protective shield. Its rugged design and weighted tip make it ideal for field use

Dual charging battery system

probe can be manually lowered and raised by the cable due to its superior strength. The digital probe is suitable for confined locations (air vaults, river intakes, vertical wells) and tanks. It can be used in open moving water locations, such as rivers, streams, ditches (farmland drainage) and conveyance canals as well as lakes, ponds, wetland basins, infiltration basins and bays.

Data quality

In order to achieve accurate data, the location where the HI98494 is placed must be accessible for the duration of the measurement. It is important to consider seasonal flooding, freezing and other acts of nature. The data quality is also dependent upon the site location, service intervals, amount of coatings, sedimentation and vegetation, as well as the actual installation. To protect the equipment, one must avoid exposure to wind, sun, foam, turbulence, air temperature gradients, extended periods of high flow, extended periods of high sediment, and floating debris.

Fitted with a rechargeable Li-ion battery and backup alkaline batteries to extend field use, the HI98494 has approximately 200 hours of use with the AA batteries (without Bluetooth or backlight) and 50 hours of use with the Li-ion battery (without Bluetooth or backlight).

Other features

The HI98494 meter has a good laboratory practice (GLP) feature whereby the last five calibrations are saved automatically. There is also a log-on-demand and an automatic logging feature that can log up to 45 000 samples for all parameters. A graphical display of the logged data can be viewed on the meter’s backlit LCD screen. The meter meets IP67 standards (30-minute immersion at a depth of 1 m) and the multisensor probe is totally sealed against water and dust, and meets the IP68 standard (continuous immersion in water).

Hanna LAB App

The HI98494 offers the ability to connect wirelessly to a smart device running the Hanna LAB App. All logged data and files can be downloaded to the Hanna LAB App on a smart device by using Bluetooth or a PC via a USB cable. The data logs can be retrieved through the The microprocessor-based intelligent probe (also called the HI7698494 sensor) comprises three sensors that are field replaceable, with auto-sensor direction and colour-coded caps

app and sent via email or downloaded to a smart device for review. The app is available via Google Play for Android devices or at the Apple Store for iPhones, iPads and Macs. The app can also transform an iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch into a full featured

All logged data and files can be downloaded to the Hanna LAB App on a smart device by using Bluetooth or a PC via a USB cable

pH meter or a data management system when used in conjunction with a Hanna Instruments HALO® pH probe and Bluetooth or HI98494 Multiparameter Bluetooth portable pH/EC/OPDO meter, respectively.

www.hanna.co.za M A R /A P R 2021




Compact 80 GHz level sensor with in-head display

All advantages of the radar technology:



Professionalisation will drive accountability Dr Lester Goldman,

This year, WISA will focus on driving the professionalisation of key jobs as well as increase the level of professionalism within our industry. By Dr Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA


ttorneys, doctors and engineers are classic examples of professionalisation. They require extensive training and have formal barriers to entry (a degree, pass a bar exam, be registered with a professional body like LSSA, HPSA and ECSA). They can claim to perform work that people outside the profession cannot do (represent a client in court, operate on a patient, approve a structural design). If they behave unprofessionally, they risk being deregistered as an attorney, doctor or engineer, and will no longer be able to work in that occupation.

Professionalisation is a means to protect the public

Professionalisation standardises the education and training required for an occupation. This means that the public can at least anticipate the standard of


the service provided. Professionalising key positions within the water sector will ensure that the right person is in the right job and once they are in that job, they are professional. It will narrow down nepotism and political appointments. This can be done by simply identifying key legislation that needs to be changed. I am in no way advocating a guillotine approach. There are people in posts that are highly competent with no qualifications. In those cases, we can use the RPL (recognition of prior learning) process with the professional bodies.

Professional bodies and rogue members

A key way the public can hold a person within our industry accountable is if they belong to a professional body. A professional body such as WISA looks after the professional needs and reputation of its members. If the actions of one of our members lack integrity and tarnish the reputation of our industry and profession, we are obliged to act. Like most professional bodies, WISA does not have capacity for investigations, so we can only act once the member has been prosecuted or an external investigation or report has been completed. By removing rogue members from our professional bodies, we influence the recruitment and appointment

process. That rogue member may have been found guilty in court and issued a fine but will still be eligible to work somewhere else in a similar position. However, if rogue members are removed from professional bodies – and registration with a professional body is a prerequisite for certain occupations – they will never practise that occupation again. WISA will become involved in sector discussions and processes to improve professionalisation and professionalism.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROFESSIONALISATION AND PROFESSIONALISM Professionalisation This is a social process where an occupation transforms itself into a true ‘profession of the highest integrity and competence’. When an occupation is professionalised, certain criteria (education, training, experience and knowledge) must be met. Professionalism Someone who exhibits professionalism is essentially doing a good job in providing a social service that is valued and useful.

M A R /A P R 2021




D Dan Naidoo, chair, WISA

The recent ruling by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on the flow of raw sewage into the Vaal Dam, private homes and public areas highlighted a lack of accountability in the water sector. By Dan Naidoo, chair, WISA

espite having the ability to do so, it did not appear to the commission that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) had been able to hold the municipality accountable for causing sewage pollution in terms of section 19 of the National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998) and section 28(2) of the National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998),” said the commission. Furthermore, the SAHRC found that this lack of accountability also extended to service providers who did not deliver on work they were contracted to do. “The municipality did not provide any evidence of termination and claim breach where service providers did not deliver. This amounted to another avenue of wastage of resources.”

Constitutional rights

how important it is to have a fully functioning, effective local government. When local government fails and there is no accountability, basic services fail, and our constitutional rights are violated. The SAHRC’s report stated that the impact of the sewage discharge, occurring over more than five years at the time of writing, violated a number of constitutional rights: • human dignity • freedom and security of the person • an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being • property • healthcare • food • water • social security • just administrative action • c hildren to be protected from maltreatment and degradation. It is incredibly sad to see the SAHRC

This ruling by the SAHRC emphasises, yet again,

Dan Naidoo, chair, WISA


MAR /APR 2021


get involved with these water and sanitation issues when public servants fail to deliver. Due to the critical importance of water as a basic human right, it is essential that accountable, technically equipped and professional people are placed within key government posts.


Professionalisation is the action or process of giving an occupation, activity or group professional qualities, typically by increasing training or raising required qualifications. The professionalisation of key water posts within government and waterrelated institutions will end this lack of accountability. When we look at public servants – people who are working in SOEs, water boards, municipalities and government departments – we need to reflect on the skills, experience and capacity required to execute the requirements of these key portfolios. What training

and skills related to these portfolios did the incumbents have? If key waterrelated posts are professionalised, then at least there is a minimum technical requirement in terms of qualification, proven experience and competency. But more than that, the professionalisation of the water industry will create caring, ethical leadership. We need public servants who are technically competent and can conduct their work in an ethical way – showing care for the environment and the public. This is the type of professionalism that WISA wants to drive – all-rounded professionals who are both skilled (as engineers/scientists) but behave in an ethical and caring way and can take our water industry into the next phase and get us out of where we sit now. WISA, like other professional bodies, will have oversight of registered water professionals and will be able to discipline and expel any members who do not abide by the professional code

of conduct. The negative actions (or inaction) of water professionals have a vast impact on our planet and society. Water joins all the dots of the built environment. The people who are responsible for looking after it, preserving it and sustaining it for future generations need to be ethical and caring. Over and above the required technical skills and educational requirements, water professionals need to be service-oriented to the public and environment. We should never be faced with a court ruling that forces us to do our jobs. The water sector has the skills – we have brilliant scientists and engineers. But we have allowed the Vaal Dam to be polluted, infrastructure to fail, and certain areas to have no water at all. How have we allowed this degradation to happen? As custodians of a precious resource, we should ask ourselves every day: “What more can we do (or not do) to make sure that we conduct our duties in a professional manner?”

Missed the #WISA2020 conference?

Need CPD points? Register now,and you will have access to presentations on demand until 31 May 2021.


ith over 200 presentations to choose from, the on-demand capabilities give you the opportunity to pause, fast-forward and rewind – at your leisure! If you register now, you’ll get access to all the presentations on demand until the

end of May. And with over 200 sessions to choose from, you truly are spoiled for choice. Some of the featured presenters and presentations include: • Daniel Silke, a leading commentator, on South African, African and global political and economic landscapes warning of the

Earn up to 6 CPD points (endorsed by WISA, ECSA and SACNASP) Delegate fees (excl. VAT): • WISA member: R4 975 • Non-member: R5 350 • Student: R1 875

“perfect storm” facing South Africa in the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic • Mark Bannister, chief engineer: Water Services and Local Water Management, on Ways to meet the challenges of SDG 6 • Ashton Mofu, GreenCape water analyst, on The investment opportunities in the water sector • John Okedi, a core member of the Future Water Institute, on The unharvested potential of stormwater • Virginia Molose, research manager at the Water Research Commission, on Community-led water services for multiple uses • Siyavule Pezulu, keynote speaker, on Why water sector leaders need to make space for young professionals. M A R /A P R 2021



The water/ economic/social stability nexus As Cyclone Eloise retreats from the north of South Africa, it leaves in its wake the silver linings of renewed appreciation for traditionally sunny summers and, more importantly, overflowing dams. This makes it is easy to forget that water security remains a serious issue, even a threat to national security. By Niel Ramsay Louw, YWP-GP lead


his potential reality is thankfully not lost on our president, who made numerous commitments to the water industry in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February – each of which, if properly addressed, would result in a more water-secure future. The president spoke of: • the structural economic reforms of Operation Vulindlela and its specific commitments to finalise water licence applications within 90 days • the revival of the Blue and Green Drop reports • the implementation of a revised raw water pricing strategy and the acceleration of the establishment of a National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency • further commitments to address inadequate and inconsistent service delivery in areas such as water provision, as well as water infrastructure construction and maintenance.


MAR /APR 2021

social stability


These commitments reiterate much of what was also highlighted at the recent WISA 2020 virtual conference held in December.

Water security – a critical component of national security

We need to formally acknowledge the deep and structural interdependency between economics and social security, despite the clear and often discussed impacts the various sectors have on each other. Within the context of political science, it is agreed upon that national security comprises seven dimensions that need to be secured and defended as part of the duty of a national government: 1) Physical security 2) Infrastructure security 3) Computer security 4) Political security 5) Economic security 6) Ecological security 7) Energy and natural resource security. While water security is not specifically mentioned as one of the seven dimensions, it is apparent that water security would fall under ecological security (also known as environmental security). However, as is the case with the well-known and commonly accepted water-energy-food nexus, water should not solely be viewed as an isolated dimension of national security, but rather as a critically interlinked element that also affects – and is affected by – another two of the other seven dimensions of national security: economic and political security. Note that political security is referred to within the context of political science. Authors Barry Buzan and Ole Weaver argue that political security is the ‘stability of social order’, hence it will be referred to as social stability for the rest of the article.


While water security is a critical component relating to social security, the water-food-energy nexus is an undeniably crucial component of South Africa’s economy. Additionally, the World Economic Forum has flagged ‘adequate and reliable water supply’ as one of the primary concerns when investing in South Africa. The impact of water security on social stability is also becoming more apparent, especially within the South African context. In the last 10 years, there has been an exponential rise in protests against the lack of water and sanitation service delivery. A lack of water and sanitation delivery is one of the three biggest reasons for protests – after electricity and housing. These protests often turn violent and destructive, causing further damage to the infrastructure. It is highly likely that water and sanitation service delivery woes will become one of the largest instigators of societal destabilisation. However, while water security can positively or negatively influence economic and social stability, what is talked about less often is the influence that economic and social stability in turn have over water security. There is no policymaking process that highlights the clear and explicit conceptualisation of these three dimensions of national security as an interlinked and interdependent trifecta akin to the water/food/energy nexus.

The nexus

To give an example of the interconnectedness of water, economic and social stability, consider the following stepby-step scenario that draws on the current realities within South Africa:

WISA • Y WP 1) A  weak level of national water security negatively affects: a. E  conomic security by lowering the appetite for local and international investment due to an inadequate and unreliable water supply. b. S  ocial stability as numerous water service delivery issues lead to increasingly numerous and more destructive protest action. 2) In turn, a lower level of economic security negatively affects: a. Water security, as reduced economic activity results in reduced fiscal budget to address infrastructural and service delivery deficits within the public water sector. b. S  ocial stability, as reduced economic activity results in increased unemployment and subsequent increases in protest action and crime. 3) L  astly, as social stability decreases, it negatively affects: a. W  ater security, as an increasingly despondent citizenry resorts to illegally syphoning water from the national water network as well as targeting water infrastructure with greater destructive protest action.

b. Economic security, as investors are hesitant to invest in a socially unstable climate characterised by high levels of crime, protests and political dissatisfaction. This highlights how and why these three dimensions, with water security being a critical component, interact with each other within the context of national security, and how easily a downward spiral of negative reactions can be realised. It also raises awareness of the idea that none of these three dimensions are isolated and that they all need to be addressed in tandem to secure the entire nexus. This is especially true when all three dimensions are already in a weakened state, as is the case in South Africa. In an ideal scenario, where all three dimensions are already adequately secured, then an external shock on one dimension (like a prolonged drought on water security) can be quickly and adequately addressed by the other two. This is because a healthy economy is able to easily and substantially invest in more water infrastructure, while a stable society is willing and able to compromise with an acceptance of temporary water service delivery issues

while heeding the call to be more water conscious, at least in the short term. However, when all three dimensions are already compromised, the task of securing the whole nexus becomes much more difficult, as all three dimensions need to be effectively secured at the same time to prevent an increasingly devastating downwards spiral. It is now time that we place water security at the centre of our economic recovery and poverty eradication. South Africa needs to address all the critical issues that threaten our water security and socio-economic development. While the ideas represented in this article might be self-evident for some, if not most, it is my hope that, when we celebrate World Water Day, the South African water sector and government will actively start planning and implementing within a framework that is explicitly cognisant of a water/economic/social stability nexus (or a version thereof). If words and ideas have power, then a well-structured and conceptualised framework has the ability to exponentially increase that power by giving concrete meaning and formalisation of thought to those words and ideas.


– diving into 2021


ISA has launched online training courses to make earning Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points easy for time-constrained water professionals. The Institute has invested in an online learning management system that provides courses for learners to complete at their own pace, thereby allowing for more flexibility with regard to time management. “What sets WISA apart from other training providers is that all of our training courses are accredited for CPD points. This ensures that the quality of the courses

presented to the sector is verified and of the highest standard,” explains Anita Pillay, manager: Training and Accreditation, WISA. WISA also offers courses to organisations looking to upskill their staff as well as provide in-house training. Customised training courses can also be developed according to a company’s needs. All of the course presenters and training facilitators are experts in their respective fields and form a part of WISA’s membership base. “During 2021, WISA aims to provide much-needed training within the sector – through collaborative partnerships, innovative approaches and a wide range of high-quality topics and presenters. Should you require more information regarding training at WISA, please feel free to contact me at training@wisa.co.za,” adds Pillay.

Anita Pillay, manager: Training and Accreditation, WISA

WISA offers a variety of technical courses, as well as courses aimed at softer skills and leadership. Here are some of the courses on offer: • Sustainable operation and maintenance of water treatment plants • Management of domestic wastewater sludge • Advanced water control • Fundamentals of modern leadership • Advanced wastewater treatment • Anaerobic digestion of municipal wastewater sludge • Energy efficiency audit of municipal wastewater treatment works • Emerging pollutants • Catchment management • Water governance

M A R/ A P R 2021


Water and sanitation in Africa Near Kagoro, Nyanza Province, Kenya, a woman fills yellow water containers with stream water for a building site

KENYA 9.4 million Kenyans drink from contaminated water sources

KENYA Boosting access to water and sanitation During a recent visit to France, the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, signed finance agreements for the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project (LVWATSAN), which aims to improve access to water and sanitation in Kisumu. This paves the way for the implementation of the LVWATSAN, which is financed with a €20 million (R372 million) concessional loan from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a €35 million (R651 million) concessional loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a €5 million (R93 million) grant from the EU. The Government of Kenya will also provide counterpart financing to the project amounting to €10 million (R186 million). The project will expand the water and sanitation distribution network in Kisumu, including to informal settlements, and expand water supply


MAR /APR 2021

to the satellite towns of Ahero and Maseno. There will also be a component for water quality monitoring for Lake Victoria, aimed at protecting this shared regional water resource and ensuring a more efficient water treatment process. In Kenya’s third largest city, Kisumu, the close proximity of Lake Victoria does not automatically ensure access to clean water for the 800 000 residents. The lake currently experiences significant levels of pollution owing to the inadequacy of sanitation infrastructure. The city’s water and sanitation network will now benefit from significant extension thanks to this new financing from the AFD, EIB and EU, and thus help cover the population’s needs until 2030. “We are happy that, with the signing of this agreement, over 30 000 households will benefit from improved sanitation and more than 15 000 households will benefit from additional connection to the water supply grid,” says Simon Mordue, ambassador for the EU to Kenya.

This is according to the WHO and Unicef WASH joint monitoring programme report (2019), which found that only 59% of Kenyans have access to basic water services and only 29% have access to sanitary services. Rapid urbanisation has pushed poor urban dwellers to the slums, where there is no water or sanitation, and overcrowding exacerbates the already hazardous health conditions. Water pathogens are a huge health problem in Kenya, and its people are unprotected against sporadic epidemics such as cholera and parasitic worms. The rate of exposure is extremely high because the water is not only contaminated at basins and pumps where it is collected, but the containers used to store water are often previously used to store oil, fertiliser or wastes – further contaminating the water. When people can’t access safe water sources at an affordable rate, either because the facility is broken or the water tariffs are too high, the coping strategies are often catastrophic. Most people in rural areas will end up using unsafe water sources like surface ponds when it rains. In urban contexts, when the government fails to assure the delivery of safe water at affordable rates, the poor end up accessing water from unregulated informal vendors and cartels that provide it at extortionary prices. Simon Thomas, an international consultant and board member of Megapipes Solutions, believes that building and maintaining water infrastructure is key: “We will succeed in improving the health of the nation by giving Kenyans access to water and sanitation. This can only be done by infrastructure construction.”

AFRICA ROUND-UP Word from around Africa – including the latest industry, project and development news.

MOZAMBIQUE Communities devastated by Eloise On 23 January, Cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique – bringing powerful winds, torrential rain and severe flooding. The storm damaged and destroyed farmland, vital infrastructure and thousands of homes. Some roads

in central Mozambique are now impassable, hindering access to some villages and hampering efforts to bring much-needed assistance. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of hectares of crops have been flooded, which could impact the next harvest in April. In addition, the potential outbreak of waterborne diseases

like diarrhoea and cholera is a major worry, especially among affected and displaced children. According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 176 000 people – including up to 90 000 children – have been affected, with several thousand displaced.

UGANDA New water treatment plant in Katosi The new National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) water treatment plant, which is under construction in Katosi, Mukono district, Uganda, is expected to boost water supply in at least three districts by the end of March. According to Dr Silver Mugisha, managing director, NWSC, the demand for water from the wider public is bigger than what NWSC is presently supplying: “A total of 300 million litres of water are needed to satisfy the demand, yet right now NWSC is providing 240 million litres.” He believes that Transebel, a consultancy from Germany, and French contractor Sogea Sotem will complete the works on time.


To commemorate World Water Day, Water&Sanitation Africa calls upon leaders in the water industry to tell us...

What does water mean to you?


Water is not only the very first human right but a necessity for economic growth and sustainability. The need for clean water is essential for any civilisation’s progress. Just as chlorine in 1903 made a big difference to water security, so desalination is playing a big role in water sustainability today. Herman Smit | Owner, Quality Filtration Systems

Water is vital to life – without it, we cannot exist. Yet, the water sector is largely unknown. I joined the water sector because I found this paradoxical, and hope to positively change and grandstand the sector and its excellent people. A small way, together, we can improve our countr y. Dr Lester Goldman | CEO, WISA

People take water for granted but are never sure when nature will deliver it. They want to protect our water resources but also to use them. Water professionals must share our understanding of the challenges and build support for actions that will ensure that all have the water security that we need. Mike Muller | Board Director: Technical Committee Chair, WISA

Water is important. It fulfils the primary needs for life. We drink it; it lets plants grow, which are needed for oxygen and vegetables to eat. Water is compulsory for hygiene. Water can also be our enemy. Think of tsunamis, heavy rain – resulting in flooding – and high groundwater levels in lower countries. Martijn Smit | Commercial Director, Keller

MAR /APR 2021

Simply put, water means life. There can be nothing more fundamentally important than this precious resource. With water being a scarce resource and the most critical catalyst for industrialisation, its security is paramount. Without it, our sustainable development aspirations are but a pipe dream. Dr Harrison Pienaar | Research Group Leader: Hydrosciences, CSIR; Associate Professor: Hebei University of Engineering; President, ChinAfrica Water Association; Board Director: Technical Committee Chair, WISA

Water is at the heart of sustainable human settlements and is the key to the quality of life we seek the world over. This need drives my passion and contributions for a better quality of life for all in our country. Dan Naidoo | Senior Manager: Strategic Support, Umgeni Water; Chairman, WISA

I am a firm believer that water is life. I chose to work in the water industry at Zutari to make an impact on environments, communities and economies. Working with water helps me to create a world that provides safe, secure, healthy, productive and sustainable life for all earth’s inhabitants. Mpho Ramphao | Head: Water, Zutari

For me, there is nothing more essential or basic than water. It is the foundation of life and a precondition for our existence. Water is the universal solvent and our most precious commodity. It is thirst-quenching, cleansing, refreshing, fun and so much more. Fresh, clean water should never be taken for granted and no one should have to be without it. Wendy Mey | Member, Jonati Environmental Services; Innovations for Water Supply & Sanitation Division Lead, WISA

#Water2me is energy. In every personal water use – whether drinking, cooking or bathing – water contributes to the replenishment of my physical, mental and emotional energy. Gideon Bonthuys | Water Resources Engineer, Golder; Gauteng Branch Finance Lead, WISA

They say water is life and no truer words have ever been spoken for me. Water is an integral part of my life, whether it be to stay healthy, clean or even just to be able prepare a meal. Clean and safe water is necessary for my survival. Dr Tracy Muwanga | Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pretoria

A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE SUCCESS ROCLA is South Africa’s leading manufacturer of pre-cast concrete products. Surpassing 100 years of product excellence.

Water is a life force underpinning human society and its development. Hydrologists are the ‘generals’ in the ongoing war to manage water resources. We have taken up the challenge of protecting water as a national treasure, facing current and future battles to ensure water sustainability for all South Africans. Peter Shepherd | Partner and Principal Hydrologist, SRK Consulting

• • • • • • •

Pipes Culverts Manholes Poles Retaining walls Roadside furniture Sanitation

Including other related products within infrastructure development and related industries. Water and life are synonymous with each other. The vast majority of animals and plants are composed of water. A large component of space exploration looks at the availability of water on other planets, as it is essential to life. It therefore needs to be protected and conserved. Sudhir Pillay | Research Manager: Sanitation, WRC

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We need more than promises and rhetoric

South Africa’s National Water Week campaign takes place between 15 and 22 March, with the aim of educating the public about their responsibility in water conservation initiatives and raising awareness around the need to protect and conserve the country’s water resources. By Jan Venter


MAR /APR 2021


hile SAPPMA (Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association) applauds and supports the idea behind the campaign, its focus and impact should stretch much further than merely educational purposes. More than ever before, it needs to stimulate authorities into action. South Africa is facing a water catastrophe that has been years in the making. Here are some frightening facts and figures: • The mean average rainfall for our country is only 495 mm per year – compared to the equivalent world figure of 860 mm. Roughly 21% of our country receives less than 200 mm precipitation per annum. • South Africa has less than 2 000 m3 of water per person per year,

compared to 15 000 m3 in the USA. This is exacerbated by a massive and unplanned influx of people from all over Africa, which places severe stress on our resources. Dr Anthony Turton, professor in the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State, predicts that South Africa will need 1.6 times the amount of water than will naturally be available by 2030. • More than 50% of South Africa’s wetlands, known as nature’s water filters, have been lost. Of those that remain, 33% are in poor ecological condition. • According to the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan that was released in 2018, 56% of wastewater plants and 44% of water treatment works are in a poor or critical condition; 11% are completely dysfunctional. Three quarters of the water pumped back into rivers by municipal treatment plants has not been properly treated and contains harmful pathogens.


“The message of SAPPMA during this year’s Water Week is therefore an urgent appeal to government to give water and sewage infrastructure the high priority it deserves… so that we can secure our water supply for future generations.” Jan Venter, CEO of SAPPMA • Due to pollution, only 47% of our water bodies have good quality water, compared to Zimbabwe, which currently sits at 76%. • More than a third (about 35%) of the properly treated water that is finding its way back into distribution systems is lost due to theft or leakage due to poor infrastructure. This amounts to approximately 1 660 million m3 per year. In 2013, Trevor Balzer, in his position as acting director general of the Department of Water Affairs, stated that South Africa would need about R700 billion over the next 10 to 15 years to refurbish the nation’s water infrastructure and improve the supply situation. A year earlier, Edna Molewa, then the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, raised the possibility of attracting funds from foreign investors for the maintenance of the ageing water infrastructure, hinting at the possibility of partial privatisation of some treatment plants. Today, almost a decade later, the government’s National and Sanitation Master Plan states that R33 billion per year for the next 10 years will be required to achieve water security. Although we have heard many statements and promises made over the

past few years, we have unfortunately seen very little action.

Electricity and water crises linked

Our current electricity crisis is characterised by power cuts or load-shedding, which has become a regular occurrence. As a nation, we have adapted to this situation by way of standby generators, investing in solar panels or simply better planning our activities. Not many people realise, however, that there is a definite interdependence between water and energy. Water is required to generate electricity, while a large portion of electricity is used to pump and distribute water. The cost and availability of electricity at present is therefore a big stumbling block to desalinate sea water, which would anyway only be economically available in coastal areas (estimated at 2 kWh/m3). Interrupted water supply will be catastrophic and clearly a totally different ball game to interrupted electricity supply.

Plastic pipes

Plastic pipes are dominant in secondary water distribution and SAPPMA represents more than 80% of all certified pipes produced in South Africa.

Jan Venter, CEO of the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (SAPPMA)

We are therefore a key role player in water. Since we are a non-profit organisation, we work not only for the well-being of the plastics pipe industry, but also for the welfare of the people of the country. SAPPMA is responsible for ensuring that the piping systems used in our country’s water distribution are designed, produced and installed in the best possible manner and in accordance with international and national standards. We make sure that plastic pipes have a long-term and leak-free life. The message of SAPPMA during this year's Water Week is therefore an urgent appeal to government to give water and sewage infrastructure the high priority it deserves. We urge the department to only appoint people with the necessary engineering skills and experience into positions of authority and allow private industry to form partnerships with our public enterprises, so that we can secure our water supply for future generations.


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• poor soil conditions • fluctuating temperatures • earthquakes • areas subject to sinkholes It is vital for buried pipes to have an element of flexibility. Rigid pipes that do not flex are unable to accommodate changing ground conditions and are likely to crack, split or become disjointed. Gaps formed at the pipe joints compromise flow performance and allow leakage. As soon as that happens, those pipes are no longer performing as intended, but in fact are failures*. * https://www.teppfa.eu/DynamicGroundMovementsReport

Plastic pipes are inherently flexible and therefore perform very well when the subsoil moves.


LOOKING AFTER THE PLANET Building the circular economy is an essential component in meeting the UN’s 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). WASA speaks to Chris Braybrooke, GM: Marketing, Veolia Water Technologies South Africa, about the group’s SDGaligned Impact 2023 Strategy, plus Veolia’s local expansion into the energy and waste segments. What are the key challenges facing the water sector? CB To start on a positive note, it’s important to state that, for every challenge, there are opportunities for improvement. In Veolia’s case, that philosophy has sustained our growth since 1853; however, the onset of climate change has made modern-day challenges far more complex, and their interventions more urgent. In South Africa’s case, the poor state of water and sanitation infrastructure adds a further complexity, compounded by declining operations and maintenance (O&M) skills, and shrinking budgets. The unprecedented increase in urbanisation then threatens to overwhelm the capacity of existing water and wastewater treatment works. The increasing risk

for rural areas is that they get left even further behind as government places greater priority on addressing urban service backlogs. Can public-private partnerships (PPPs) help? Definitely. Veolia operates PPPs worldwide and has been instrumental in launching landmark projects. Local examples include our 46 Mℓ/day wastewater reuse plant in partnership with eThekwini Municipality. Here, domestic sewage is converted into industrial water for sale to a paper manufacturer and petrochemical producer. Effectively, we’re taking wastewater and turning it into a value-added product, plus our clients pay less than 50% of the normal water tariff for the treated water. Everyone benefits: Veolia has a successful business enterprise;

A mobile potable water purification unit from Veolia

Chris Braybrooke, GM: Marketing, Veolia Water Technologies South Africa

eThekwini did not have to incur the cost of building and maintaining a potable water treatment plant, since this plant frees up 46 Mℓ/day, which can then be redeployed for communities; and the environment scores from a water reuse perspective. Another example is our 15-year O&M contract for Overstand Municipality in the Western Cape. The client benefits from the fact that they can plan ahead in terms of financial costs over this period. Veolia also provides ongoing technical training for municipal plant personnel to ensure they keep up to date with Veolia’s vast experience in this environment. The South African Infrastructure Fund places major emphasis on crowding in private sector investment. PPPs and special-purpose vehicles (SPVs) are an essential part of the solution. The priority now is to accelerate PPP implementation. Currently, it’s not uncommon for a PPP to take five or more years to transition from prefeasibility to actual implementation. We no longer have the luxury of time in responding to the threats of water scarcity, water security and allied environmental pollution.

How will Impact 2023 make a difference? The Impact 2023 Strategy refines Veolia’s complete solutions commitment to its stakeholders globally. As group CEO Antoine Frérot stated, “A company is prosperous because it is useful; not the other way around.” Veolia is an undisputed technology leader. However, Impact 2023 demonstrates that Veolia’s commitment to society is far greater than this. Impact 2023 aligns Veolia’s multifaceted performance model with the UN’s SDGs, against which all Veolia business units are measured in terms of agreed key performance indicators (KPIs). Veolia KPIs are audited annually by external agencies leading up to and including the year 2023. Prior to Impact 2023, Veolia was already working directly and indirectly in 13 of the 17 SDGs. Now, we are committed to making an impact in these 13 goals. The five segments of the Impact 2023 cycle, or wheel, are environmental, commercial, economic and financial, human resources, and societal performance. It’s a two-way model, where we apply Impact 2023 to empower our employees to optimise client efficiencies, skills and profit margins.


How will Veolia expand its local business to include waste and energy? We’re well known locally as a water and wastewater solutions provider across all industries. Going into 2021, we are now expanding this to include the group’s integrated energy and waste technology suites. These are strongly linked to water use, reuse and conservation. Veolia recently acquired Dolphin Coast Landfill Management, a hazardous waste facility, where we’ve invested in new technologies. Further opportunities will open up, either via acquisition or growth. In the food and beverage industry, for

example, Veolia has designed and commissioned plants globally where organic waste is converted into biogas for applications that include electricity or heat generation. The same principle has been successfully applied in the wastewater segment. Essentially, we create closed circuits that promote resource recycling and advance the circular economy. In addition to this, Veolia invests in waste recycling programmes through skills development and job creation initiatives. Our participation in the Baobab project in Durban, which includes plastic recycling, is a good example. Here, unemployed community

members have been trained to produce saleable products that include PPE and face masks. We’d like to expand this initiative nationally. Why should the market engage with Veolia? The group has some 350 registered technologies that can be harnessed to build custom-designed or modular, plug-and-play systems. We’ve also invested in digital technologies, like Hubgrade – a remote monitoring management tool that enables plants in all industries to run optimally and extend their lifespan. The advent of Impact 2023 further refines our services and total

solutions mandate within the context of the circular economy. And in closing? The private sector and government are engaging more; however, we need to speed up the process of PPP implementation. Local and international investors are standing by. We just need an enabling environment. That’s Veolia’s philosophy for Impact 2023.

www.veoliawatertechnologies.co.za M A R/ A P R 2021



Is Gauteng water secure or is Day Zero looming?

Discussing water scarcity in Gauteng, especially after heavy rains due to Cyclone Eloise, may seem odd, but water security is a complex subject and South Africans have cause for concern. By Kirsten Kelly


henever I have presented on or talked about water security, it usually rains. And it is awfully hard to convince people that we have a water-security problem when it is raining,” states Gillian Maree, senior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO). Maree is an urban planner – specialising in sustainability, environmental management and spatial planning – with a specific interest in water and biodiversity. When Cape Town was experiencing the possibility of a ‘Day Zero’, the GCRO was approached by the Gauteng Provincial Government to help them understand whether Day Zero is likely for Gauteng and, if so, how can they avoid it. To answer these questions, Gillian, together with other water specialists, created the Water Security Perspective for the Gauteng City-Region document.


MAR /APR 2021

A complex issue

Water security is defined as the reliable availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for health, livelihoods, ecosystems and production, coupled with an acceptable level of water-related risks to people, environments and economies. “Looking at the risk part of the definition: if you are living in Alexandra or parts of Centurion that are prone to flooding, I would argue that you are not water secure at this point. Therefore, when we approach water security, we need to look at the entire water cycle. It is very difficult to give an absolute answer to the question, ‘Are we water secure?’ This is because of water security’s expansive definition,” explains Maree. Another complexity is the unequal access to water. Gauteng can only claim to be water secure when all its residents have affordable access to safe and reliable water supplies, as well as to safely managed and dignified sanitation services. As this is essential for people’s

health and dignity, it is important to expand access to water while also reducing water demand. “The approach taken must be just, fair and pro-poor, and ensure that no one is left out. In South Africa’s unequal society, water users who normally enjoy high levels of service must be the first to make water savings in times of stress,” says Maree. Due to Gauteng’s dense and urban city region, a high number of people do have access to water, but it is the reliability of water services that poses an issue. Some water services are unable to cope with large population densities and the water infrastructure fails. Many poorer communities experience weekly breaks in water services, meaning that they do not have any water security.

Finite amount of water in the IVRS (Integrated Vaal River System)

According to Maree, a lot of Gauteng’s water problems are location-based: “Gauteng sits on top of a watershed, so the bulk of our water drains out of the Vaal catchment and not into it. Compounding this problem is the fact that we have the smallest province by land area with largest population concentration and economy. So, despite good rainfall forecasts in Gauteng, there is a finite amount of water in the IVRS and an ever-increasing demand placed on the system with a growing population and expanding economy.” Water Security Perspective for the Gauteng City-Region states that the overall water demand for the Rand Water supply area (which covers most of Gauteng) is currently around 1 600 Mm3/annum. And 1 600 Mm3/annum is the limit that Rand Water is licensed by the Department of Water and Sanitation to withdraw from the IVRS. This means that every person in Gauteng has roughly 270 litres per day (based on Rand Water’s estimates of the total supply provided and the population served). With the Gauteng population growing at over 3% per year, it means that, every year, water needs to be supplied to over 400 000 additional people. To keep up with this population growth, we need to build a new water supply for a city the size of Soweto every five years. Gauteng has reached a point where its available bulk water supply is capped, but its population continues to grow.

“Water is everybody’s business and water security must be a collective effort and that involves all the Gauteng City-Region’s people. Their lives and livelihoods depend on a common system and their behaviour and actions will determine whether it can meet their needs.” Gillian Maree of the GCRO Without new supplies, consumption per person will have to be reduced from 300 litres per person per day in 2018 to 220 litres per person per day by 2028 to stay at a level that can safely be supplied. To achieve such a reduction will require an intensive water savings and demand management programme that may have to be supported by the imposition of formal restrictions. This programme will have to recognise that economic growth and improved living standards are likely to increase per capita water consumption.

Alternative water sources and tools for water conservation

One approach is investing in alternative water sources and tools for water conservation. “Rainwater harvesting is a popular choice. It reduces the amount of


Population based on growth rate of 3.07%

Water supplied (Mm3/a)

Maximum water consumption in litres per capita per day


14 717 040

1 600 000 000



15 16 8853

1 600 000 000



15 634 537

1 600 000 000



16 114 517

1 600 000 000



16 609 233

1 600 000 000



17 119 136

1 600 000 000



17 644 694

1 600 000 000



18 186 386

1 600 000 000



18 744 708

1 600 000 000



19 320 170

1 600 000 000



19 913 300

1 600 000 000


TABLE 1 Gauteng population and per capita water consumption


water drawn from public supplies, which could slightly reduce consumption from the overall system and enable reserves to be maintained. However, it cannot provide a significant supply source during the dry winter season nor if there is a severe drought. Some people also use boreholes.” Maree also highlights the important work around stormwater management: “As our cities build and densify, rivers are constrained and tend to flood into properties and cause damage. The City of Johannesburg has brought in a revised stormwater management by-law that takes a more holistic approach.” The development of wastewater reuse (based at existing treatment works) should also be considered. This will

“Even if we have regular Joburg thunderstorms, even if our dams are full, we will always have to work exceptionally hard to bring water into our province. Water security will always be on the agenda because there will always be more demand for water than what exists.” also contribute to an improvement of environmental water resource quality; however, it must be noted that there are downstream water users on both the Vaal and Crocodile rivers that depend on the flows of treated wastewater. The needs of these users will have to be considered in any application of reuse in Gauteng.

A balancing act between supply and demand

Maree states that, most importantly, we all need use water far more efficiently. “The Gauteng area receives half the average global rainfall. The average annual rainfall is only 495 mm compared to a world average of 1 033 mm; however, Gauteng uses nearly 50%


Percentage non-revenue water















Mogale City


Rand West City


TABLE 2 Level of non-revenue water reported per municipality (Source: Department of Water and Sanitation, (2018), Municipal Services Self-Assessment Programme 2016/7. [Unpublished])


MAR /APR 2021

(Credit: Clive Hassall)

more than the global average amount of water per capita. The average daily water use per capita in South Africa is 235 litres (270 litres in Gauteng) – this is substantially higher than the world average of 173 litres.”

Municipalities need to reduce physical losses from their distribution systems as well as unauthorised use that is not paid for. Non-revenue water needs to be managed from a city scale and there water should also be billed correctly. Social institutions and businesses need to reduce their water consumption by introducing efficiency measures and many households must also be encouraged to reduce their water use. Potable water should not be used to fill swimming pools and water gardens. And all water users must be prepared for restrictions at times of drought while urban planning needs to drive towards water-efficient cities. “A drought in Gauteng is going to happen, so we

Gillian Maree, senior researcher at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory

WHO IS THE GAUTENG CITY-REGION OBSERVATORY (GCRO)? The GCRO was established in 2008 as a par tnership between the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand and the Gauteng Provincial Government, with local government in Gauteng also represented on the GCRO Board. Gauteng has a fast-growing and dynamic urban region that – through improved planning, management and cooperative government

relations between the spheres and sections of government responsible for its par ts – will become more functionally integrated, spatially coherent, economically competitive, creative, innovative, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. The GCRO is tasked with building strategic intelligence that can assist provincial government with better planning, management and cooperative governance.


A diagram of urban watershed (Credit: GCRO)

need to implement measures to reduce demand and tightly manage the IVRS early. Government needs to make politically unpopular decisions in the short term before we end up in a situation that is difficult to recover from later. This is difficult within five-year political cycles, where we may make unpopular choices about water, but not necessarily reap the benefits in the short term. Furthermore, the water sector involves a complex system of institutions with different water-related mandates and stakeholders, which complicates its governance and management. Drought management requires different skill sets and expertise, and there must be coordination between these institutions,” explains Maree.

Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase II

LHWP Phase II is critical for Gauteng’s water security, which will see the IVRS expanded and strengthened by the

construction of the Polihali Dam on a tributary of the Orange-Senqu River. Maree maintains that until the project is completed, the province will be at risk of supply shortages if there is a prolonged dry period. Originally scheduled for completion by 2018, the LHWP is eight years late and if implemented immediately can now only be expected to supply water in 2028. This puts the province and surrounding IVRS region at significant risk if a serious drought occurs before the project is completed (which is likely).

Some good news Water Security Perspective for the Gauteng City-Region was work done at the request of the Gauteng Provincial

Government. “Numerous water specialists contributed to this work and government officials from various departments and water entities were present at nearly every meeting where water security was discussed. They made sure that we framed the document within an urban context. There are definite plans to implement the findings. This includes broader stakeholder engagement, but Covid-19 happened and has created challenges. There has certainly been a shift. Water is something that is now being taken much more seriously on high levels,” concludes Maree.


QFS opens Eastern Cape branch The tremendous need for water treatment services in the Eastern Cape has prompted QFS to open a branch in the area.


he Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted that the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions is essential for protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks. QFS is committed to being part of the solution. We will be working with Eastern Cape municipalities to assist them in tackling the water crisis,” says Musa Ndlovu, managing director: Eastern Cape, QFS. Located in Port Alfred, the Eastern Cape branch tabled possible solutions to Ndlambe Municipality. “A water shortage is not only affecting Eastern Cape, but South Africa at large and QFS Eastern Cape believes that water has to be used to maximum capacity. We are currently implementing a 5 Mℓ/day plant that uses seawater and wastewater reuse,” adds Ndlovu. Wastewater reuse plants can be containerised for quick deployment




Groundwater (borehole)

Wastewater Reuse

10% Industrial Reuse Current Water Supply


Surface Water (rivers & dams)

Proposed Augmentation

Coastal town drought buster QFS has a vision of building waterresilient coastal towns through the implementation of a coastal town drought buster. This focuses on the augmentation of conventional water sources through desalination,

Groundwater extraction and desalination are interventions that can be implemented in water-scarce regions

wastewater reuse, industrial water reuse, groundwater and surface water. Inland drought buster With landlocked communities, QFS’s inland drought buster model will apply. Communities need to change the paradigm of wastewater management by recycling every drop. Ndlovu believes that these models will be part of the solution to building waterresilient communities in the Eastern Cape.



Groundwater (borehole)

Wastewater Reuse

10% Industrial Reuse

Current Water Supply


Surface Water (rivers & dams)

Proposed Augmentation

“As part of our vision, we also intend to train local people in the Eastern Cape to run technology-based water treatment plants. Our presence on the ground is meant to create real relationships with Eastern Cape communities and give municipalities the confidence that we are here to help them tackle water issues. We are looking forward to making a difference in the Eastern Cape, one community at a time.” M A R/ A P R 2021


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People-first public-private partnerships can help reach SDG 6 Great civilisations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Rome and China were built on severely enforced water management rules. While humanity is far more merciful now, South Africans still need a significant shift to address the seriousness of water conservation, as well as increased water demand.

By Zaid Railoun


everal historians believe that failures of water management were once the cause of collapse of several early civilisations. In Mesopotamia, if your neighbour’s field was flooded because you did not maintain your canal, you had to replace his crop, or your household goods were sold. The Egyptians were less sympathetic; allowing banks to weaken or deteriorate was punishable by death. These events should be a warning for South Africa and its lagging water

management and infrastructure issues. Over a third of our water supply is lost due to ageing and leaking infrastructure before it can even be used. The mismanagement of water infrastructure can result in economic water scarcity and affect the economic infrastructure of other sectors like mining, manufacturing, agriculture, education and health. Getting priorities straight So instead of revising the water law, rather prioritise the spade of work through improvised public-private partnerships (PPPs), regular maintenance of water infrastructure, take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and design and implement innovative treatment technologies for effective remediation. There are already good examples like direct sewage reuse and MLD (minimal liquid discharge) and ZLD (zero liquid discharge) from desalination activities in the AMD (acid mine drainage), which should be improved at the research and development level so that we as a country can benefit not only locally but internationally. The law is not the problem – the people governing and managing

Zaid Railoun, analyst: Water sector and Infrastructure, Investment Fund Africa

water are the problem. Politicians tend to blame the unpredictable weather and use this as a distraction when talking about past failures. South Africans need a significant shift to address the seriousness of water conservation, as well as increased water demand. Government and the private sector need to develop effective policies and sustainable solutions under our current demanding conditions. People-first PPPs are a necessity. By ensuring that out of all stakeholders, ‘people’ are on the top, the focus is on improving the quality of life of the communities, particularly those that are fighting poverty. This is done by creating local and sustainable jobs and, most importantly, access to water. People-first PPPs must expand in scale, speed and spread, with more people having access to better services at affordable prices. We have a long way to go to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aimed at ensuring access to basic drinking water for all by 2030 and our ‘own’ 2025 problem – our time is running out; our time is now. Our hope is for the new National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency to be more transformable and not transactional, as we are accustomed to.



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S Impact on the ground SRK Consulting was awarded an open tender by the South African Development Community Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) to design a new five-year programme and create an environmental and social management framework. By Kirsten Kelly

Drilling of a highyielding borehole


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ADC-GMI’s core mandate is to promote sustainable groundwater management and provide solutions to groundwater challenges across the SADC region. Darryll Kilian, partner and principal environmental consultant at SRK Consulting, says that he was excited to work on this project because of the value it would bring: “According to SADC-GMI, 70% of the 250 million people living in Southern African countries rely on groundwater as their primary source. This is especially prevalent in rural areas, but many urban areas in the region, such as Windhoek and Walvis Bay in Namibia, solely rely on groundwater too. “Despite this statistic, groundwater is seldom managed correctly because it is rarely seen as a resource. It is often managed separately from surface water – even though these two resources are linked as part of the overall hydrological cycle. Groundwater is usually unmeasured and unmanaged, leaving those dependent on the resource vulnerable,” he explains. Managing the resource The demand for water is expected to rise due to a growing population, changing lifestyle patterns and climate. If well managed, groundwater in Southern Africa could ensure long-term water supply to meet the increasing demands brought by climate variability. While groundwater is an abundant resource in the region, its potential remains subdued by an inadequate amount of data on aspects of availability, quality, quantity and abstraction. The limited capacity to predict hydrogeological behaviour and water resource development in sufficient detail over long


periods of time affects the extent to which groundwater is appreciated and, therefore, managed. Although there was good understanding of aquifer systems at a regional level, information systems to manage groundwater data were disparate. In response to this, SADC-GMI collaborated with the International Groundwater Resource Assessment Centre and the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education for groundwater data collection and management in the region. Together, they have developed the SADC hydrogeology map and the SADC Groundwater Information Portal. Natasha Anamuthoo, senior environmental consultant, SRK Consulting, says this data is valuable and will aid in understanding the different groundwater sources and where to build capacity: “When you have up-to-date resource information, it is easier to predict potential borehole yields and the impact of any projects on surrounding users. “SADC-GMI conducts a wide variety of different projects such as borehole installations, the monitoring of aquifers and the restoration of borehole infrastructure. In just about all of these projects, there is a critical need to understand the resource. Maps and data are vital to the success of any groundwater project,” she asserts. Kilian adds that pump testing is also important to ensure sustainable supply: “Pump testing is pumping a borehole at a specified rate and recording the water level and, therefore, the drawdown. From all of these readings, one can determine the yield and if the borehole will be a viable source for the surrounding area.” Complexity Drilling boreholes can be expensive. “Most of them are needed in rural areas that are difficult to access and where there is no piped water. Transport costs are high, and the rigs can break down. Then there is still a chance that a viable source of water may not be found, so stakeholder expectations must be managed. This is particularly difficult because water is a basic human right and, very often, we are dealing with people who desperately need that borehole, who walk for kilometres a day to access water,” explains Kilian. Another complexity can occur with transborder aquifers. These are aquifers that straddle more than one country or political jurisdiction. When working on

a transboundary aquifer project, one typically has to deal with different (and sometimes competing) hydrogeological, environmental, socio-economic, legislative and governance issues, as well as project time frames. “One country may rely on a transboundary aquifer while a different country could be exploiting the same aquifer. While our environmental and social management framework will provide a basis from which to align the elements between two different countries/political regions, as well as streamlining the process, SADC possesses mechanisms to resolve a dispute,” adds Anamuthoo. Due to the fact SADC-GMI is a regional institute, transboundary aquifers are one of the focus areas in its new five-year programme. The management of transboundary aquifers continues to demand a multifaceted enabling policy that removes the current constraints in legal and institutional capacity. Capacity building with the new five-year programme All SADC-GMI projects have a monitoring phase where each project’s success is evaluated throughout the project life cycle. The information derived (and lessons learned) from this monitoring is being used in SADC-GMI’s next five-year programme to improve the success rate of new projects and build on existing projects. It is crucial to consolidate all learnings from the pilot projects, which could potentially be upscaled. When SRK was developing the new five-year programme, SADC-GMI was

Natasha Anamuthoo (left), senior environmental consultant, SRK Consulting, and Darryll Kilian, partner and principal environmental consultant, SRK Consulting

insistent that the programme be focused on fewer targeted components: • capacity building and strengthening for sustainable groundwater management • knowledge development and raising awareness • building resilient and inclusive livelihoods. Anamuthoo states: “SADC-GMI aims to strengthen people’s livelihoods. Groundwater is not only used for drinking and sanitation, but also to support livelihoods, agriculture, ecosystem health and industrial growth. If someone is constrained by a lack of basic access to water, how can they even think of opening a business? Overall, I would say that the new five-year plan is geared towards creating as much impact on the ground as possible.” To bolster capacity building, SADC-GMI will continue to support established national focal groups in the SADC region, and encourage the use of training manuals – for operating and maintaining groundwater infrastructure, as well as for preparing proposals to access groundwater infrastructure funding.

Rural water supply in eMalahleni Local Municipality

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GOING GLOBAL WITH SLUDGE DEWATERING EQUIPMENT Sludge dewatering equipment manufacturer Teknofanghi exports 95% of all manufactured units from its factory in Italy. Giampiero Donida, Head of Global Sales, speaks to Water&Sanitation Africa about the business of thickening and dewatering sludge from wastewater sludge treatment.

As an Italian company with an impressive global footprint, do you feel there are differences between the sludge handling industry in South Africa and the other countries you operate in? GD There are no significant differences between South Africa and other countries. There are slight disparities regarding legislation. But if you look at any single country, the dewatering of

coming from the treatment process is sometimes more demanding in certain areas (like big cities) and less restrictive in rural areas. With over 30 years of experience in sludge handling, has the technology changed during this period? Some new methodologies in sludge drying are starting to

Dewatered sludge


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A MONOBELT plant at the Zeekoegat WWTW

appear. But the most notable trend in the industry is the need to remotely control and monitor sludge handling equipment. Automation is important. Our clients also want equipment that is simple to operate, as they do not want to rely too much on manufacturers and suppliers for training or maintenance. Teknofanghi designs and manufactures equipment based on these demands.

focus on a ‘plug and play’ approach. Our machines are dispatched fully assembled. Technicians are not needed for the start-up and commissioning of our equipment. This means that our equipment is up and running with no delays and lower expenses. Furthermore, it is shipped in standard containers, making transport safer and less costly.

What sets Teknofanghi apart from the competition? We export the majority of our equipment, so it is important that the life-cycles costs in terms of transportation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and service are as low as possible. When choosing sludge handling equipment, one has to take into account these additional costs. Teknofanghi continually invests into research and development, where we

Giampiero Donida, Head of Global Sales, Teknofanghi

HOT SEAT partnerships that can supply spares (many of which are market standard). As we have a large export market, we also make sure that it is easy for companies to purchase parts directly from us in Italy should they need them, and we do provide online support.

How are you contributing towards sustainable sludge management? Sludge management is only a part of our focus on sustainability – we like to look at the full picture. When developing our equipment, we consider the disposal of materials of construction as well as our equipment’s running costs in terms of electricity consumption. We have also invested a substantial amount of money into the installation of a photovoltaic system in our factory. What types of technical support do you offer in terms of training, breakdowns, maintenance and spare parts in South Africa? As stated earlier, we have designed our equipment to be easy to install, operate and maintain, with minimal training required. Maintenance can be done by operators or local technicians. Furthermore, the South African market is familiar with our equipment and we have developed several local

Give a brief description of your product range and tell us about your most popular product sold in South Africa and why? The range of Teknofanghi technologies covers applications in sludge dewatering from very small municipal and industrial plants to large municipal potable and wastewater treatment works. We supply: • MONOBELT belt presses for larger and very large applications • TEKNOBAG-DRAIMAD bags for smaller applications • SCRUDRAIN rotary drum thickeners with Archimedean screw inside • SCRUPRESS dewatering dehydrator press • POLYDILUTION polymer units for polyelectrolyte preparation and mixing • other dewatering plant accessories like pumps, mixers and conveyors. We also supply package solutions that contain all of the equipment required for a working plant. Our most successful product in South Africa has been the MONOBELT, which is ideally suited for average to large municipal wastewater treatment plants. It is a belt filter press with thickener that is combined into one machine and has its own control panel, washing pump and bottom tank. The MONOBELT can be supplied in different sizes, ranging from 2 m3/h to 150 m3/h, depending on the quantity of sludge to

be dewatered. We created special spray nozzles for belt washing to ensure that a limited amount of washing water is used. The simple design is covered by a patent and permits the use of endless belts, which grants three times longer operational life than traditional belts with clipper seams.

The MONOBELT is easy to install, operate and maintain; it is used in areas where skilled operators are difficult to find or sophisticated technologies are unaffordable. In 2014, Teknofanghi supplied seven large belt presses to the Zeekoegat WWTW in the City of Tshwane, Gauteng.


Seven large MONOBELT belt presses at the Zeekoegat WWTW

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South Africa: before, during and after the Covid-19 pandemic | Part 5 Part 1 of this series described how South Africans experienced life since democracy until Covid-19 arrived. It continued with some comments about life under the pandemic. Parts 2 to 4 contain updates on our Covid-19 experience. Parts 3 and 4 looked broadly at how we must plan for our future. Part 5 provides an update on Covid-19 and looks at water services. By Derek G Hazelton

20 000

While it has been suggested that the higher number of cases in the second wave is due to the higher transmissibility of the new variant, there have been no reports of the new variant causing more severe illness. It thus seems more likely that fatigued health workers and the low capacity of the health system have contributed to the high death rate. Figure 2 updates the history of Covid-19 pandemic cases in Europe and Africa. It shows that Europe has had a winter third wave, which was less harsh than the second wave. If we have a third wave, let us achieve a similar outcome through our responsible behaviour. The rest of Africa has had a similar sharp rise and fall in cases in its second wave to South Africa.

Cases May&Jun

Cases Jul&Aug

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COVID-19 pandemic in SA: History of new confirmed cases and deaths per day

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106 122 138 154 170 186 202 218 234 250 266 282 298 314 330 346 Days of Pandemic (1 May 2020 to 28 February 2021)


FIGURE 1 History of newly confirmed Covid-19 pandemic cases and deaths per day in South Africa – 1 May 2020 to 28 February 2021


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Deaths per day (7 days moving average)


he first wave peaked at 13 694 on 6 July. The second wave caused a sharp rise in cases throughout December and, in early January, peaked at 21 980. As indicated in Figure 1, since 12 January, the number of cases has been falling equally sharply and seems to be stabilising at the same level as between waves 1 and 2, at about 1 600 cases per day. This is still no reason for complacency, and experts are warning that we are likely to face a third wave in the winter months. Figure 1 also records the deaths per day to show the complex relationship between cases and deaths. The death rate is still high and, discouragingly, the percentage of deaths has been at record highs throughout February.

Derek G Hazelton, Pr Eng., FWISA, founder and manager of TSE Water Services

The easing of the adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown In response to the clear decline in new infections and hospital admissions, the president announced an easing of the adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown restrictions on 1 February 2021. The easing included the lifting of the alcohol sales ban subject to sales for off-site consumption only being permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10:00 to 18:00 and the reopening of faith-based institutions and most other closed places subject to health protocols. The blanket prohibition on all social gatherings remains, despite the multitude of studies confirming that the mental health crises caused by Covid-19 have been heightened by loneliness and isolation. Covid-19 vaccines Notwithstanding earlier predictions, the Oxford-AstraZeneca two-dose vaccine showed low efficacy against the local variant of Covid-19. As a result, on 7 February, the government announced it was switching to the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. The roll-out started 10 days later at a lower rate than originally planned; however, despite the setback and the world demand outstripping supply, government is confident that 40 million


320 000

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COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and Afica: History of new confirmed cases per day

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Europe peak 299 544 cases Africa peak 32 594 cases

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50 70 90 110 130 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 310 330 350 Days of Pandemic (23 February 2020 to 27 February 2021)


FIGURE 2 History of newly confirmed Covid-19 pandemic cases per day in Europe and Africa – 23 February 2020 to 27 February 2021

South Africans will be inoculated before the end of 2021. Government has made errors in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and is being unduly criticised for this. But government is focusing excessively on the pandemic and it should be motivated to broaden its scope urgently to improve the well-being of all who live in South Africa. The current water services crisis The money spent on building water services infrastructure after 1994 was impressive. As a result, 95% of South Africans have water supply infrastructure and 82% have improved sanitation infrastructure. However, despite the installed infrastructure, the figures for access to reliable services are 64% for water supply and 49% for sanitation. In addition, at the municipal level, approximately 56% of municipal wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) and approximately 44% of water treatment works (WTWs) need urgent rehabilitation and/or skilled operators. Municipalities lose 35% of municipal water through leakage. If this infrastructure was satisfactorily managed and maintained, the loss would be 15%. At a unit cost of R6/kℓ, the 20% points saving would amount to R5.6 billion each year. Many water services authorities (WSAs) are close to financial collapse, mainly due to poor revenue collection.

Thus, overall, because of the poor monitoring, maintenance and operation of existing infrastructure, as well as poor and inequitable financial practices and implementation, the water services sector is in crisis. At a national level, three issues dominate: • poor performance of WWTWs • the need for water conservation and water demand management (WC/WDM) • low revenue collection rates. Overcoming these deficiencies should therefore receive special attention. The way forward Municipal WSAs, and especially their municipal managers, are responsible for water services. Such managers cannot manage without ensuring they get adequate monthly infrastructure, financial and customer-care performance reports. Once these are obtained, they must examine all areas of poor performance and threats to future performance. The appropriate departmental manager must then plan corrective action. Senior management and council must then prioritise the required actions and agree to integrated develop planning or disaster management implementation schedules. The current crisis clearly indicates that this simple process is not taking place. To overcome it, the presidency needs to use the President’s Coordinating

Council (PCC) to put the water services crisis on its next agenda, to allocate oversight responsibilities to a specific committee or institutional manager. In terms of sections 154 and 155 of the Constitution, many ministries as well as the provincial governments have water services oversight and support responsibilities with respect to local government. Thus, in terms of co-operative governance, the oversight body chosen to overcome the crisis can call on any of these government structures and Salga for help. The chosen oversight body will require each WSA manager to submit monthly performance and corrective action reports as described above, plus quarterly implementation progress reports. Unsatisfactory WSA performance should result in invoking section 139 of the Constitution. Each section 139 administrator will be required to submit the same monthly and quarterly reports to the oversight body. As reflected in the recent report by the South African Human Rights Commission into the Vaal River sewage problem, the PCC will probably have to monitor the work of the oversight body to ensure its success. Infrastructure projects All projects related to the rehabilitation, refurbishment and upgrading of existing infrastructure and the construction of new infrastructure need to be implemented with a firm focus placed on long-term reliability and sustainability. This means that the scope of work for all contracts must include clear requirements for complete system as-built drawings, and asset management instruction manuals with detailed sections on monitoring, maintenance, operation, budgeting, job descriptions and performance appraisal. Longevity, easy maintenance, energy usage optimisation and quality construction must also be included for all upgrading and new infrastructure work at the design stage, to achieve sustainable results. For all such projects, consideration should be given to including

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three-year asset management capacity building contracts. These contracts would ensure that the necessary resources are recruited and trained to implement the asset management instruction manuals. For all water services distribution/collection and decentralised treatment systems, community management needs to be maximised. The capacity of the WSA also needs to be evaluated and shortcomings overcome at an early stage, so that – as soon as practical – the WSA can maintain the asset management system designed and implemented by the contractor. Infrastructure backlogs The water services crisis is principally due to unsatisfactory infrastructure maintenance. Thus, the prime focus of stakeholders in answering the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) must be to overcome this deficiency. But infrastructure backlogs also need to be catered for.

The home of Infrastructure development, building, maintenance, service delivery

Recent national government publications define a yard tap as the basic water supply infrastructure for institutions and households. It is recommended that this definition be strictly adhered to for institutions such as schools and clinics. Yard taps should also be provided for households as soon as practical. However, where informal and formal communities currently have no infrastructure, the 2001 Compulsory Nation Standard of providing a standpipe within 200 m of each household can be used as a short-term intervention. This will accelerate construction and allow time for community management capacity building. With respect to sanitation, recent national government publications have stressed that waterborne sanitation is unsustainable and that alternative approaches are needed. Despite these comments, no clear National Standards are offered on the provision of dry sanitation. For modest housing in rural areas, well-constructed VIP latrines

are used satisfactorily, but ground conditions need to be checked to ascertain if the pit needs to be sealed. All other formal housing toilets should be designed with a horizontal vault rather than a pit, so that the toilet can be constructed inside the house. Technologies suitable for such a design include urine diversion dehydrating toilets and evaporating dehydrating toilets such as the Enviroloo. Before any technology is selected, the reasons for choosing dry sanitation need to be marketed and different demonstration toilets made available. Regardless of the technology chosen, in addition to the marketing and choice provision, for sustainable service provision, users need to be educated in how to use and care for the toilet, and the WSA needs to ensure the availability of pit/vault emptying services and their free provision to poor households.

For more information, contact Derek Hazelton on tsewater@icon.co.za.

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WC/WDM: Starting with the basics While reducing municipal water losses is not complicated, there is no single water conservation and demand management (WC/WDM) intervention that will always provide the best savings at the least cost. Instead, a dedicated and methodical approach is needed to achieve real and sustainable savings.


outh Africa’s National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) highlights the fact that the country could face a projected 17% water deficit by 2030. Essentially, if demand continues to grow at current levels, the deficit between water supply and demand could be between 2.7 and 3.8 billion m3/annum by the end of the next decade. As South Africa faces increasing water stress, WC/WDM will have a key role to play in ensuring long-term water security. Dr Ronnie McKenzie, former chairman of the IWA Water Loss Specialist Group, notes that many municipalities struggle to reduce the often-high levels of water losses in their reticulation systems. McKenzie has written a guide to the reduction of water losses from municipal water supply systems, which is available freely from the Water Research Commission. Many of the issues discussed below have been summarised from his report*.


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Dealing with losses The NW&SMP points out that 35% of municipal water is lost through leakage, resulting in an annual loss of around 1 660 million m³. At the current average unit cost of over R10/m³, this amounts to approximately R17 billion in losses for municipalities throughout South Africa each year. Given the fact that many municipalities are dealing with billions in lost revenue due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, addressing water losses presents an opportunity to reduce financial losses. And for municipalities facing drought, such as those in the Eastern Cape, it presents an ideal opportunity to recover much needed water resources. McKenzie notes that municipalities should begin with addressing the basic issues first. “Until the basic issues have been properly addressed, there is relatively little benefit to be gained by introducing some of the more expensive and sophisticated measures.” he notes. However, even addressing the basics requires a budget and real

effort from the municipality, often involving the excavation of pipelines and repairs where necessary. Where to start According to McKenzie, repairing visible and reported leaks (preferably within 24 hours) is one of the most obvious and basic interventions that should be implemented as a top priority. “The repair of such leaks needs no financial justification or preliminary assessment to determine if it is worthwhile. It is the most obvious and cost-effective measure that any municipality can undertake and will always be worthwhile.” However, active leakage control (searching for below-ground, unreported leaks) is not always costeffective. While it may be worthwhile in an area known to have high leakage or dolomitic areas where leaks will never surface, visible leaks should be repaired Underground leak running at low pressure (Credit: Ken Brothers)


before any leak location activities are undertaken to search for new and unreported leaks. McKenzie also notes that active leakage control need not always involve very expensive or sophisticated equipment. In most cases, a well-trained, experienced leak detector with a basic listening rod will be more than sufficient. Throwing big budgets at leak location and repair should be carefully considered, especially in cases where the underlying problem is high water pressure or a network that is no longer viable. Underground leak running at high pressure (Credit: Ken Brothers)

Effective pressure management Pressure management is one of the most important WC/WDM interventions to be considered. This is especially the case in South Africa, where municipal water supply systems are often operated at relatively high pressures. “Leakage is driven by pressure, and while it must be acknowledged that pressure management is not the answer in every case, it is often one of the most cost-effective measures to reduce leakage that can be considered,” says McKenzie. Pressure management can take many forms, ranging from the basic fixed outlet pressure control to some form

of more sophisticated hydraulic or electronic control, which is often referred to as ‘smart control’ or ‘advanced pressure control’. South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to adopt the principles of advanced pressure control initially developed in the UK back in the early 1990s, and several projects have since proved its effectiveness. Notably, aggressive pressure management was integral to Cape Town’s management of the ‘Day Zero’ drought. If the water pressure in a system can be reduced, even for a short period during times of low demand, the water leakage from the system will be reduced. However, McKenzie stresses that in order to reduce leakage through pressure management, it is necessary to reduce the water pressure without compromising the level of service for consumers and fire-fighting. Most systems are designed to provide a certain minimum level of service in the system during the peak demand period. Repair and replacement As water infrastructure ages, it becomes necessary to repair and replace pipelines. However, pipe replacement is often the most expensive water loss reduction intervention and is generally the measure of last resort. McKenzie explains that there are currently two main schools of thought when it comes to pipe replacement in South Africa. One approach that was implemented by eThekwini Municipality M A R/ A P R 2021


was the ‘blanket replacement’ approach, where all pipes of a certain type and/or age were replaced. In this case, all asbestos cement pipes in the network were replaced – a massive undertaking at an estimated cost of over R1 billion. An alternative approach was introduced by the City of Tshwane. Here, certain types and ages of pipes are replaced according to the incidence of burst pipes as recorded and monitored on the metro’s management information system. This approach involves the replacement of pipes as they deteriorate to a level where the occurrence of new leaks

becomes so high that the pipes are effectively no longer suitable for use. The selective replacement is more appropriate in cases where budget constraints prevent any form of blanket replacement. Tshwane’s approach requires the collection and analysis of all burst information that is part of a sophisticated GIS/MIS system. According to McKenzie, such information and statistics on pipe bursts is invaluable when used to determine whether it is time to replace a section of pipe and is one of the factors contributing to the lower than average leakage in Tshwane. He stresses that great care should be taken when considering any

large-scale pipe replacement project and recommends some form of pilot project first. Some pipe replacement projects have been undertaken where the leakage has in fact increased after the pipes have been replaced. “Pipe replacement is the most expensive water loss reduction intervention in most cases, and it should be considered as the action of last resort after other options including pressure management and leak repair have been exhausted,” says McKenzie. Theoretically, some level of physical leakage in a system cannot be avoided. However, reducing losses as far as possible is an important exercise – especially in a country like South Africa, where physical leakage is generally high.

*Mckenzie, R. Guidelines for Reducing Water Losses in South African Municipalities Report TT 595/14 to the Water Research Commission, ISBN 978-1-4312-0565-3, August 2014)

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The Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme Established by Umgeni Water, the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme meets the water security needs of iLembe District Municipality. Working alongside a multidisciplinary team, Zutari (formerly Aurecon) was responsible for the scheme’s design and the provision of procurement documentation on this fastpaced project worth over R1.6 billion.

WTW inlet works


he serene and majestic Tugela Falls in the Drakensberg belie the immense power and scale of the downstream river when flooding in season. A river that is clear and green in winter changes into a raging, sediment-laden torrent in summer. For this reason, the transformation of this temperamental river into a reliable water source required a highly innovative engineered solution. The Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme was conceived after Umgeni Water, in 2008, became a bulk water provider to areas of iLembe District Municipality that had not previously been served by the utility (north of

Stanger). At the time, the demand for potable water in these areas exceeded the available water resource. Feasibility study The groundwork for a project of this scale is enormous and commenced in 2009 when Zutari was appointed to undertake the detailed feasibility study to identify the position for an abstraction works, water treatment works (WTW), the associated bulk pipelines and command reservoirs. After numerous collaborative workshops and design iterations, the design team conceived a scheme capable of achieving the required 98% assurance of supply – a non-negotiable

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An aerial perspective of the WTW site under construction (Credit: Group 5)

Client Umgeni Water Contractors Group Five (abstraction works) Stefanutti Stocks Coastal (water treatment works) Veolia Water Solutions (equipping of abstraction works and water treatment works) Group Five (30 Mℓ reservoir and 900 mm diameter pipelines) Esor Franki (900 mm diameter pipelines) Professional team Zutari (all engineering design services) Bigen (contract administration) Madan Singh & Associates (contract administration) Alex Stewart and Partners (architect) Bright Blue Designs (landscaping design)

client requirement – and being constructed within a short timeframe. The design team drew on a diverse range of professionals to ensure that all aspects were considered, and all possible scenarios and options explored. Full life-cycle costing formed part of the feasibility study and influenced the choice of location and design. Once the final scheme design had been approved by the client, the green light for implementation was received. Project details The project involved the design and construction of a new weir, abstraction works, a 55 Mℓ/day WTW, a low- and high-lift pump station, a 30 Mℓ command reservoir plus 30 km of 900 mm diameter pipelines.

Treated water is pumped to a 30 Mℓ command reservoir from where it is distributed through a 30 km long DN 900 steel pipeline with various offtakes along the pipeline to end-users (Credit: Group 5)


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To ensure effective coordination and implementation, delegation of responsibility was carefully managed. The critical risks and responsibilities were accounted for and well coordinated – from the abstraction works, which required the actual diversion of the Thukela River to the multidisciplinary WTW to the large-diameter bulk pipelines. In the end, expert project management was a major factor in ensuring that the scheme was successfully completed. Construction started in 2013 and the WTW was finally commissioned in July 2018. The commissioning process was undertaken jointly by the contractors – Bigen Africa (contract management), Zutari (commissioning support) and Umgeni Water.

Environment and community Many environmental approvals were required for different aspects of the project, and landowner negotiations were required in certain areas. Each technical lead was tasked with managing their own regulatory approvals, legal matters and landowner negotiations. The landscaping of the site, which is naturally beautiful and culturally significant, was carefully considered. Local vegetation was propagated to ensure that the site blended with the surroundings. Furthermore, the riverine ecosystem requirements were carefully considered in the design of the weir across the river to accommodate a range of aquatic life, from crabs and fish to crocodiles.

Works in progress on the scheme weir (Credit: Group 5)


The process control building layout (Credit: Bigen)

The design team conceived a scheme capable of achieving the required 98% assurance of supply – a non-negotiable client requirement The WTW also sits on land that was used as pasture for local livestock. The initial WTW design would have bisected the land and limited access. This was reconsidered so that local pastoralists have accessibility across the land surrounding the WTW. Wherever possible, the project team also reused in situ materials. Apart from spending over R1.6 billion on infrastructure development, there were also social benefits in terms of skills development and local employment. During the project, numerous small contractors were used, and local labourers were employed from the nearby communities, many of whom received training and skills development. Significant expenditure on water education for the beneficiary communities was also undertaken. More than 550 000 people are expected to benefit from the programme, with consumers ranging from the rural indigent to private developers of commercial, industrial and residential projects in this rapidly expanding northern KwaZulu-Natal region. Operator-centric One of the distinctive features of the

WTW is the operator-centric design approach adopted in collaboration with the client’s representatives. This ensured the WTW was perfected for the ultimate end-user: the plant’s operators. The plant was laid out to simplify the route that operators would be expected to cover on scheduled rounds (as opposed to simply providing access to areas of the plant based on the immediate engineering constraints). This route was further optimised by rationalising the need to use stairs and keeping wet and hazardous chemical areas separate from a ‘clean’ dosing hall, where dose rates can be checked and controlled. The plant’s layout also gave the laboratory and the control room ‒ the operational core of the facility ‒ direct sight over the core processes of the treatment works. Process flow The abstraction works from the Lower Thukela River provides a steady supply of water throughout the year, while removing as much of the sediment load from the water as possible. The abstracted water is then pumped up to the WTW. The assurance of supply is achieved by the provision of a weir across the river to direct flow to the

abstraction works, even during low-flow conditions. Thanks to the purpose-built design, the water will continually scour the riverbed to maintain a channel to the abstraction works. The removal of sediment is achieved through a sequence of boulder, gravel and sand traps. To further remove solid particles from the water, the WTW uses three stages of sedimentation. This reduces the environmental impact of disposing of large quantities of waste silt. Additionally, the flexible water treatment design accommodates seasonal variance in terms of raw water characteristics and can be optimally managed to reduce chemical consumption and associated costs. Present-day operations and long-term demand At present, the scheme is producing and selling in the order of 28 Mℓ/day to 30 Mℓ/day of water to iLembe District Municipality. In the case of the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme, longer-term demand was built into the design, such that the abstraction works and WTW are readily upgradeable to 110 Mℓ/day. Umgeni Water is currently busy with the planning for the extension of the WTW to 110 Mℓ/day, with planned supply to Mandini and King Cetshwayo District Municipality to the north of the Thukela River. M A R/ A P R 2021


DIGITAL EVENT 8 - 10 June 2021 Formerly

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Filter reduces microplastics in wastewater


he detection of microplastics has increasingly been reported in both marine and freshwater environments. Since research into the prevention of microplastics pollution is new, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research created the ‘Removal of Microplastics from the Water Cycle’ research project. The research project was conducted at a wastewater treatment plant in Berlin, Germany, which received wastewater from approximately 1.6 million inhabitants with a daily treatment performance between 247 500 m3 and 600 000 m3. The biological treatment method included an activated sludge process with denitrification and biological phosphorus elimination. The Diamond filter was employed in the plant discharge and mixed water overflow section in combination with a stainlesssteel high-performance weave mesh. To create valid comparison values, the Diamond filter was first equipped with a standard 20 μm weave mesh. This step already reduced the dirt load of filterable substances (AFS) from 5 mg/ℓ in the inflow to below 3 mg/ℓ in the discharge. After retrofitting to the new weave mesh

A research project used an Invent iFilt Diamond filter to retain microplastics and it has achieved impressive results.

with a separation limit of 6 μm, the discharge concentration was then further reduced to 2 mg/ℓ. In addition to increasing the separation performance, an even higher throughput capacity was achieved. With a filter wheel, throughput rates of 110 m³/h could still be achieved when using the 6 μm mesh. In relation to the installed filter area, this equates to a specific hydraulic capacity of 22 m³/h, which is an absolute peak value in the field of gravity filtration. Diamond performance The measurements for microplastics showed that the total plastic masses were subject to considerable fluctuations, even within one day. It was not possible to determine any system in the values. While traces of plastic were found in the wastewater treatment plant discharge, they were hardly detectable in the discharge of the Diamond filter. The tests confirmed that significant traces of plastic even in the lower μm range were removed from the water. For the mixed water treatment tests, the Diamond filter was set up in the mixed

A look inside the iFilt Diamond filter

water overflow basin. The concentrations of filterable substances were significantly higher compared to the wastewater treatment plant discharge. Even for mixed water, the Diamond filter with the 6 μm weave mesh was able to achieve a separation performance of filterable substances in excess of 99%. The ‘Removal of Microplastics from the Water Cycle’ research project clearly shows that the Diamond filter can reduce the environmental pollution related to the release of microplastics into water.

iFilt Diamond filter in use on a wastewater treatment plant

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HDPE concrete protection liner is solving the age-old issue of concrete corrosion in wastewater treatment works (WWTWs).

Anchors are integrally formed with the sheet, enhancing the structure’s integrity while protecting the concrete from chemical attack.

Building outfall sewers to last


nchor Knob Sheet (AKS™) was developed in the early 1990s resulting from a need highlighted in the Western Cape for a long-term solution to the internal protection of large-diameter outfall sewers. The project in question was a 1 750 mm diameter sewer system in Cape Town. At that stage, pipe protection systems such as dolomitic aggregate, CAC and sacrificial layers were the only options available to engineers in their quest to design a large-diameter sewer pipeline with a life expectancy exceeding 20 years. These cementitious-based options were imperfect in trying to achieve these life expectancies and a new solution had to be found. Enter AKS™ Thus, the AKS™ product was born. The initial design was a narrow product that required additional welding during installation but this has since been refined and the manufacturing process has been modernised to deliver the AKS™ product available today. AKS Lining Systems has successfully and reliably secured superior HDPE sheeting technology to an age-old construction material. This is a cross-section view of the AKS™ lined concrete pipe

AKS™ is a lining system ranging in thickness from 2.0 mm up to 10 mm. It is manufactured from imported, virgin, hexene HDPE resin. The product is extruded in large sheets up to 3.1 m wide and in lengths to suit the particular application. The success of AKS™ – which has led to it being deployed in many of the world’s largest sewer and WWTW systems – is owed to the unique design of the anchoring system, which firmly holds the AKS™ lining into the concrete structure. These anchors are formed during the extrusion process (not added on afterwards), making it an integral part of the finished sheet, ensuring that they cannot come free from the sheet even under the harshest operating environments. These anchors are positioned in such a way that a full matrix of anchors is formed – over 1 230 anchors per square metre – ensuring that the liner remains evenly and securely fixed into the concrete. Pull-off tests have been done over the years to show design engineers that each individual anchor can handle around 35 kg to 40 kg of weight before it pulls free from the concrete. This equates to pull-off strengths of over 40 t/m2. The use of AKS™ in large-diameter sewer pipelines has become the norm, with many large projects being completed in South Africa. On a global scale, AKS™ is exported to over 26 countries with nearly 90% of the product – which is manufactured at

the modern facility in Cape Town – being exported. Internationally, some of the largest sewer tunnel and pipeline systems have been lined with AKS™, offering these projects the longest possible design life of their lining systems. Protecting WWTWs The natural progression for AKS™ from the large sewer pipelines was to line WWTWs, as the same aggressive elements in the sewer pipeline create the same damage and corrosion in WWTW structures. Although the installation in a WWTW requires some additional care and attention from the civil contractors, along with the services of a qualified HDPE welding technician, the end result of a well-lined WWTW will offer a municipality or client the knowledge that their structure will be protected for many decades to come. AKS™ is truly a unique product, both locally and internationally, offering design engineers and clients the opportunity to incorporate the proven chemical resistance properties and exceptional life expectancy of HDPE into a concrete structure of any shape or form. The applications range from pipelines to tunnels, canals, digesters and acid storage tanks to bund areas – and not just in municipal infrastructure projects, but also in mining applications or any industry where aggressive chemicals need to be contained and controlled. M A R/ A P R 2021



RAINWATER HARVESTING – what stands in its way?

While permeable paving is most frequently used as a water attenuation facility, it can also be used for rainwater harvesting


hen constructing new commercial, residential and public buildings, a rainwater harvesting system is one of the last elements to install. At this stage, many projects are either over budget or have run out of money completely, and so the idea is often abandoned, or a cheaper, shorter-lifespan option is adopted. “Another reason is that rainwater harvesting systems are still underquoted in South Africa at the tender phase. If the requirement is for 50 000 litres of harvesting, we often note at a later stage that 10 plastic, above-ground 5 000 litre storage tanks have been used as the pricing guideline. Consideration might not have been given to the site plans and hence an understanding as to where the engineers envisaged these tanks to be placed. On sites where the tanks are designed to be placed below ground, due to durability and overall size and/ or space requirements, the plastic guideline pricing can be out by a factor


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of 10 or even 20 once you include below-ground installation work.” Kretzmar maintains that rainwater harvesting is sometimes viewed as a nice-to-have as opposed to a necessity and hence gets dropped at the final stages due to updated overall cost implications. “There is little financial incentive, and no legislation that forbids the use of potable water when non-potable water could be used; however, with parts of our country either suffering from drought, or experiencing water shortages and restrictions, there has been an increased interest in residential rainwater harvesting. Unfortunately, many people only consider rainwater harvesting in times of drought, which, of course, is too late. There has to be rain to fill the tanks. We need to embrace a longer-term philosophy.” Product offering Technicrete and Rocla, part of the Infrastructure Specialist Group, both offer different water-harvesting-friendly options that can be used independently or combined for a holistic solution. These include permeable paving solutions to capture surface water and below-ground and concrete collection tank systems for roof water capture. Rocla offers two concrete rainwater

With water shortages and the longer-term security of water supply being a serious concern for South Africans, one would think that every business, school and home would have a rainwater harvesting system. Justin Kretzmar, sales engineer at Rocla, explains why this is not always the case. harvesting solutions that are both installed underground: • A (smaller) modular system, made up of 6 000 litre units, that can accommodate storage requirements from about 24 kℓ up to hundreds of thousands of litres. •A  (larger) modular system made up of 60 kℓ rectangular tanks. These are more cost-effective than the smaller modular option but installations must be in increments of 60 000 ℓ. Below-ground concrete tanks are considerably more hygienic when compared to above-ground plastic alternatives due to the naturally cool and dark environment where most microorganisms cannot survive. With


the tanks underground and out of site, vandalism is reduced and there are no problems associated with UV reduction in the overall lifespan because they are not exposed to sunlight. Technicrete’s Aqua range of permeable paving products subscribes to a methodology whereby vertical slots between adjacent pavers provide drainage channels, allowing for stormwater to flow from the surface, through the paving and bedding layers, into a suitably designed stone layer works below. This stone layer becomes the storage ‘tank’, with the captured water replacing air cavities between adjacent stones. It is interesting to note that these air cavities can be up to 40% of the overall volume of this layer, or 40 litres of water stored per square metre in every 100 mm thick stone layer. While permeable paving is most frequently used as a water attenuation facility, it can also be used for rainwater harvesting, by placing an impervious membrane at the base of the layerworks, capturing the water instead of infiltrating it. This water would typically be used for reuse in greywater and irrigation systems. Potential problems “Even though permeable paving technology has been around for well over 40 years

(locally for over 20 years), some engineers are still hesitant to make use of this option. Permeable paving can and does fail when it has been designed or installed incorrectly or has been placed in unsuitable locations,” says Kretzmar. For instance, one should not use permeable paving in places where there is a lot of fine dust and pollution that can be expected to blow over the area on a regular basis. As such, there is a justifiable concern about the long-term clogging of permeable paving. With the finest material at the top and grading to larger stones at the bottom, clogging occurs when tiny particles are transported by stormwater and get caught by the smaller gravel at the top of the pavement layers. This reduces the filtration capacity through the paving layer and the functionality of permeable paving. Other causes of failure include design and installation shortcomings where the permeable layer must contend with more surface water than it can physically process. One should ensure there is a limit of a 2:1 ratio of impermeable to permeable layering. Furthermore, contractors often do not follow correct installation instructions as regards compaction and contamination.

“Maintenance and cleaning of permeable paving is very important. Maintenance should include annual sweeping of the paved area prior to the rainy season, as this will remove most of the silt that has settled on to the area over the dry season – therefore avoiding contamination of the top grit layer. “Typical cleaning regimens should be carried out every five to ten years, or as and when the system is no longer functioning. A high-pressure spray will loosen the upper 25 mm of clogged, polluted gravel/grit, followed by a high-strength vacuum to remove this material. The fine grit layer between pavers must then be reinstated with new, clean and washed material.” adds Kretzmar. He concludes that rainwater harvesting tanks and permeable paving have been used very successfully internationally and moderately so in South Africa, “Both systems have been very successful in other countries, especially where the requirement has been driven by local legislation and municipalities.” Justin Kretzmar, sales engineer at Rocla

Below-ground concrete tanks are considerably more hygienic when compared to above-ground alternatives Below-ground plastic concrete tanks are considerably more hygienic when compared to above-ground plastic alternatives

M A R/ A P R 2021



TRENCHLESS INSTALLATION jt20 horizontal directional drill


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Advanced cooling system uses fewer gallons of fluid than competitive systems, for exceptional efficiency, less cost and less environmental impact; our system draws in ambient air, which results in a cooler- running package.

With the Ditch Witch JT20 Horizontal Directional Drill, less is more. Much more! It is efficient, powerful and quiet. Its efficient turbocharged engine produces less noise for the operator at 86dBA which is among the quietest in its class. The Tier-4 and Tier-4i compliant engine also requires no aftermarket modification to meet local emission requirements. The JT20 has no grease zerks and all maintenance poin are in one easy-access location which means you spend less time servicing it and points more (billable) time serving your customers. And that’s the number one reason we created the streamlined, ultra-efficient JT20.

*service durability *patented power port reverse *widest range of tools to suit your ground conditions



Sensors enhance wastewater treatment process

Monitoring, measurement and tracking technologies drive greater efficiencies in the wastewater treatment process.


ylem, a global water technology solutions company, believes that the combination of digital technologies and modern best practices provides exciting possibilities for treatment facilities. “This is an inspiring time for treatment plants. New technologies do not have to replace the current features or equipment but can be used to improve the whole treatment cycle,” explains Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager: Africa, Xylem. Mistry believes that this can be done by focusing on five elements: •B  etter tracking and measurement – Sensors in a treatment facility will monitor effluent flow and maintenance requirements. Operators and managers can access this information via

dashboards and alerts. Sensors are a feasible and cost-effective solution, with a two- to three-year payback on the investment. • More visibility and control – Operators and managers can also remotely access information obtained from sensors via their smartphone. Furthermore, they can also change schedules as well as start/stop pumps when they are not on-site. • Optimisation through analytics and data – By leveraging artificial intelligence as well as data and analytics, one can predict upstream events through past and current data analytics. • Improved maintenance – Tracking and monitoring pumps and pipes via sensors can prevent breakdowns and the clogging up of pipes. Modern pumps provide sensor data for maintenance and control. Pumps fitted with sensors make maintenance contracts far simpler and more effective. • New sanitation technologies – Ozone and UV sanitation are effective water

treatment techniques for site cleaning and other ad hoc applications. “When searching for any inefficiencies in the wastewater treatment process, one needs to first create greater visibility. Use our sensors and start collecting data, then use our dashboards and data analytics capabilities to help your decision-making. Start on a specific part of your treatment facility and use your successes there to motivate other improvements. There are many promising ways to drive greater efficiencies,” explains Mistry.

Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager: Africa, Xylem

M A R/ A P R 2021


Finding the best suited solution for unique applications

A custom instrument bracket designed for polemounted installations


WRP offers the ideal water level monitoring solution: a Technolog data logger and VEGA sensor. By Kirsten Kelly

specialist engineering consultancy in water resource engineering, water conservation and water demand management, WRP Consulting has started to supply various products to the water industry. “As part of our consulting service, we have to measure and monitor pressures, flows and water levels. This has evolved to where we now source and supply these products to the industry,” says Boeta Swart, associate at WRP Consulting. Swart adds that they have also developed a web-based platform called Zednet that manages infrastructure. “It supplies management information about both the water resource itself and the monitoring hardware installed in a water distribution system. Because the service is hosted, no software needs to be installed on-site and the system can optionally be fully managed on behalf of a client.


MAR /APR 2021

Raw data is centrally stored and backed up – and can be intelligently queried from anywhere, via the web, using any recent internet browser.”

Data logger

One of the products that WRP has sourced and supplied to the South African industry for the past 20 years is the Technolog Cello 4s GSM data logger – a remote monitoring solution that is both scalable and versatile. “We chose this type of data logger because it is rugged, portable, waterproof and very reliable. It is a unique, integral data logger that has an internal battery and GSM modem, which allows you to install the device in remote locations where you do not need external power to operate the device. It also powers the attached sensors from the data logger, so no external power sources are needed to run the instrumentation,” adds Swart. Equipped with the ideal data logger, WRP started to source a sensor.

TYPES OF SENSORS 1) Traditionally, the monitoring of water levels was done by a chart recorder. This monitoring device is actuated mechanically by a float that follows the water level. The graphic recorder provides a continuous pen and ink trace of the water level on a chart, which is graduated to record both water level and time. 2) A shaft encoder has a similar setup to the chart recorder, but it provides a digital recording of values instead of a pen line on a chart. 3) Submersible level transmitters are submerged in water and reference the head of the water above the sensor location. 4) Ultrasonic sensors fire ultrasonic pulses at the surface of the water. Return time calculations are used to determine the depth of the water.


According to Swart, submersible sensors are unsuitable for certain applications: “In rivers with a lot of siltation, a build-up of silt and sand occurs around the sensor. This requires a lot more maintenance on the site, which is difficult in remote locations. In these circumstances, you need a noncontact sensor. The VEGAPULS C11 fills in the gap in our product and service offer.”

Introducing the VEGAPULS C11

This is a sensor that is ideal for non-contact level measurement in simple applications where a high degree of protection is required.

off a ledge or vertical wall. The projection of the sensor beam on to the water surface is virtually round, so the diameter of this projection on to the water surface increases as the distance from the water level increases. Their readings can be affected by debris floating on the water surface or obstructions that protrude into the beam area. The VEGA radar sensor has a smaller beam angle, so it does not have to be installed in positions that require a large, unobstructed water surface area.

Technical specifications Measuring range (distance)


Process temperatures

-40˚C to 60˚C

Process pressure

-1 to 3 bar


±5 mm


80 GHz

Beam angle

8 degrees

Materials, wetted parts


Threaded connection

G1½/G1, 1½ NPT/1 NPT, R1½/R1

Seal material


Protection rating

IP66/IP68 (3 bar), Type 6P


4 mA to 20 mA

Ambient temperature

-40˚C to 60˚C

Ultrasonic vs radar sensors

The VEGAPULS C11 is a radar sensor, which Swart prefers, as they can be used in more locations: “Traditional ultrasonic level sensors have a wide beam angle and are typically installed above the water, hanging

We have even installed these VEGA radar sensors in pipes and small stilling wells.”


WRP deployed the VEGAPULS C11 sensor and the Technolog data logger at an

The VEGAPULS C11 has a versatile threaded mounting position, and is easily installed on a lid of a well

The VEGAPULS C11 measuring in a 400 mm diameter concrete pipe

Boeta Swart, associate at WRP Consulting

irrigation board in the Northern Cape near Douglas. The Orange-Vaal Water Users Association needed an instrument to measure the water levels of a balancing dam on the irrigation scheme. This solution was also used in Namibia for water-level monitoring of flood plains and will replace all the traditional chart and shaft encoders that were there were beforehand. “The VEGAPULS C11 is well suited for riverbeds that are seasonally dry. A submersible sensor would be exposed on the sand or mud of the riverbed or basin for extended periods of time. This would pose a problem for the sensor itself and its offset calibration, as it needs to be constantly submerged in order to work as expected. The offset calibration of the sensor is compromised once it is exposed for months and then submerged again. “The VEGAPULS C11 is not affected by these site conditions. It is a non-contact sensor so the riverbed can be dry for a year and then during the rainy season it will perform optimally,” states Swart.

Different locations, different brackets

Instead of using the standard VEGA brackets, WRP manufactured its own brackets because the locations where the company installs sensors are different to where the industry normally installs them. “We use the VEGAPULS C11 in open-channel flow applications, so the installation of the sensor is quite unique. WRP therefore designed brackets where one can adjust the angle of the arms. “Many types of sensors are available in the water industry, and knowledge about the application type and basic operating condition requirements can create a more informed and accurate sensor selection choice. That is why WRP – with our consulting and project experience – is best placed to make that decision,” concludes Swart. M A R/ A P R 2021





hen leading shipbuilding company SA Shipyards manufactured tugboats for Transnet, they needed a technical solution for diesel tank monitoring. Instrotech – a Keller distributor for Southern Africa – specified an EX-rated submersible transmitter called the Keller 36 XWei. This is an intrinsically safe pressure transmitter for the conversion of pressure into an electrical signal, for use in hazardous environments. Pressure transmitters are sensors with additional electronics that compensate for deviations of the pressure transducer and output the measurement results as standardised signals. Featuring a microcontroller-based electronic evaluation to ensure maximum accuracy, the Keller 36 XWei is approved for use in high explosive gas and dust atmospheres – groups I (mining industry) and II (industrial applications) where there is a high risk of explosion. The Keller 36 XWei has a floating piezoresistive sensor element that is free of outside influence from mechanical and thermal forces at the pressure connection. The A/D converter in the signal processor operates with a resolution of 16 bits (0.002% FS), using the signals from the pressure sensor

Keller’s 36 XWei EX-rated submersible pressure transmitter

and the integrated temperature sensor to calculate accurate compensated measurement values in just a few milliseconds. With an atmospheric pressure vent in the cable, the Keller 36 XWei was placed in the centre of the tank for the uniformity of diesel head pressure and mounted 50 mm above the bottom of the tank to prevent any build-up. Instrotech safely installed and monitored the diesel pressure head with a 4 mA to 20 mA output. The 5 m high port and starboard tanks were not uniform in shape. Therefore, Instrotech used sounding charts provided by SA Shipyards and the specific gravity of diesel to calculate the desired pressure at 16 critical points. They were also able

Close-up of the volumetric indicators for the port and starboard fuel tanks

to determine the volumetric capacity of diesel versus pressure head of diesel in the tanks. Instrotech’s locally made programmable digital indicators are customised with a 16-point lineariser option, allowing the operator to key in the actual versus desired values, and thus displaying the quantity of diesel, in litres, within the tanks.

The 33X series of pressure transmitters have digital compensation with a mathematical model to achieve exceptional accuracy of 0.05% FS – in the temperature range 10˚C to 40˚C. Additional measurements and selections can optionally be used to achieve a precision (and also, if calibrated in an accredited test laboratory, an accuracy) of 0.01% FS. In addition to the digital RS485 interface, the X-line transmitters have a rangeable, analogue current or voltage output.

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BEFORE While the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the implementation of various water projects last year, the refurbishment of the Ezakheni pump station was completed successfully. By Kirsten Kelly


esidents within the Ezakheni and Ladysmith areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal can now enjoy an uninterrupted and consistent supply of quality water due to the refurbishment of the pump station at Ezakheni Water Treatment Works (WTW). This is one of three WTWs that bulk water services provider Umgeni Water has been contracted to manage within uThukela District Municipality. Yovesh Danilala, project manager at Umgeni Water, said that when they took over the infrastructure, they found that the pump station had fallen into a state of disrepair: “A month after accepting control of the plant, there was a catastrophic failure at the raw


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AFTER water line where we lost three pumps. Funds were made available to bring the pump station back to its original condition. This meant that we had to install six vertical 18 HC three-stage pumps plus auxiliaries.” APE Pumps In 1983, APE Pumps supplied the WTW with six vertical 18 HC two-stage pumps. Being at the forefront of pump innovation within the Southern African market for close to seven decades, APE Pumps conducts manufacturerwarranted repairs and supplies new OEM pumps and valves. The company also offers a turnkey consulting, installation and commissioning service. According to John Montgomery, general manager for APE Pumps, the pump station never used the OEM for maintenance, repairs or spare parts. Upon inspection, the pump station was found in disarray. “The pumps that we had installed 38 years ago were all exactly the same, but when we inspected the pump station last year, we found that some pumps were vertical, some pumps were submersible, and nothing was the same. This makes servicing the pumps very difficult because the parts are not interchangeable. Furthermore, over the years, non-OEM replicated parts were

used. That has serious implications for overall system performance, since it’s rare for replicated parts to exactly fit the original OEM tolerance specifications. The precise tolerances that need to be achieved can be as exact as one thousandth of a millimetre,” explains Montgomery. Umgeni Water contracted APE Pumps to restore the Ezakheni pump station to its original condition. This included desilting the intake chamber by using divers and specialised equipment, as well as installing and commissioning the two transformers, six variablespeed drives (VSDs) and all the necessary electrical auxiliaries and instrumentation. APE was tasked with the manufacture, transport, and commissioning of the pumps and had to complete all required electrical, piping and structural work. Peter Robinson, director at APE Pumps, managed the restoration of the Ezakheni pump station on behalf of the company


Lights and cranes were also set up and all base plates were replaced to reduce vibration. Manifold When ‘pump A’ was installed at the far left of the pump station, the original manifold burst and there was a massive break in one of the pipes. The manifold was placed under the MCC (motor control centre) and all of the electrical equipment was damaged. To prevent this from happening again, APE mechanical and structural engineers decided to extend the platform, place the manifold and pipework outside the pump station, and turn the pumps 180 degrees to face the river and not the building. Danilala adds that the design also aids with friction loss, as the pipework has a smoother curve for the water flow. “The manifold discharges into two pipelines: a 600 and 400 pipeline. A bypass was also installed to ensure that all six pumps can pump water up either pipeline. Three pumps are typically on duty and three are on standby. This makes any future maintenance of the pumps easier, as the water supply will not be affected.” says Danilala. Other than a 12-hour shutdown to replace the existing manifold and turn around the pump suction, water supply was maintained. One pump was installed at a time and tied into the existing pipeline. At every point during the build, the impact on the volume of water going into the plant had to be considered.

regulated. Pump performances (flow, pressure, temperature of bearings, vibration, running hours) can be monitored remotely. Maintenance contract These readings assist with preventative maintenance. APE has a two-year maintenance contract with Umgeni Water, analysing all readings generated remotely and visiting the Ezakheni site once a month. Regular maintenance ensures that pumps are working optimally, there is minimal downtime, and the life of the pump is extended. Covid-19 “The entire project was completed within six months. The hard lockdown last year did not postpone this project because we manufacture our pumps locally and did not have to wait for international deliveries,” states Montgomery. “During these hard times, APE Pumps staff and suppliers worked tirelessly in order to complete this project on time – supplying the customer and community with exceptional service.” Danilala adds that, due to Covid-19, there were a few additional safety protocols in place and an Umgeni safety officer frequently visited the site to ensure compliance. “We all travelled with the requisite documentation. The only

Umgeni Water contracted APE Pumps to restore the Ezakheni pump station to its original condition

issues we ever experienced were finding food and accommodation after hours.” Today, the Ezakheni pump station extracts 38 Mℓ/day and supplies 32 Mℓ/ day of water to its regions. With the upgrade and implementation of six new pump units and the use of VSDs, these pumps are able to produce over 100 Mℓ/day. The restoration of the Ezakheni pump station reflects Umgeni Water’s mission to provide innovative, sustainable, effective and affordable bulk water and sanitation services.

New electrical equipment

New technology “Pumps installed in 1983 and 2020 are all high quality and specialised, as they have to pump water straight out of the Tugela River. Each pump is capable of achieving a 60 m/h pump head and can pump between 500 m³/h and 750 m³/h per unit using VSD technology. The pumps have cover tubes to protect the shafts, reducing maintenance needs,” maintains Montgomery. The major difference between pumps installed in 1983 and pumps installed in 2020 is in improved efficiency. The pump station has moved from using 200 kW/h of power to 120 kW/h. Furthermore, VSDs are used instead of soft starters. This means that the speed of each pump can be adjusted, and the flow of water can be M A R/ A P R 2021



New inline pumps

FOR BUILDINGS KSB’s new Etaline pump range is designed to provide a flexible in-line solution for a wide range of building applications, which include water distribution, heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems. As a further plus, these pumps’ compact configuration takes up considerably less space compared to traditional long-coupled designs.


s with all modern pumps from KSB, Etaline pumps are designed with energy-efficiency top of mind. KSB’s engineers worked tirelessly with computational fluid dynamics simulation to optimise the hydraulic shape of the suction elbow, volute casing and impellers for the most effective and efficient pumping ability. Their suction characteristics also exceed those of previous-generation pumps. According to Stuart Rugg, product manager: Water and Wastewater, KSB Pumps and Valves, the new Etaline pumps can be installed horizontally or vertically directly in the pipeline and the range is available in 22 sizes. The maximum flow

Stuart Rugg, product manager: Water and Wastewater at KSB, together with units from the new Etaline line

rate is 700 m3 per hour, with the maximum discharge head possible being 96 m. The cast-iron casing and the mechanical seals are designed for operating pressures of up to 16 bar. In turn, the impellers are available in grey cast iron EN-GJL-250, tin bronze CC480K DW, or stainless steel 1.4408, depending on the application they will be used for. Mechanical seals to EN 12756 are standard, with numerous material variants to choose from. In addition, the conical design of the seal chamber allows for easy access and provides more space for maintenance work. Purpose-built Each pump is delivered with an impeller diameter matched to its duty point. This ensures that the pumps operate optimally and are not oversized, as is usually the case with ready-made impellers. The replaceable casing wear rings on the discharge and suction sides are another benefit, allowing for ease of

service and maintenance, even after many years of operation. The motor rating for the range is up to 55 kW and can be used with motormounted KSB PumpDrive speed control systems. PumpDrive is a variable-speed system that enables the use of up to six pumps and provides the ability to change over if the duty pump should fail. It has a harmonised design and can achieve energy savings of up to 60% via variablespeed operation, if used with IE2 motors. “The Etaline range brings to market pumps that are compact, efficient and cost saving. Designed and manufactured by the world’s foremost pump manufacturer and supported around the clock by our Aftermarket Service Division, the pumps are guaranteed to provide long and reliable service in any market, anywhere in Southern Africa,” says Rugg. “Despite its premium badge, the Etaline range is affordable and, due to built-in maintenance saving features, will provide the lowest possible life-cycle cost available,” Rugg concludes.



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