Page 1

Promoting professional excellence in the water sector

Water& Sanitation The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa T

Complete water resource and wastewater management


SBS TANKS Constantly evolving to meet industry demands

PANEL DISCUSSION The value of package plants to African markets


RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT WRC discusses current groundwater context

The scarcity of water has forced water users to reassess the reuse p potential of local water sources. Dr JJ (Mias) van der Walt, divisio o managing principal: Water and Sanitation, Bigen Africa Services divisional November/December 2013 • ISSN 1990-8857 • Cover price R40.00 • Vol 8 No. 6 N





* Savings are based on individual customer case studies; these may vary depending on usage and package


Volume 8. No.6

Promoting professional excellence in the water sector

Water& Sanitation The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa T

Complete water resource and wastewater management


SBS TANKS Constantly evolving to meet industry demands



SBS Tanks discusses growth strategies and continued expansion plans for 2014

Groundwater as a resource is often overlooked

PANEL DISCUSSION The value of package plants to African markets


RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT WRC discusses current groundwater context

The scarcity of water has forced water users to reassess the potential of local water sources. Dr JJ (Mias) van der Walt, reuse p divisional divisio o managing principal: Water and Sanitation, Bigen Africa Services



November/December 2013 • ISSN 1990-8857 • Cover price R40.00 • Vol 8 No. 6 N

COVER STORY SBS Tanks: Scaling new heights


WISA President’s message


Board banter: Hooked for life


SA YWPs at Stockholm World Water Week


HOT SEAT Dr JJ (Mias) van der Walt, divisional managing principal: Water and Sanitation, Bigen Africa Services unpacks water reuse gains in the local context


18 An example of best practise in water reuse

PANEL DISCUSSION Containerised modular systems: Package plants prioritised


FEATURES GROUNDWATER A potential game changer


Working together to make SA’s resources last


Dealing with drainage


INDUSTRIAL WATER Processes and challenges


RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT Climate change: Capacity building in rural SA


Better management of scarce groundwater resources


SA’s water scientists showcase water innovation technologies


WATER METERING It makes good sense


TECHNICAL PAPER A comparison of charcoal- and slag-based constructed wetlands: Part ll


REGULARS Editor’s comment



Industry news


48 Challenges in dealing with industrial water



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Publisher Elizabeth Shorten Editor Chantelle van Schalkwyk Head of design Frédérick Danton Senior designer Hayley Mendelow Designer Kirsty Galloway Chief sub-editor Claire Nozaïc Sub-editor Patience Gumbo Contributors Arish Sohan, Jody Naicker, Craig Sheridan, Kevin Harding, Edward Koller, Antonio de Pretto Marketing & events coordinator Neo Sithole Client services & production manager Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator Jacqueline Modise Distribution manager Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator Asha Pursotham Financial manager Andrew Lobban Administration Tonya Hebenton Printers United Litho Johannesburg +27 (0)11 402 0571 Advertising sales Avé Delport Tel: +27 (0)11 467 6224 • Cell: +27 (0)83 302 1342 Fax: 086 502 1216 E-mail:


Touching transitions


S I AM WRITING this ‒ my last editor s letter for Water&Sanitation Africa ‒ it is also by chance the last thing I have to do before leaving the publication to move onto what I

hope are brighter horizons. Sadly, it is not only goodbye to Water&Sanitation Africa and the amazing team I have had the pleasure of working with, but quite possibly to an industry that has taught me all about resilience, determination and constant evolution. The water industry has been my home for a number


of years and as I move to a slightly different one, I remain excited about the projects and projections for the industry going forward and this, I believe, is strongly evident in the November/December edition of the magazine.


MEDIA Physical address: No 4, 5 Avenue Rivonia 2056 Postal address: PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117, South Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 E-mail:

Some of the highlights include an in-depth interview with WISA board member Dr Jo Burgess, on page 12, and a discussion on groundwater with the Water Research Commission (WRC) on page 32. In addition, Protea Chemicals has also recently launched its new Chlorine Plant, see page 30, and we highlight some of the key findings at the recent WRC Symposium, held at the CSIR Convention Centre, on page 52, setting the research and development agenda and cementing an open communica-

ISSN: 1990 - 8857 Annual subscription: R290 (SA rate) E-mail: Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

tion channel between academia, politicians and communities. In addition, I leave at a time when key role players, who continue to deliver despite constant challenges and changing contexts, are being celebrated by the Department of Water Affairs, with Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the deputy minister of Water and

All articles in Water&Sanitation Africa 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.

Environmental Affairs, recently congratulating the winners of the 2013 Water Sector Awards on Water Conservation and Water Demand Management (WC/WDM). Through the WC and WDM Sector Awards, the department seeks to create a platform and an enabling environment for all role players and stakeholders from all sectors to start ap-


preciating and understanding the importance of conserving water ‒ and this is quite

HEAD OFFICE Tel: +27 (0)11 805 3537 Fax: +27 (0)11 315 1258 Physical address: 1st Floor, Building 5, Constantia Park, 546 16th Road, Randjiespark Ext 7, Midrand BRANCHES

rightly to be applauded as they move on from focusing only on quality to now include maintaining the quantity of supply. According to the study conducted by the WRC, the country loses at least 37% of its water through non-revenue water. This equates to about R7 billion loss per annum

in revenue for municipalities. Our future water security and sustainability will only be

Eastern Cape Chairman: Hennie Greeff Tel: +27(0)41 453 3102 Secretary/Treasurer: Chris Dickson Tel: +27(0)41 507 8200

guaranteed when government, private sector and civil society take the responsibility of conserving and preserving the water resources that we have access to today, said Mabudafhasi. If you would like to see the list of winners, they are available on in an article titled Mabudafhasi congratulates 2013 Water Sector

Free State Chairperson: D.R. Tlhomelang Tel: +27(0)51 403 0800 Secretary/ Treasurer: Riana Wessels Tel: +27(0)56-515-0375

Awards winners . In closing, I would like to introduce my successor as editor ‒ Maryke Foulds. Foulds will take over the editorship of Water&Sanitation Africa and RéSource magazines from 11 November. She a Journalism Diploma and has edited various trade

KwaZulu-Natal Chairman: Chris Fennemore Tel: +27 (0)31 311 8734 Secretary/ Treasurer: Stephanie Walsh Tel: +27 (0)31 302-4077 Western Cape Chairman: Gareth McConkey Tel: +27(0) 21 712 4260 Secretary/ Treasurer: Eleonore Bondesio Tel: +27(0)21 872 0322 WISA mission statement m The Water Institute of Southern Africa provides a forum for exchange of information and views to improve water resource management in southern Africa.

and technical publications for the past 15 years. She brings valuable experience to 3S Media s stable and will be of great benefit to the two titles for which she will be responsible. excellence

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November/Dece N

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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 on cover bookings contact Avé Delport on +27 (0)83 302 1342 or e-mail avedel@

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Scaling new heights

2013 has been an extremely successful year for SBS Tanks and, as a result, for the producers of this premium product, SBS Water Systems’ managing director, Delayne Gray, tells Water&Sanitation Africa. N MARCH, WE launched our own SBS Tanks

These are added to our list of already accredited bod-

range, which is a Proudly South African range,

ies such as WISA, The Automatic Sprinkler Inspection

developed, manufactured and installed by SBS

Bureau (ASIB) and the Institute of Municipal Engineering

Water Systems, says Gray. The company has also

of Southern Africa (IMESA), says Gray. Moreover, in

just reached over 700 installations, which is not only a

February 2013, SBS started the process of applying for

monumental achievement in any sector given the re-

the SABS ISO 9001 accreditation. This is a prestigious and

cent financial constraints faced in the international and

internationally recognised standard for quality, which

local markets, but which has increased its demand for

will be applied to both SBS s business and products.


staff incrementally.

The second stage of the audit has been completed and

Additionally, as the staff quotient has grown, so has the need for space to foster the existing growth trend.

we are looking forward to receiving the SABS ISO 9001 accreditation in January 2014, he states.

As we manufacture our SBS Tanks range on-site, we

Gray adds that in September 2013 SBS was nominated

had to expand our premises to another manufacturing

by Martin & Associates for the 32nd Steel Awards and

warehouse. We are extremely proud to be expanding

was ultimately recognised for its innovative design

our business while other companies in our industry are

of the 3.3 Mℓ SBS Tank. This is the biggest steel tank

being forced to close, says Gray.

installed in Southern Africa to date and was manufactured, supplied and installed by SBS Water Systems,

Proudly South African

he explains.

Part of the reason for SBS s continued growth and suc-

The sky is the limit

cess is its investment and support of local organisations and associations that are aimed at growing not only the capacity in the water sector, but in the population at large as well, in order to meet its growth and development goals. We boast our new accreditations such as our affiliation to the Proudly South African campaign, Southern African Institute of Steel Construction and the International Steel Fabricators.


20 YEARS OF SUSTAINABLE SERVICE The advantages of the SBS Tank • fully certified by professional engineers • unique modular design • rapid on-site construction • tank content (liquid) not in direct contact with tank walls • ready for operational use upon commissioning • vast range of accessories and spares readily available • installation done at safe working heights • low maintenance • free span dome roof, with no internal columns • cost effective • tried and trusted for more than 15 years • manufactured under strict Quality Management Systems (SABS ISO 9001:2008). NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

This nomination was definitely a highlight for Gray and the SBS team, as well as passing the first stage of ISO accreditation. We are the first and only company in our industry to be nominated and start the process on this accreditation. He adds that as such these can also be seen as the company s greatest achievements to date, but by no means the last ‒ the sky is the limit in 2014.

COVER STORY The need for our new manufacturing warehouse is an

industries. The applications within the different indus-

indicator of how our business has grown with reaching

tries are almost limitless and include fire sprinkler and

over 700 installations, says Gray, adding that while the

hydrant water storage, emergency water supply, pota-

staff numbers were 30 just over a year ago and are now

ble water storage, raw water storage, water treatment

55, in part in order to cope with the increasing demand-

plants and process water and waste collection.

ing of installations and manufacturing, the increased

We have industry specialists who make it their job to

staff quotient is not only as a result of the growth tra-

know what their industry requires from us as a company

jectory ‒ in fact, it is the other way around. We attribute

and our products. Each SBS Tank is made per the industry and client requirement.

this to the hard work of our staff who always go beyond what is required of them, our loyal




ously believe in our product and choose us as a preferred

As the company grows, it is our aim and promise to maintain good quality products and services to meet the clients’ needs

The size of the tank required is discussed and made as per the site allows, says Gray. As such, 2014 holds much in store for SBS Water Systems in terms of innovation and

supplier, and our business partners who have assisted us in the development of our

possibly new products. The new SABS ISO 9001 system

premium SBS Tanks range.

has already implemented a huge change in SBS by fo-

However, as a result of the growing staff, staff develop-

cusing on each department s objectives and procedures.

ment at SBS is taken very seriously. We have a training

SBS directors decided to implement the system so the

schedule that includes induction to our company, induc-

company can provide clients with a quality product that

tion to the ISO 9001 system within the company, health

has had all the checks and stamp of approval. As the

and safety, on-site installations, forklift training and

company grows, it is our aim and promise to maintain

many more. This development of our staff is essential in making sure our company and products are manufactured to the highest of standards, says Gray.

Facing forward When asked what the focus will be for 2014, Gray is very assured in her answer. We have five main applications for our SBS Tanks range and we look forward to being the industry leader in each one. These are the municipal, mining, fire, commercial and water conservation

BELOW SBS Tanks specialised jacking system shown here at the UMK Manganese Mine Site makes the larger SBS Tanks quick and easy to install with no need for cranes or heavy machinery INSET The SBS Tank liner stops water from being in contact with the tank walls

good quality products and services to meet the clients needs, he says. In addition, the company will still maintain its dominant presence in the industry through participating in a number of key conferences and exhibitions. We will be participating in the IMESA Conference & Exhibition in 2014 and by that time will have our full accreditation with the SABS ISO 9001 standard.

Project priorities Having reached 700 installations, the number of projects lined up for 2014 are also set to break all previous records ‒ as is to be expected with the new ISO accreditation. Some of the exciting projects lined up for the next few months or recently completed include the Mariannhill Monastery project, which involves the installation of a 112 kℓ SBS Tank to store water for a new agricultural project in the region, which will, according to Gray, be completed in the months to come. Another recent project is the 50 kℓ SBS Tank installed in Gengeshe in KwaZulu-Natal, to act as a holding and storage tank for the community s water supply. SBS Water Systems is proud to be working in association with AECOM on the manufacture, supply and installation of an SBS Tank to the UMK mine near Hotazel in the Northern Cape, says Gray, adding that the SBS Tank will be used for potable water storage on the UMK mine site and has a gross capacity of 1 126 kℓ. This size tank takes approximately four working days to manufacture and was installed on the site by the end of July 2013. Another




the recent installation of CTM s NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013


COVER STORY rainwater harvesting tanks by SBS Water Systems. Why

Trials, tribulations and triumphs

CTM decided to harvest rainwater in tanks is pretty

The importance of water storage ‒ and proper water

simple, explains Gray. The idea of utilising SBS Tanks for

storage principles ‒ cannot be underestimated, says

rainwater harvesting at CTM outlets came about while

Gray. It is very important to make sure the water is not

planning renovations for some of the company s premis-

contaminated with bacteria if used for drinking. In the

es around the country. The chairman of CTM takes great

SBS Tank, the water does not come in contact with the

pride in the gardens that have been established at each

tank wall as there is an SBS Tank liner that holds the wa-

of the company s locations and it was a priority to keep

ter. This liner is in compliance with the Australian Water

them looking their best. At the same time, being an envi-

Quality Centre standard AS/NZS 4020-2005: Testing

ronmentally conscious business, it was important to con-

of Products for use in Contact with Drinking Water. In

serve and limit the use municipal water where possible.

addition, many clients still believe that a concrete tank

SBS Tanks were chosen to be installed because of

is the best option, says Gray. This is a common miscon-

their extensive lifespan and closed top roof with no in-

ception, but we have proven that our Zincalume tanks

ternal columns. The tank designs are aesthetically pleas-

are cheaper, easier and quicker to install and last longer.

ing for the all sites, but in particular to the ones that are

In addition, the space on-site available for installation

road facing. The service ability provided by SBS Water

of the tank is the biggest challenge faced by the team,

Systems on installation and after is one that we often

says Gray. That is why we have so many variations of

The importance of water storage - and proper water storage principles cannot be underestimated

sizes so that we can accommodate any size site. Other challenges include transport routes on-site for many of the municipal tanks that are hard to reach. speak highly of and will always recommend to fellow colleagues looking for an economic and environmentally friendly option for rainwater harvesting, says Stuart Young of Afrika Edge Architects, who was tasked with investigating the options available for the harvesting of rainwater through the use of attenuation tanks. Some fairly exciting projects lined up for 2014 include: • Namoya, which will be receiving six SBS Tanks. This is one of the biggest mine sites in Africa. • United National Breweries South Africa has ordered a 227 kℓ SBS Tank to store process and municipal water for the site.

ABOVE Completed installed tank at the CTM Newcastle site ABOVE RIGHT Ring one completed at the CTM Newcastle site

We have our own SBS vehicles that are used to transport our tanks, which are then erected on-site. This saves any additional transport costs for the client, and we make sure the tanks are installed correctly, says Gray. These challenges are, however, not insurmountable. Informing the industry through our media partners has proven to be the best form of overcoming these challenges. We are very active in our industries and attend most of the exhibitions and conferences held by our accrediting partners as well, explains Gray. The value of educating not only their clients, but the communities at large, is therefore immense. Education

• The second group of installations will be commenc-

about each industry s needs is one of the most impor-

ing in Flagstaff, which entail the installation of nine

tant roles for our company and clients to be involved

SBS Tanks to be used to hold drinking water for

in as it clears any gaps in miscommunication about our

the community.

products and client s requirements. At SBS, we constant-

We currently have 180 size tanks available in the SBS

ly aspire to improve our knowledge on each industry s

Tanks range. These are available in diameters from 2.72

needs and our range will keep on evolving to make sure

to 21.16 m and in heights from 1.14 to 9.39 m, says Gray.

these are met, concludes Gray.

In each issue, Water&Sanitation Africa offers advertisers the opportunity to promote their company s products and services to an appropriate audience by booking the prime position of the front cover, which includes a feature article. The magazine offers advertisers an ideal platform to ensure maximum exposure of their brand. Please call Avé Delport on +27 (0)11 467 6224/ +27 (0)83 302 1342 to secure your booking.



Water Purification Plant & Equipment INTRODUCTION SWANSA (PTY) LTD trading as SWAN’S WATER TREATMENT is a privately owned South African company specializing in the design and manufacture of the full spectrum of water puriſcation equipment. Cost effective innovations are incorporated in our process and equipment designs with the plant being customised for each installation. Our extensive in-house expertise, ensures that out advanced technology is applied to the clients best advantage. PRODUCT RANGE • Water ſlters • Moore Airlift Rapid Gravity ſlters • Steel pressure ſlters • Steel rapid gravity ſlters Liquid/Solid Separation • Sludge Blanket Vertical Upƀow Clariſers • Diminishing Intensity Floc Conditioners • Incline Sheet Clariſers • Upgrading of Horizontal Flow Clariſers Chemical Dosing • Helical screw feeders • Rotary disc dry feeders • Water operated dry feeders • Gravity solution feeders • Metering pumps • Gas Chlorinators Efƀuent Treatment • Bioſlter rotary distributors • Aerators • Clariſers Miscellaneous • Package plants • Ammoniators • Sulphonators • Pilot operated diaphragm valves • Laboratory ƀoc testers • Automatic pH control • Comparators • Domestic and industrial cartridge ſlters

Swan’s Water Treatment Prop. Swansa (Pty) Limited Reg. No. 80/11814/07 Plot 91, Honingklip, Muldersdrift P O Box 777 Muldersdrift 1747 Tel: 010 594 9999 Fax: 086 609 1595 P Swan



Does the private sector have a role to play? The 10 Mℓ/d expansion at the Percy Stewart Wastewater Treatment Works will not only increase raw sewage processing capabilities, but for the first time there will be PLCs and a SCADA system installed on-site, says Royal HaskoningDHV’s Michelle Vogts, project manager: civils, and Kegean Reddy, project manager: C&I. OST OF US IN the water sector


our mandate. Although it was drafted from

perform a function/service on its behalf

find ourselves rendering a

the perspective of improving the image of

and literally becoming its extension, it is

service to either internal or

the public service, the private sector cannot

important that monitoring and evaluation

external customers or both.

be left out of the equation since the level of

is done by both parties to ensure that

In the public service, to ensure that there is

interaction between the two entities has tak-

service standards are at the desired levels.

a clear understanding as to what the man-

en on new proportions during the past two

Consultation between each other and

datory process is about and how it needs

decades. Examples of some of the typical

the recipients of these services to ensure

to form part of our daily work programmes,

scenarios where the private sector will con-

the alignment of supply and demand in a

the Batho Pele principles were developed

tribute positively to the impact of the Batho

structured manner is fundamental to the

by the Department of Public Service and

Pele principles are:

Administration (DPSA) in the early years

• In the case where a private company

The Batho Pele principles encompasses

of democracy and rolled out across South

assumes the role of the client, i.e. at the

the qualities of effective and efficient cus-

Africa. These principles (eight in total) were

receiving end of a service from the public

tomer service and should not be treated

published in October 1997 by the DPSA.

service, it is important that a sound relation-

as just another document, but rather be

Needless to say, these principles are based

ship develops between the parties to the

treasured with the understanding that it

on the general good values and ethos of

extent that constructive criticism and praise

needs to be implemented with due dili-

honest human beings who strive towards

can be exchanged without the undesirable

gence. Below follows an extract taken from

ensuring that services rendered occur at lev-

emotional or irrational interference that

a document I found in circulation, which

els that will enhance the quality of the lives

would otherwise convert the landscape to

explains/simplifies the Batho Pele principles

of the citizens they are intended for. They

one filled with contempt and disregard for

(author unknown).

also seek to secure the understanding within

each other, thereby negatively impacting

the recipient base as well as the delivering

the citizens. This relationship is invaluable

Constitutional ideals of:

agencies/organs of state that there needs

as it provides a platform for consultation

• promoting and maintaining high standards

to be a strong relationship between them

and review, which continuously contributes

underpinned by mutual trust.

to an enhanced service delivery experience

We at times lose each other in just the


success of such contractual arrangements.

comparable to the best of standards.

These principles are aligned with the

of professional ethics • providing service impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias

basic understanding of what trust means,

• In the case where a private company as-

• utilising resources efficiently and effectively

failing to value the need for us to consult

sumes the role of a service provider i.e. ren-

• responding to people s needs; the cit-

and therein lies the root cause of most of our

dering services, skills and products directly

izens are encouraged to participate in

service delivery woes. The crux here is: have

to the public service, the aspect of quality is

we researched the matter well enough to

one of great importance as it provides the

commit ourselves and are we equipped and

citizens with the assurance of money well

policymaking • rendering an accountable, transparent, and



suitably resourced to deliver

spent if the quality is supe-

at the agreed service level

rior, or disgruntled citizens

The Batho Pele principles are as follows:

or above (bearing in mind

when the quality is inferior.

• Consultation: There are many ways to

that it needs to enhance

If this relationship is well

consult users of services, including con-

the lives of the recipients of

managed, the integrity of

ducting customer surveys, interviews with

such services). It is because

the public service is boosted

individual users, consultation with groups,



and the confidence levels

and holding meetings with consumer

have been well researched,

on the side of the citizens

representative bodies, NGOs and CBOs

are foundational to our

increases substantially.

(community-based organisations). Often,


• In the case where a private

more than one method of consultation will







sector that we have to be



be necessary to ensure comprehensiveness

mindful thereof as we fulfil

to the public service to

and representativeness. Consultation is a


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PRESIDENT'S COMMENT powerful tool that enriches and



policies such as the Integrated Development



Citizens should be given full, accurate information about the public services they are entitled to receive

and its implementation in

and friendly to our customers. Customers should be treated with respect and consideration. We must always be willing to

• Openness and transparency: A key aspect

assist. Telephone etiquette is

• Setting service standards: This principle

of openness and transparency is that the

vital. All our correspondence

reinforces the need for benchmarks to

public should know more about the way

must be respectful.

constantly measure the extent to which

national, provincial and local government

• Information: Citizens should be given full,

citizens are satisfied with the service or

institutions operate; how well they utilise

accurate information about the public

products they receive from departments. It

the resources they consume; and who is in

services they are entitled to receive. This

also plays a critical role in the development

charge. It is anticipated that the public will

may be done in a number of ways, for ex-

of service delivery improvement plans to

take advantage of this principle and make

ample through newspapers, radio, posters

ensure a better life for all South Africans.

suggestions for improvement of service

and leaflets. It s important to remember

Citizens should be involved in the devel-

delivery mechanisms, and even to make

that different customers have different

opment of service standards. Standards

government employees accountable and

needs and they do not all speak the

must be precise and measurable so that

responsible by raising queries with them.

users can judge for themselves whether or

• Redress: This principle emphasises a need

• Openness and transparency: We should

not they are receiving what was promised.

to identify quickly and accurately when

be open about our day-to-day activities;

Some standards will cover processes, such

services are falling below the promised

how much our departments receive and

as the length of time taken to authorise a

standard and to have procedures in place

how that money is spent. This information

housing claim, to issue a passport or identi-

to remedy the situation. This should be

should be available to the public. Annual

ty document, etc.

done at the individual transactional level

reports, strategic plans, service commit-

• Increasing access: One of the prime aims

with the public, as well as at the organisa-

ment charters, etc. must be made available

of Batho Pele is to provide a framework for

tional level, in relation to the entire service

to the public. We should tell our customers

making decisions about delivering public

delivery programme. Public servants are

services to the many South Africans who

encouraged to welcome complaints as

• Redress: Redress is making it easy for peo-

do not have access to them. Batho Pele

an opportunity to improve service and to

ple to tell us if they are unhappy with our

also aims to rectify the inequalities in the

deal with complaints so that weaknesses

service. We should train staff to deal with

distribution of existing services. Examples

can be remedied quickly for the good of

complaints in a friendly, helpful manner.

of initiatives by government to improve

the citizens.

An apology, full explanation and effective,

local government.

same language.

where to complain and how to do it.


• Value for money: Many improvements

speedy remedy should be offered when

like the Gateway project, multipurpose

that the public would like to see often

the promised standards of service have not



require no additional resources and can

Access to information and services empow-

sometimes even reduce costs. Failure to

• Value for money: We need to make the

ers citizens and creates value for money,

give a member of the public a simple, sat-

best use of available resources. Avoid wast-

quality services.

isfactory explanation to an enquiry may, for

age of time, money and other resources.

• Ensuring courtesy: This goes beyond a

example, result in an incorrectly completed

It also means eliminating waste, fraud

polite smile, please and thank you . It

application form, which will cost time

and corruption, and finding new ways of

requires service providers to empathise

to rectify.








been delivered.

improving services at little or no cost.

with the citizens and treat them with as

The principles in action

much consideration and respect as they

• Consultation: We can only assume to

excellence: Encourage partnerships with

would like for themselves.This involves

know what our customers want. The only

different sectors in order to improve



way we can find out for certain is by asking

service delivery. Rewarding excellence is

information and problems, which may

them. This can be done through surveys,

also about rewarding the staff who go the

hamper or delay the efficient delivery of

questionnaires, meetings, suggestion box-

extra mile in making things happen.



services to promised standards. If applied

es, izimbizo and by talking to them.

• Encouraging innovation and rewarding

• Customer impact: If we put all the Batho

properly, the principle will help demystify

• Service standards: Citizens should be told

Pele principles into practice, we then

the negative perceptions that the citizens

about the level and quality of the services

increase the chances of improvement in

in general have about the attitude of the

they receive. If possible, they should be

our service delivery. This in turn will have a

public servants.

given an opportunity to choose the service

• Providing information: As a requirement,

positive impact on our customers.

they want. The standards we set are the

• Leadership and strategic direction: Our


tools we can use to measure our perfor-

leaders must create an atmosphere that

should be at the point of delivery, but for

mance, and therefore need to be realistic

allows creativity. Management must en-

users who are far from the point of deliv-

depending on available resources.

sure that goals are set and that planning



• Courtesy: We must be polite



ery, other arrangements will be needed.

• Access: There is much more involved when

In line with the definition of customer in

referring to access. It means making it easy

this document, managers and employees

for our customers to benefit from the ser-

should regularly seek to make information

vices we provide. Easy access can be made

about the organisation and all other service

possible by: having wheelchair ramps, dis-

Ronald M Brown

delivery related matters available to fellow

abled parking bays and taking our services

President : Water Institute of

staff members.

out to the community

Southern Africa


is done. Well done is better than well said. ‒ Benjamin Franklin.

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Hooked for life When asked how she got involved in the water industry, Dr Jo Burgess’s answer is somewhat unexpected: by accident! However, she has never regretted it and neither has the water industry at large and WISA specifically, with Burgess attending her first WISA board meeting in 2009.


CAME FROM an environmental biology/activist

attitude and a willingness to pull together ‒ you can

background, into a Master of Research in Innovative

give US$50 billion to the wrong people and nothing will

Manufacturing with emphasis on water pollution

be gained, but give US $5 to the right people and they

control. I had realised that protesting against the

will change their world.

way something was being done was pointless, unless

She states that WISA took on care of the YWP in South

you could offer an alternative, says Burgess of her introduction to the water industry. After her masters, she went on into a doctoral project on biological wastewater treatment, dealing with a pharmaceutical

Africa as its other parent (its mother being the International

I had realised that protesting against the way something was being done was pointless, unless you could offer an alternative

Water Association), and as the first WISA YWP chairperson, she was eligible for a seat on the WISA board.

That happened

in 2008, and I attended my first

waste, cementing her position

board meeting in 2009. After

in the industry. The project involved screening a wide

my term as YWP chairperson was over, I was co-opted

range of options for making the treatment process work

onto the board in a different capacity.

in the laboratory, then trialling the top two options in a pilot plant sited at a sewage works. The trial worked! It

The bigger picture: The next in line

was my first taste of how research can be used to solve

During her time on the WISA board, there has been a

real problems, and I was hooked for life, says Burgess.

definite change in her focus. My focus has changed

Her current speciality though is harder to pinpoint and

from being on board purely as the YWP representative

can be seen as a trick question, she says. Over the years,

to being there for the bigger picture. I do not bear an of-

I have worked on recreational water quality, drinking

fice making me responsible for one aspect in particular,

water, municipal wastewater and mine water. I ve be-

as some directo directors do. I am currently the vice president,

come a bit of a generalist.

and will succeed the president at the end of his term of

The South African chapter: A life-changing experience

Dr Jo Burgess, WISA board member

office, explains Burgess. B When discussin discussing the association, she is quite succinct. WISA is a glue organisation. It has no legal responsi-

Burgess joined the South African can water sector in 2002,

bility, such as regulation, re nor does it have an externally

sh water research comhaving been part of the British

specified manda mandate, like a university for example. The role

o that. I joined WISA on munity for seven years prior to

of professional b bodies like WISA is to foster and provide

arrival in South Africa in 2002, but didn t really get

for a community of practice. WISA provides a forum for

ch is when a very very involved until 2008, which

the exchange of information and views to improve

small group of us formed a team and created

water resource management in Southern Africa, states

the Young Water Professionalss (YWP) in South

addin that as such it is driven by the volunBurgess, adding

Africa, explains Burgess.

m teerism of its members, which means that the events

arting up the YWP I had been involved in starting n South Africa it in England before I left, but in

pla that take place (symposia, conferences, etc.) are tru reflection of what its members want. always a true

eaning. The has taken on a whole new meaning.

Cha Changing the tide: Combating the br brain drain

creation of the YWP in Africa has been a life-changing experience forr me. It showcases the best in people,, their

The greatest challenge worldwide, acT

ness, collegiality, their resourcefulness,

cording to Burgess, is brain drain. She

dtheir passion, says Burgess, add-

believes the water industry needs

ing that for her that is all that is

technically competent, scientifically

needed. All of the problems

inclined people and lots of them. South Africa is not alone in finding

in the developing world with untreated



that other sectors that require the


e poor drinking water can be

same sorts of people ‒ ICT and

ght dealt with if we have the right

mining are two examples ‒ appear NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

WISA NEWS much sexier and/or better paid. All over the world, utilities are struggling to attract and retain good new staff. In order to overcome this challenge, Burgess says we need to work together on better informing young people of their options within the water community as there are careers to be had in all areas, not only technical but also in communications, human resources, fitting and turning, journalism and support services. Organisations like the YWP are doing a great deal to

966 part 2 9

inform school learners of their choices; for those who do join our sector, the YWP is creating a vibrant community of practise in which new employees, who might find they don t have very many colleagues of their own age in their workplace, are able to ask the silly questions that might be embarrassing in that virtual network of water sector colleagues. I believe this is making a great impact on those who join, she says.

A growing resistance: Avoiding the overload Burgess believes there is currently a change progressing through not only the water industry, but the world at large. I feel that a resistance towards this 21st century busyness is growing ‒ as we raced towards the end of the 20th century, we acquired ever cleverer, faster means of communication but seemed to use it to overload each other. I am finding increasing acknowledgment of the loss of time for reflection ‒ either on a great and important question of life, or simply for rereading an angry e-mail before

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“I had been involved in starting up the YWP in England before I left, but in South Africa it has taken on a whole new meaning”

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SA YWPs at Stockholm World Water Week Two South African Young Water Professionals (YWPs), Suvritha Ramphal and Preshanthie Naicker, attended Stockholm World Water Week in Sweden, from 1 to 6 September 2013. OTH YOUNG PROFESSIONALS are part of the

Stockholm International Water Institute s (SIWI)

water sector at the Young Professionals Corner .


professionals and senior professionals from the global

a water, energy and food (WEF) secure world by year 2050.

Young professionals attending the event got the opportu-

The president of the Southern African YWPs, Inga Jacobs,

nity to meet with SIWI s Young Professional Team, which

was part of the initial team at World Water Week 2012 and

included Ramphal and Naicker. Other young professionals

contributed to the development of the vision for a water,

as well as those invited by SIWI to attend the Young

energy and food secure future by year 2050.

Professionals Day (free of charge) got the opportunity

Young Professional Vision to Action Task Team

Young Professionals Corner

for the development of a global action plan for

The action plan is still in its developmental stages;

to engage with the members of the Young Professionals

however, through global collaborative eorts during the

Team, share ideas on water cooperation and build partner-

year, the team were able to develop on the WEF vision

ships among and between themselves and other young

and presented short, medium and long-term plans at the

professional organisations at the conference.

World Water Week opening plenary. If you want to review developments on the WEF Vision to Action Plan follow the

Young Professionals Day

team on:

During the World Water Week, 4 September was dedicat-

Twitter: #gen2050

ed to young professionals. These were able to engage in

E-mail: In addition to their involvement in the Youth Vision to Action Plan Team, the duo were involved in other activities at the conference, such as networking with other young


Young professional's corner at the WWW conference

healthy discussions on the challenges the water community faces and the role that cross-generational cooperation and capacity building for the future play in ďŹ nding solutions . The later part of the young professionals day involved a stimulating intergenerational debate on the



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visit today

WISA NEWS water-energy-food nexus. The panel was made up of young and senior professionals from around the world. Naicker, Southern African YWPs vice president, was one of the young professionals involved. She provided the opening statement for the dialogue; here s a peek at the young professional groups thinking on the WEF nexus:

What is the WEF nexus? The water, energy and food nexus means that the three sectors are linked and that actions in one area more often than not have impacts in one or both of the others. In other words, there are interdependencies among the sectors while water remains the connector among the sectors. Nexus consideration is often pursued with two at one time analysis as opposed to viewing the challenges per sector. Furthermore: • it is not an end point but a step towards system thinking • it is a process with interconnected sectors to improve energy, water and food security • it is an opportunity to get more for less • it is a human-centred approach that could be brought together by various sectors namely, government, private, non-governmental organisations and the youth from the three sectors • it addresses externality across sectors and decisionmaking and inclusive of policy development at the nexus • it supports transition to sustainability, through better resource allocations and utilisations • it supports transition to a green economy • it provides an opportunity to view waste as a resource in multiuse systems • it promotes integrated poverty alleviation • In the same breath, the term nexus can be overwhelming and may not trigger the change we want to see...

Attending key seminars The main theme for this year s conference was Water Cooperation ‒ Building Partnerships . Ramphal, Southern

ABOVE Preshanthie Naicker presenting the opeing statement at the intergenerational dialogue on WEF nexus BELOW Suvritha Ramphal recording the solutions to water challenges based on crossgenerational cooperation and capacity buidling, presented by young professionals

African YWPs rapporteur at World Water Week got the chance to converse with some of the young professionals who were so enthralled with this year s proceedings. Young professionals attended for various reasons, such as to expand their network, familiarise themselves with what opportunities were available to them, advance their knowledge on the global water sector and for research purposes to assist in post-graduate studies. Other delegates were either part of an existing young professionals organisation or were there on behalf of their company s group. The diversity was incredibly rich as both Ramphal and Naicker got the opportunity to share ideas, learn and build networks with other young and senior professionals in the global water sector. If you are keen to get in touch with young professionals from across the world, you will find them at: • Youth Forum, Budapest Water Summit, 8 to 11 October 2013 • International







November 2013.

Acknowledgements: *Pictures have been sourced from the Stockholm International Water Institute at the following website:



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Reassessing water reuse

One of the most common misconceptions with regards to water reuse in the South African context is that it is a more expensive option that delivers a lesser quality product. This is not the case, Bigen Africa Services’ divisional managing principal: Water and Sanitation, Dr JJ (Mias) van der Walt tells Water&Sanitation Africa. OUTH AFRICA IS a water-scarce country where

countries such as South Africa, where water is scarce, local

development, stimulated by mining activities,

reuse therefore makes sense from an environmental and

is often far from water sources. It is therefore

economic perspective, adds Van der Walt.


essential that local source be optimised before

Debunking the myths

large and expensive transfer schemes are considered,


says, discussing the current water context in South Africa. According to Van der Walt, in many cases there is no alternative but to develop expensive

Water treatment technology has really advanced to the stage where almost any water can be treated to a potable standard

ception related to water reuse is water quality and cost, he says. In the coastal areas it is, for instance, much more cost effective to reuse effluent to potable standards compared to

transfer schemes. The scarcity of water has forced water users to reassess the reuse po-

the desalination of sea water. Further away from the coast,

tential of local water sources. This is why reuse is such an

it is more cost effective to utilise local effluent compared

important part of the arsenal of water sources.

to transferring raw water over long distances.

He adds that Bigen Africa has been involved in a num-

The myths relating to water quality are, however, a little

ber of projects where the optimisation of local resources

bit harder to debunk as they are often as a result of misin-

through reuse has significantly improved the water

formation and perceptions. Water treatment technology

supply to an area. Not only is there a financial benefit in

has really advanced to the stage where almost any water

applying water reuse, but in most cases water security is

can be treated to a potable standard. The limiting factor

also improved.

would the cost to treat the water and not the quality

In fact, taking local conditions into consideration only


The most common miscon-

achievable from the reuse facility.

serves to highlight the advantages of water reuse further.

He adds that to change perceptions takes time and even

This is exactly the advantage of water reuse: the fact that

sometimes urgency and necessity as a result of an almost

it is local and that long pipelines are often not required. In

desperate situation. In the case of Windhoek, for instance, NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

HOT SEAT separation, oxidation, disinfection, adsorption and desalination. Relating to the local markets and the technologies being rolled out in South Africa specifically, he says three types of water reuse plants are being constructed: municipal water reuse, mine water reuse and industrial water reuse plants. According to Van der Walt, municipal water reuse often uses the effluent from wastewater treatment after impoundment in a dam. Examples of such plants include Roodeplaat WTW, Bospoort WTW, Rietvlei WTW. Many mines are also now implementing water reuse plants to treat water returned from tailings dams, underground activities or opencast areas. A good example is the recently completed eMalahleni water reclamation plant that treats water abstracted from local coal mines to potable standards. Many of the platinum mines are also constructing water reclamation plant utilising water returned from their tailings storage facilities for industrial quality water, says Van der Walt, adding that many examples exist of large industrial water reuse plants.

NWRS 2 supports water reuse With the gazetting of the National Water Resources Strategy 2nd edition (NWRS 2) on 22 August 2013, South Africa is moving into a new era of water management. The Department of Water Affairs commented on the current context, saying that, in assessing the situation, dealing with the present as well as moving into the future, it should be clear that South Africa will need to adopt an advanced and smart water management approach. The traditional approach of mainly focusing on new water resource development must be extended to also address and prioritise sustainable management including asset management and effective there was not much of an option but to reuse water and treat to potable standards. In such cases consumers are less resistant to change. The fact that more water reuse schemes are being implemented provides a large pool of proof that water reuse can work in a sustainable manner, says Van der Walt. This builds confidence among consumers.

IMAGES A water reuse highlight recently undertaken by Bigen is the Roodeplaat WTW in Gauteng

operations, effective use and demand management, local resource optimisation including ground water utilisation, water systems management and control, reuse, desalination and utilisation of sea water, new technology and, very importantly, the protection of our precious water resources. This again has brought water reuse into the limelight, and Van der Walt agrees this is a necessity. The NWRS 2

Treatment technologies

absolutely supports water reuse as key building block to

According to Van der Walt, the type of technology used in

optimise local resources, he says.

water reuse depends entirely on the quality of the water

He adds that this is of critical importance because, if lo-

that needs to be treated. A variety of unit processes are

cal resources are not optimised through reuse, expensive

available to treat specific contaminant present in the

and large transfer schemes need to be constructed and

water. These processes are linked in a treatment train

this will increase the cost of water to consumers. In some

to ensure potable water. The most common types of

cases it is just uneconomical to bring water from afar and

process used during domestic water reuse include phase

water reuse is the only alternative. ▶ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013



Water can be reused, traded, treated and reused again and again. In some cases, water builds up a ‘memory’, but technology exists that can remove this water memory

up a memory , but technology exists that can remove this water memory to produce a product that is cleaner than rainwater. As such, these projects are set to change the water landscape in the communities and regions they are located in through quite simply, as he explains, ensuring a more sustainable and affordable drinking water . However, this does not mean that the roll-out of reuse

Projected priorities

projects and technologies is without challenges. Water

Bigen Africa has also taken this into consideration in its fo-

reuse is a dynamic field as no water reuse scheme is the

cus moving forward. As Van der Walt explains, the compa-

same. The key challenge is to identify the key risks associ-

ny s focus is to ensure that the local resource is optimally

ated with the water source, the technology required, the

utilised and forms part of a feasible project at an afforda-

public perception and the environmental impacts.

ble water cost ensuring that the consumer health is protected by selecting appropriate treatment technology . He adds: The key to water reuse scheme is to identify

How is Bigen Africa assisting in overcoming these challenges? Through continuous innovation, says Van der Walt quite simply.

the opportunity first. The rest is more of an engineering

Without the reuse of water, he believes the South African

challenge. Our focus will be to identify more water

landscape of tomorrow looks both dry and thirsty. With it?

reuse opportunities.

Not so dry and thirsty, he concludes.

Some of Bigen Africa s most recent completed projects include the Roodeplaat WTW 60 Mℓ/d process upgrade, which has been a highlight for Van der Walt. New developments include a number of reuse plants in the Rustenburg and Mangaung areas. These projects are still being conceptualised and not much detail is available. These projects are, however, unique ‒ especially in the local context ‒ as they are the start a new way of thinking about water as capital and not simply a consumable, says Van der Walt. Water can be reused, traded, treated and reused again and again. In some cases, water builds

DOING GOOD WHILE DOING BUSINESS As an infrastructure development company providing engineering, management consulting, development financing and advisory services, Bigen Africa implemented its five-year strategy, S-Vision 2016, to address business principles such as profitability, product improvement and development, value-added agreements with stakeholders and the enhancement of the development impact of strategic projects. The ultimate goal of the strategy is to develop infrastructure sustainably in Africa – where the company has an expanding footprint – and in such a way that its use emanates socially desirable developmental outcomes, including access to services, reduction of poverty, capacity building, empowerment and the creation of employment opportunities. This objective extends to delivering products in such a way that it complements the key emerging public policy priorities in countries in, among others, developing and improving integrated human settlements, rural areas, renewable energy, road and rail freight transport, and the operation and maintenance of existing infrastructure. These services have been identified as priority areas for Bigen Africa’s participation and contribution, and S-Vision 2016 includes expanding Bigen Africa’s contribution to asset management, roads and transport, mining and energy, while continuing to excel in water and sanitation, human settlement, structures and development financing services. The company aims to develop infrastructure in a way that improves the quality of life of all project stakeholders – be it by training and hiring community members during project construction, providing municipal billing systems that benefit both consumer and service provider or assisting communities in establishing and running local forums to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from projects in their communities. Community investment activities are guided by the Intuthuko Foundation, which was established by Bigen Africa in partnership with its development partners, to enhance social cohesion and promote economic development in a more structured and integrated approach. Crucial to its success in achieving technical excellence and innovation is its partnership approach. Partnerships feature prominently in Bigen Africa’s growth strategy; its value proposition stresses that the company integrates the entire value chain in infrastructure development through in-house capabilities and strategic partnerships.



The top infrastructure and service delivery stories making the news

SA beaches proudly fly blue flags In September, World Tourism Day 2013 was celebrated across the provinces with the theme: Tourism and Water. In keeping with this theme, Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, launched the new Blue Flag 2013/14 season in Ramsgate, KwaZulu-Natal on 8 October 2013.

HE SOUTH COAST is a very special jewel in the



crown of KwaZulu-Natal. This is indeed a fitting venue for the event given that the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast is the stronghold of the Blue Flag

programme in the province, the minister said. According to a statement released by the office of the Minister of Tourism, the environment is one of tourism s most valuable resources and they enjoy a mutually beneficial sustainable relationship. Many touristic activities depend very directly on water, not least golf courses, rivers and lakes, pools and spas, irrigated gardens and hotel guest rooms. For other tourism activities that depend on fauna and flora and a moderate climate, the dependence on water is indirect. As the global sector grows, its impact on natural resources also grows, and therefore the need for sustainable planning and management becomes imperative for this industry ‒ and Blue Flag does just that. Therefore, the statement said, in order to promote and ensure quality water for inland and marine tourism, the Blue Flag and Blue Drop programmes were introduced. The Blue Flag programme promotes sustainable development on marine areas, and the Blue Drop is an innovative means to manage the tap water quality. The voluntary ecolabel is given to beaches that meet 32 main criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management: (1) water quality, (2) environmental education and information, (3) environmental management and (4) safety and services, which include excellent life-saving standards, top-rate parking and sparkling ablution facilities. Blue Flag originated in Europe in 1987 with the sole purpose of encouraging beaches to comply with the European Union s Bathing Water Directive. From that starting point, the programme has grown and developed significantly. Internationally, this year sees the programme running successfully for 27 years. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the international Blue Flag is the most well-known and oldest thriving ecolabel of its kind. Currently, more than


5 KwaZulu-Natal

MARINA AND BEACH Thesens Islands, Knysna Yachport, Sladanha Bay Granger Nay Water Club, Cape Town False Bay Yacht Club, Cape Town Royal Alfred Marina, Port Alfred Southport, Hibicus Coast Municipality (HCM) Ramsgate, HCM Lucien, HCM

Umzumbe, HCM Trafalgar, HCM Marina, HCM 18 Alkanstrand, Richards Bay, uMhlatuze Western Cape beaches Strandfontein, Vredendal, Matzikama Silverstroomstrand, Atlantis, City of Cape Town (COCT) Camps Bay, COCT Clifton IV, COCT Bikini, Gordon's Bay, COCT Muizenburg, COCT Strandfontein, COCT Mnandi, COCT Llandudno, COCT Kleinmond, Overstrand Hawston, Hermanus, Overstrand Grotto, Hermanus, Overstrand Witsand, Hessequa Lappesbaai, Stilbaai, Hessequa Gouritsmond, Hessequa Preekstoel, Stilbaai De Bakke, Mossel Bay Little Brak Beach (Kleinbrak), Mossel Bay Santos, Mossel Bay Hartenbos, Mossel Bay Wilderness, Garden Route national Park, Eden Buffalo Bay, Knysna Brenton Bay, Knysna Keurboomstrand, Plettenburg Bay, Bitou Robberg 5, Plettenburg Bay, Bitou 26 Nature's Valley, Garden Route National Park, Bitou Eastern Cape beaches Dolphin, Jeffrey's Bay, Kouga Humewood Beach, NMMB Kings, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Kriega, Kenton-on-Sea, Ndlambe Middle, Ndlambe Kleinemonde, West Beach, Ndlambe Bokness, Ndlambe 8 Kellys, Ndlambe Northern Cape beaches McDougalls Bay, Port Nolloth, Richtersveld 1 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013


40 countries across Europe as well as South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean are

The international Blue Flag is the most well-known and oldest thriving ecolabel of its kinde

participating in the programme.

In addition to beaches, the programme now also provides environmental


to marinas and whale-watching boats. This year, for the first

In 2013, internationally, 3 849 beaches and marinas were

time, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were included in the

awarded Blue Flag status.

International Blue Flag Criteria.

This year, South Africa celebrates its 13th year of

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and

running the Blue Flag successfully. High on our list of

one that is heavily dependent on a natural resource base.

achievements we are celebrating is the growth of Blue

Attractive coastal landscapes, such sandy beaches, dune

Flag beaches, from only three beaches in the first year to

areas, estuaries and coastal lakes, are also preferred sites

41 beaches and 5 marinas for this year. Twelve beaches

for tourism development. Hence, uncontrolled and ill-

also hold pilot status. Growth has been significant and

planned tourism significantly degrades the environment.

sustainable for most coastal municipalities and each year

Water management is important in that it promotes

sees new beaches being introduced to the programme,

a good image of the country, which in turn will result

said the statement. The host province, KwaZulu-Natal,

in tourism growth and job creation. The lack of water

proudly boasts four beaches with pilot status in the

management in the country can result in the decrease of

eThekwini Municipality.

investment and have a negative impact on the environ-

Although the original focus of the international Blue Flag

ment, conservation and health, concluded the statement.

programme was on encouraging beaches to comply with water quality standards, it has since expanded to take a

Blue Flag 2013/14

holistic view of safety, amenities, cleanliness and envi-

KwaZulu-Natal beaches with pilot status: eThekwini

ronmental management issues, with a strong focus on

Municipality ‒ Umdloti main, Umdloti tidal, uShaka

environmental education and biodiversity conservation.

and Umgababa.



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A touch of French flair Degrémont South Africa, a locally based subsidiary of Suez Environnement, has carried out more than 100 projects in South Africa since 1968. Recently, a touch of French flair was added to the local contingent when Remy Jaffray joined the South African team as general manager. AFFRAY, WHO WAS born and bred in France

Although at the time of the interview, Jaffray had only

and educated at the École Centrale de Marseille,

been in the country for one month, he has already been

has been in the water industry since 2004, having

able to note that the civil construction culture locally is

worked for ‒ among others ‒ Veolia Water and

very different from the European one. In South Africa

Nalco, before joining Degrémont, primarily in wastewater

the consultants are very important. In my country it is

treatment. His appointment as general manager to the

much more the client who is important. Therefore here

South African subsidiary of Degrémont is also not his first

we have a lot more work to do to contact the consultant,

visit to Africa ‒ he was based in Morocco for a number

explain to them how we can assist them in the design

of years, during which his focus was on drinking water

process and how we can further assist in adding value on

and desalination.

the project, he continues.


Jaffray is very excited to be part of the South African

According to Jaffray, consultants aren t always aware

Degrémont team. I think it s a great company. There are

of all the technologies that are available to them, and

many people who have been working for Degrémont for

for him it is not merely about market penetration, but

30 or 40 years ‒ it s a good indicator of a stable working

rather about educating the market to the technologies

environment and the continuity in experience is very im-

available to them. We also bring a lot of experience to

portant, says Jaffray. He adds that it is also good to have

the table.

a young dynamic individuals like him at the helm as this

Degrémont is different as a company, believes Jaffray.

creates an opportunity for not only innovation, but rather

If we are going to build a wastewater plant, for example,

innovation and dynamism, tempered by the experience

we don t only have the classical plant in our repertoire.

already present in the company.

We have a very wide research and development depart-

Degrémont itself has a global vision, being a pure

ment. And we spend a lot of money on how to improve

French company, says Jaffray, and he sees his role as

the process, because we don t want to do what has

primarily creating a link between Degrémont s head

already been done in the past.

office and Degrémont South Africa because the cul-

Additionally, he believes when it comes to water reuse

ture is so different between the two. If we want to

and sludge treatment, Degrémont cannot be beaten.

deliver and deliver well, we need to utilise the many experts and experience available to Degrémont on an

We are a world leader in this technology. If you consider the water reuse aspect, Degrémont was the first compa-

international scale. If the solid link is not there and we

ny that entered into water reuse using membrane

don t know who to contact, then how do we

technology. In this regard, we have spent a lot

create excellence?

of money and time on perfecting the use

While he admits that South Africa is a

of membrane technology in water reuse,

very small subsidiary, he believes the

with more than 10 years experience in

local division is up to any size job, big or

this. By now we know how to manage

small. We have a massive collection of

a number of challenges in this regard

experience and expertise available to us

too ‒ and we can avoid the mishaps.

through Degrémont as a whole and at

That is the major difference between

head office. I need to find a good way

Degrémont and its competitors ‒ we

to work with them to support our local

have the experience and know-how

initiatives, says Jaffray.

to assist the consultant.

His first mission locally therefore is to develop all Degrémont s South Africa-based activities.

Until now we

“We have spent a lot of money and time on perfecting the use of membrane technology in water reuse.” Remy Jaffray,

have really only provided a small portion of what we can, such as spare parts. We can provide much more, for example turnkey plants, equipment, drinking water production plants, desalination options, wastewater reuse and biosolids, explains Jaffray. This necessitates a

general manager, Degrémont

global perspective in the local office.





New extrusion line DPI Plastics – a manufacturer of water reticulation, drainage and pipe-fitting systems in South Africa – has recently commenced production of its new 630 mm bore PVC, following the final installation of its new KraussMaffei extrusion line. PI PLASTICS TECHNICAL and

effective and boasts a longer life expectancy

into Africa too. Our clients in Africa have


when compared to industry standard steel

shown a considerable amount of interest

and concrete.

in the 630 mm PVC piping range. With con-




Snyman, notes that the company identified the need to increase

DPI Plastics will be manufacturing a total

tinued infrastructural development taking

the maximum bore of its PVC pipe range

of three 630 mm PVC piping products using

place across the continent, I am confident

from 500 to 630 mm following numerous

the new KraussMaffei extrusion line, namely

that the new range can obtain measurable

queries from the local market. After com-

SANS 966 approved uPVC pipe with pressure

market share within a relatively short period

pleting a thorough market study in late

ratings up to 9 bar, SANS 966 approved

of time.

2012, we identified significant potential

mPVC pipe with pressure ratings up to 12 bar

In a constantly evolving market, it is

for 630 mm PVC pipes in bulk water and

and SANS 791 approved underground sew-

important to proactively adapt to changes.

sewerage applications, and made the deci-

erage and drainage pipe that is available in

By installing the new KraussMaffei extrusion

sion to install the new extrusion line at our

both standard-duty and heavy-duty options.

line, DPI Plastics is not only increasing its

Snyman indicates that the entire new

output capability, but also exposing itself to

Johannesburg factory in early 2013. He





630 mm PVC piping range will be exported

new markets.

engineered KraussMaffei extrusion line is capable of producing approximately 22 t of PVC pipe per day. The extrusion line is expected to be fully installed by mid-July 2013, and this high production volume will provide a cost-effective solution and competitive turnaround times for large scale projects. According to Snyman, the new extrusion line will open up new avenues of growth for PVC as a competitor in the bulk water, stormwater and sewerage industries, which are currently dominated by materials such as steel and concrete. PVC is more cost



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From strength to strength The past chairman of the Small Wastewater Treatment Works Suppliers Association (SEWPACKSA), Karl Juncker, highlights the significant accomplishments of the association since its inception in 2010. An SBR Plant built in 1993 for the community of Walkerville

Deliverables is an integral part of the plan. While the Matrix of Minimum Deliverables has already been finely tuned, it is by nature a moving picture, with continual changes to legislation, circumstances and thought processes, so it will consequently remain a working document that will mutate on an ongoing basis. SEWPACKSA has this year introduced a policy and procedure for handling of complaints regarding member compliance to its standards of quality. Ross said that the complaints procedure and enforcement of standards may sound a tad draconian; however, it is more of a negotiated directive tool for the betterment of the broader industry. The interaction between suppliers and end users is encouraged, and it is not inconceivable that end users who operate their


With the immense effort and dedication

AGM held recently, Juncker said

that the founding EXCO members put into

that the association s membership

the establishment of SEWPACKSA, the re-

The alignment (both technical and ad-

is representative of the majority of

sultant sound foundation and visionary way

ministrative) and establishment of a formal

the suppliers in the industry. The executive

forward should be a must join message for

working relationship between the suppliers

committee (EXCO) also comprises the main

all associated with the industry, no matter

(SEWPACKSA) and the industry stakehold-

role players in the industry. One of the most

how far removed a particular potential

ers is possibly the most important goal of

significant achievements of SEWPACKSA

member may feel. The industry has been

SEWPACKSA ‒ to have a sound common

since its inception is the constitution that

historically fragmented, with each supplier

front within the industry and to be the ne-

was created by Advocate Este Becker. The

operating in isolation and, thus, lone voices

gotiating voice heard by all stakeholders.

document has a strong legal standing and

in the multiple authority driven minefield

is a very important strategic document

of conflicting legislation and guidelines. A


for SEWPACKSA. The association is also

cohesive single approach is in fact wel-

representative of a communal voice that

comed by such authorities. SEWPACKSA is

consists of suppliers and other representa-

also formulating sound industry standards

tives standing together. These aspects give

and will be available to assist suppliers

SEWPACKSA a lot of credibility. Members of

that may fall short of such standards, on a

SEWPACKSA are required to sign and agree

mentoring basis.

SEWPACKSA EXCO members The new EXCO is made up of a varied, but vast, industry discipline mix. The combination of treatment process, engineering, knowledge of legislation, all underpinned by collective sound business principles, is a winning basket of attributes that will take the association forward to achieve the current desired outcomes.


to the code of conduct and are thus commit-


ted to delivering products and services of a

SEWPACKSA s strategic goals

certain standard and quality, stated Juncker.

Ross provided an insight into the overall ob-

Newly elected chairman Mark Ross is a

jectives of SEWPACKSA s strategic plan an-

well-known person in the package plant in-

nounced at the AGM. The finalisation and

dustry. Speaking at the AGM also, Ross said:

implementation of the Matrix of Minimum NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

own treatment plants could be considered potential members, as plant operators.

SEWPACKSA EXCO for 2012/13 Mark Ross – chairman Stewart Buchanan – vice chairman Ian Wright – other (treasurer) Gary Brown – other (technical) David Light – other (secretary & liaison) Paul Gaydon – other (legislation)

INDUSTRY NEWS With sound management of the association, all the desired outcomes will be achieved and expanded on over time

One of the association s areas of focus is the continual promotion and development of SEWPACKSA among




and of






Small Wastewater Treatment Works



throughout the industry, as well




said: is


as pursuing increased support from clients,

meet standards/process regulation, inter-

cross-pollination of committee members on



action and monitoring, are other important

both the SEWPACKSA EXCO and the WISA

associations. Ross stated that the broader

goals. These endeavours are to be one of

Small Wastewater Treatment Works divi-

the industry mix, the more influential and

the successful outcomes. The current EXCO

sion, thus a very close working relationship

successful SEWPACKSA would become in

cannot function in isolation to the mem-

exists. The blueprints of both organisations,

achieving its desired outcomes. This inclu-

bership and extended stakeholders. With

while having many very close overlapping

sive approach will result in all parties par-

sound management of the association, all

aspirations, are complemented by the

ticipating in debate and decision-making.

the desired outcomes will be achieved and

strengths that each brings to the table.

Promoting the association, at all levels of

expanded on over time, he reiterates.



As SEWPACKSA continues to grow and set the high standards for the industry,

industry interest is thus imperative. The development of further input and


involvement of members, which will include


the training of requirements, assistance to





this is an association that is undoubtedly importance




setting the trends in the wastewater treatment industry.

Ongoing balancing act “The next 5 to 10 years will see South Africa continue to focus on redressing economic infrastructure backlogs and inadequacies with a view to stimulating growth and employment, and reducing poverty and inequality,” says Dave Lewis, GIBB’s technical executive in the Integrated Infrastructure Services Sector.





Infrastructure Commission s


not been adequately dealt with. A historic

Africa provide the greatest opportunities


lack of maintenance has resulted in de-

for firms such as GIBB.



teriorating infrastructure, which needs to

GIBB is well positioned to play a role

Development Plan, incorporating

be addressed. In addition, government is

in all these areas of development. It has a

the Coordinated National Infrastructure

committed to providing housing and basic

strong rail team and is currently working

Plan and its 18 Strategic Integrated Projects

services for disadvantaged communities,

on Medupi as part of Eskom s Panel B.

(SIPs), will inform much of what happens in

he says.

In addition, the firm has an Africa Desk,

the industry over the next few years.

Importantly, new infrastructure is re-

which focuses on projects within the

The policies and implementation plans

quired to enable the private sector to invest

that are developed will hopefully provide

in the economy. Balancing the three areas

Lewis concludes that while South Africa

a clear indication of the targets, activities,

is challenging. While there has been some

faces many challenges, with challenge

outputs and milestones or deliverables

progress with backlogs, efforts need to be

comes opportunity. According to a recent

needed to achieve the set goals. The suc-

maintained. The 2010 World Cup stimulat-

UK poll, South Africa is one of the top three

cess of these plans will depend on their

ed investment in improved infrastructure,

tourist destinations worldwide. GIBB is

successful implementation, which means

but this needs to continue, states Lewis.

positive about the country s future and the

greater continent.

policies need to be clear and there must be

Within a global context, there is a strong

wealth of opportunities it offers. We also

capacity to implement them. In addition,

focus on Africa and Lewis says South

know we need to be part of the solution in

they need to be credible and stimulate

African firms face strong competition from

addressing the challenges.

investment, continues Lewis.





For the industry, this means finding ways

South African firms are being bought out by


to address procurement procedures and

multinationals. This means stronger com-

develop capacity in the public sector,

petition for the larger projects with firms

while municipalities have the challenge of

being able to offer international expertise.

Born and raised in the UK, Dave Lewis graduated with an honours degree in civil engineering from the Hampshire University in 1986. After a brief stint training as a teacher, Lewis joined Alexander GIBB in the UK as a structural engineer in 1987. In 1997 he accepted a secondment to Durban and later moved to the firm’s Johannesburg office – his current base – where his main focus has been on urban settlement projects.

balancing operational and management

Lewis explains that Transnet s investment

costs of existing infrastructure, eradicating

in rail infrastructure, Eskom s new build

backlogs and providing new infrastructure.

programme (particularly renewable ener-

Lewis adds that ageing infrastructure has

gy), provincial and local authorities, and NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Strengthening sales operation in South Africa Two years after breaking ground, Endress+Hauser has celebrated the opening of a new building in Sandton, Johannesburg. Modern offices, training facilities and an auditorium provide an ideal sales and marketing environment for the company. N THE PRESENCE of CEO Klaus

on the existing site, houses more than just

Endress and numerous guests of hon-

spacious oďŹƒces and meeting rooms for

This new facility relieves space shortages

our from government and industry,

the 80 or so employees in Sandton. Of the

and provides an ideal environment for

the new Endress+Hauser South Africa

1 500 m2 of total oor space in the new

working with our customers,

headquarters was oďŹƒcially opened on

building, 600 m2 is dedicated to maintain-

MacKenzie, MD of Endress+Hauser South

3 October 2013. The new building, situated

ing customer contact. A spacious reception

Africa. We now have the right conditions for

area, training rooms and a 100-seat audito-

further growth in the subequatorial African

rium are designed to facilitate the exchange

market. Endress+Hauser invested R43 mil-

of knowledge and to further strengthen

lion in the expansion and a high value was

customer relationships.

placed on an energy-eďŹƒcient design. The


Gateway to the African market: Endress+Hauser South Africa has opened a new building in Johannesburg


Room for further growth

says Rob

In addition to oďŹƒces and confer-

environmentally friendly building features a

ence rooms, the two-storey open-

sophisticated air-conditioning system, solar

plan building oers employees social

panels and motion-sensitive lighting.

interaction zones and a cafeteria

South Africa is an important gateway to

with a covered patio. A direct link to

the African continent for Endress+Hauser.

the existing building ensures smooth

The measurement and automation technol-

operation. This original building,

ogy specialist established a subsidiary on

which opened in 1987, has been

the southern tip of Africa in 1984. In order to

converted into an expanded logis-

optimally manage its customers, the compa-

tics and service centre, including

ny maintains oďŹƒces in four cities around the

warehouse, staging area, workshops

country, in addition to its headquarters in

and a ow calibration centre. In total,

Sandton. The expanded headquarters also

the two buildings in Sandton boast

supports sales partners in around a dozen

3 700 m2 of oor space.

African countries south of the equator.




:DWHUÂżOWUDWLRQZDWHU WUHDWPHQWSODQWVDQGSXPS VWDWLRQVGHVLJQHGDQGEXLOW E\$6:*URXSRI&RPSDQLHV $6:+($'2)),&( 53 Gerhardus Street,Strijdom Park, Johannesburg, South Africa Branches - Cape Town and Durban Tel: (0027) 11 793 1330 Fax: (0027) 11 793 4829 Email:



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Serious about water Protea Chemicals officially opened its new Chlorine Plant and distribution facility on the existing Omnia site in Sasolburg on 23 October 2013. “This new facility will be brought into production on budget and on time,” says Protea Chemicals’ project consultant, Peter Leopold.

Pipes that last for more than a lifetime


HIS IS A major investment for Protea ‒ one of the largest the company has made in a production facility. It is a demonstration of the company s commitment to the water treatment industry in

Southern Africa and complements its strong position in the

The world is changing around us –

production and marketing of other water treatment chemicals, says Leopold.

everyday. Technological advances demand

Chlorine is used primarily by municipalities for the cost-

ongoing upgrades and solutions, upkeep and

effective sanitisation of potable water. The supply of chlorine

maintenance, but not ROCLA pipes. Because

is therefore critical to the production of drinking water and

superb design and leading-edge manufacturing

the disinfection of sewage. There has, since 2004, been only one plant in South Africa that supplied packed chlorine to

processes ensure that ROCLA provides the truly

this industry. The advent of a second supplier ‒ first con-

permanent piping solution.

ceived of in 2009 ‒ gives comfort to the market because there are now two plants that can supply its requirements, according to Leopold. This is a significant change in the stra-

ROCLA is ISO 9001:2008 certified and

tegic supply risk and will therefore have a significant impact.

has the SABS mark of approval on all applicable









Southern Africa.


Chlorine still crucial In spite of the occasional attention attracted by other


technologies, it remains true to say that more than 95% of the world s drinking water is disinfected with chlorine. There are no other technologies that provide all the technical and commercial advantages in one chemical or treatment pro-


cess, explains Leopold. This does not mean that the production and distribution

Contact ROCLA now on Tel: (011) 670-7600 or Fax: 086 675 8985 Web:

of chlorine is without challenges. Chlorine is a hazardous chemical so there are ethical and legal aspects related to its




PROTEA CHEMICALS safe production, handling and distribution.

a fundamentally easy product to use; it

Our plant is a new greenfield site and all

is hazardous, it is governed by rules and

the equipment, tanks and cylinders are

regulations and it requires the support of

new. We had no legacy of existing plant or

a training and safety infrastructure.

technologies to which we had to adapt, so

believe that by applying our considerable

we were able to source the latest and best

expert knowledge in all these fields, we will

of everything, he explains. An example of

be able to make the purchase and use of


this is evident in that every tank and cylin-

chlorine a more cost-effective experience

der has its own unique RFID tag, so Protea

for our customers.

and its customers know where it is at all stages of its life.

It is important to see that the chlorine project is a component of Protea s overall

As mentioned above, the RFID tracking

presence in water treatment chemicals.

is a significant innovation because these

The group is already a major player in

tanks and cylinders can end up in some

this industry and its capability includes

really remote places and keeping track of

Zetachem s well-known production facil-

them is a commercial and legal require-

ities in Durban and Cape Town, as well as

ment. In addition, we have a tank that is

major trading operations in all water treat-

filled to a full 1 tonne net weight. This is

ment chemical commodities. The chlorine

8% more than the commonly used mass

project therefore is another cornerstone

and enables us to get better filling and

in an already established business sector,

transport economics.

concludes Leopold.

The bigger picture

OPPOSITE AND RIGHT The facility utilises a 1 tonne tank with state-of-the-art monitoring technology

Protea is part of the Omnia group and shares the vision of

creating customer

wealth by leveraging knowledge , explains Leopold. He adds that chlorine is also not

TOP RIGHT Omnia Group MD Rod Humphris officially opens the Chlorine plant NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

The world needs fewer engineering companies. Rebranded as Royal HaskoningDHV, SSI Engineers & Environmental Consultants believes in being more than an engineering company. Our rebranding to Royal HaskoningDHV ushers in a new class of engineers and consultants, offering solutions for the sustainable interaction between people and their environment, ultimately enhancing society together.




A potential game changer Groundwater has always been an integral part of water supply in South Africa and ancient civilisations. However, because of its hidden nature and the skill required to find, exploit and manage it, this resource is often overlooked as a reliable water source, says Water Research Commission’s (WRC) research manager, Dr Shafick Adams. HE LATEST NATIONAL Water Resource Strategy

He contends that there is a lack of skilled technicians

(NWRS 2) now incorporates groundwater in

and other operation and management specialists, par-

a meaningful way, enabled by the National

ticularly in small towns and remote areas where many

Groundwater Strategy of 2010,

says Adams.

groundwater schemes are found. From a groundwater

He adds that groundwater, if managed correctly, has

governance point of view, municipalities lack the human

the potential to significantly add to the country s water

resource capacity to effectively implement groundwater

supply mix.

governance provisions.


However, groundwater unfortunately does not get

He adds that it should also be noted that often there is

the attention it deserves at the implementation level.

no funding explicitly allocated to groundwater manage-

We have very good local policies, regulations, strategies,

ment in the municipal budget.

tools, guidelines, information, etc. However, efficient management of groundwater relies on the effectiveness

A numbers game

of applicable legislation and institutional arrangements

The scale of investment required in new water infra-

as well as good understanding of the behaviour of the

structure over the next decade has been estimated at

aquifer or well-field being managed.

R668 billion, states Adams. This investment estimate relies mainly on surface water developments. Greater use of groundwater might mitigate these costs and reduce the financial, environmental and social costs to the country. According to Adams, in South Africa, about 98% of groundwater is found in fractured, hard rock aquifer systems. Primary aquifers are restricted to coastal sand deposits along the west and south coast of the Cape and along the KwaZulu-Natal coast. Secondary aquifers (i.e. hard rock aquifers), whose hydrogeological properties are enhanced by weathering, fracturing and faulting of hard rock, are the most dominant, with major aquifers being associated with dolomitic rocks, quartzite and sandstone of the Table Mountain Group, and sandstone and shale of the Karoo Sequence. The total volume of available renewable groundwater is therefore estimated to be between 10 343 million cubic metres per annum (7 500 million cubic metres per annum under drought conditions). Current use is estimated between 2 000 and 4 000 million cubic metres per annum, says Adams.

A challenging context There are, however, challenges faced in accessing this resource. As Adams indicates, a recent World Bank funded study found that the technical, legal and institutional, and operational governance provisions are reasonable, but weak for cross-sector policy coordination. Institutional capacity is weak across all thematic areas, except for the technical provisions.



FEATURE: GROUNDWATER At the local level, the picture is not getting better.

groundwater-related research project was initiated in

Overutilisation and poor management of the groundwa-

1974, funding for groundwater projects has varied be-

ter resources and related infrastructure are often due to

tween 6 and 16% of the commission s annual research

poor or non-existent management plans and governance

spending. A study investigating this research impact

provisions, he states.

a few years ago found this investment to be the most

Adams believes these challenges can be overcome ‒

significant contribution to the building of capacity for the

albeit not easily. In this case, he refers to Jude Cobbing,

sustainable utilisation and management of groundwater

who noted in his paper at the recent Groundwater

resources in South Africa.

Division conference that: Of all of the issues, it appears

In addition, he notes that the same article indicated

that operation and maintenance (O&M) is the key to

that the WRC invested more than R5 million in ground-

groundwater scheme sustainability. While hydrogeologi-

water projects last year, with another R2.8 million

cal issues such as recharge, transmissivity and groundwa-

planned spending this financial year.

ter quality are important (and influence O&M), it is O&M

areas of focus include groundwater-surface interactions

that makes or breaks a groundwater supply.

and improving understanding of South Africa s vast

The current

However, several municipalities seem to be getting it

fractured rock aquifers in terms of hydraulic behaviour

right, mainly due to the phenomenon of bureaucratic

and chemical characteristics. Another focus is around

entrepreneurs or groundwater champions, continues

building and understanding and developing the neces-

Adams. It is clear that groundwater needs to be taken

sary tools for groundwater management at the local (i.e.

more seriously as a large number of towns and people

municipal) level.

rely on this precious resource. The almost non-existent capacities within local authorities need serious attention

Changing our focus

at all levels. Groundwater is a viable water supply option

According to Adams, science should provide us with the

if managed correctly, including being supported by prop-

foundation for credible decision-making. Only through

er governance provisions.

adequate knowledge about the behaviour, occurrence, interaction with other reservoirs and risks as well as

Increasing public awareness

through finding innovative solutions can we develop and

Adams notes an increasing public awareness of ground-

manage our groundwater resources efficiently, sus-

water due to the public debates of the potential impact

tainably and equitably. However, science alone does

of unconventional gas development and the efforts

not necessarily drive policy and regulatory decisions,

of the WRC and the groundwater division of the

but is usually considered with other relevant factors.

Geological Society of South Africa.

As such, he contends that South Africa s focus

While unconventional gas development is an

by and large needs to be on implementation of the

important issue, we cannot neglect the fact that

available tools, frameworks, policies, guidelines and

groundwater has not been properly managed

best practices, as well as proper financing of groundwa-

at the local level. Operation and maintenance issues are depriving communities of accessible water and the economy of significant growth, says Adams. He









managed in several areas. It has the

ter schemes that include long-term

“Groundwater is a viable water supply option if managed correctly, including being supported by proper governance provisions.” Dr

operation and maintenance costs and

Shafick Adams, research manager, WRC

inter- and intra-institutional coopera-

potential to augment future water supply needs in a

improving governance provisions at all levels. We have all the technical experts in the country that can solve all our technical issues. It is the softer tion and management issues that are

our Achilles heel, states Adams.

meaningful way through conjunctive use. It is also a very

Additionally, he points out that the DWA Groundwater

good buffer during drought periods. It is thus imperative

Strategy (2010) identified the following priority actions to

to protect and conserve this valuable resource and to

enhance the implementation of the National Water Act:

manage it sustainably.

• policy, legislation and regulation • water resources planning

Continuing investment

• human capacity

As such, he believes given the extensive research the

• sustainable groundwater management

WRC has put into the subject, there are several ground-

• institutional capacity

breaking projects that are noteworthy, and we have

• information management

a suite of projects that aim to unlock our groundwater

• research

reserves and to manage it in a sustainable manner .

• communication and awareness.

They range from favourable zone identification for

According to Adams, putting it simplistically, all stake-

groundwater development, focusing on options analysis

holders need to step up!

for local municipalities, groundwater management

If this is the case, and the future is one where we have

functions, identifying and quantifying groundwater

fulfilled the vision of both the African Minister s Council

development options, groundwater valuations and

on Water as well as the 2025 Africa Water Vision, the fu-

groundwater governance.

ture can only be an Africa where groundwater resources

Adams references a recent article in the WRC s Water Wheel, when he adds that: Since the first WRC

are valued and utilised sustainably by empowered stakeholders, concludes Adams. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Working together to make SA’s resources last Having spent many years finding groundwater sources to give towns and villages access to this precious resource, water users and water service providers in South Africa must start talking to each other to better manage scarce groundwater resources and avoid pumping the country’s aquifers dry. HIS WARNING FROM Gert Nel, partner and


principal geohydrologist in SRK Consulting s East London office, comes at a time when some towns in relatively dry provinces are relying increasingly

on groundwater, in the absence of sufficient surface water in rivers and dams. About 12 years ago, in the early years of starting up the SRK office in East London, Nel remembers working on groundwater feasibility studies to establish the quantity and quality of groundwater in various areas of the province. A number of well fields and boreholes were developed as a result; the issue now is to look after them. South Africa is blessed with substantial but finite groundwater resources. If we don t properly monitor


ABOVE Largescale irrigation next to town dependent on groundwater RIGHT Lusikisiki Town Water Supply – Drilling of a high-yielding borehole

how much can actually be abstracted over a period before we threaten the sustainability of the aquifer. This gives authorities and users an overview of water availability in their area. This has proved to be a good starting point for water planning strategies, although it does not by itself solve the problem.

and manage the boreholes we install, then groundwater

Local authorities, for example, have generally only

resources can easily be overexploited and can run dry, he

looked at their own use ‒ the use by the homes and busi-

says. Then we have to repeat the whole costly process of

nesses they supply within their jurisdiction of towns and

finding other groundwater resources and accessing them,

villages ‒ when checking their abstraction levels against

while remembering these opportunities are not limitless.

the flow potential of the aquifer. The private use of

It is therefore vital that water service providers (usually

groundwater ‒ mainly by farming communities ‒ is often

the local municipalities) and private users (such as farm-

not included in the calculation because farms are usually

ers) understand how much water is in the aquifers that

not supplied by local authorities.

they exploit and how much offtake the aquifers can sus-

What we ve seen is that private abstraction for irrigation

tain. While helping find and access groundwater, SRK be-

often makes up a significant portion of what is pumped

lieves monitoring and management must be emphasised.

from an aquifer, he explains. When asked by water au-

What we have aimed to do over the past couple of

thorities to recommend how much water they can pump

years is to convince authorities to fund the establishment

for their needs, we may conclude that there is enough

of groundwater models as part of aquifer management,

potential in an aquifer to satisfy the town. But if we add

states Nel. A groundwater model is a scientific way of as-

in the demand from, for example, the farming community

sessing how much water is available, how much is replen-

close to the town, we realise that the aquifer could run dry

ished through rainfall and other sources such as rivers, and

over just a few years.  NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

FEATURE: GROUNDWATER This of course demands greater cooperation between the municipalities and the agricultural sector, an area of sensitivity as many farmers have in the past generally been left to operate on their own in this regard. The law is clear that groundwater is a public asset,‒ it does not belong to the person on whose land it occurs, says Nel. So private users cannot use as much as they want, or as much as they can pump from their boreholes. That is why the law requires private users to register their water abstraction with the Department of Water Affairs. As one of those provinces with insufficient surface water is the

INTRODUCING GERT NEL Gert Nel, MSc, is a partner and principal geohydrologist at SRK Consulting in East London, with 21 years’ experience in the fields of hydrogeology. His expertise includes groundwater resource evaluation at local and regional scale, groundwater supply, groundwater management, on-site sanitation and environmental impact assessments. Nel is also involved in groundwater exploration drilling and borehole construction, waste disposal investigations/environmental hydrogeology, groundwater contamination investigations, groundwater awareness training & education, hydrocarbon contamination, and risk assessment and remediation.


Eastern Cape, which is growing more dependent on groundwater, with

Artesian borehole developed for the supply to rural communities in the Mount Frere area

many municipalities looking to develop more production boreholes on private properties ‒ another reason for greater cooperation between these parties. So the challenge is to get the authorities and private users around a table to explain the need for better groundwater management, as in many cases they are both pumping from the same aquifers, he continues. The



requires extra funding and certain scientific skills for monitoring and management, according to Nel. Local authorities tend to prioritise the mandate of delivering water of sufficient quality to their customers, but in fact they are also responsible for managing their local sources of

ABOVE Dried up abandoned borehole near town

water, not just the provision of water to the community, he

ABOVE RIGHT School water supply in the area of Kentani – completed reticulation from a groundwater source

states. The Department of Water Affairs aims to protect water resources on a regional scale and is not going to manage the municipalities water sources for them.

danger is that, without sufficient cooperation, the resources

Specialist engineering skills can be brought in to help

will be depleted, leaving both parties without water at the end

tackle these important tasks if there is a lack of expertise, but

of the day.

funding these specialised inputs continues to be a challenge,

Nel adds that this is not so much an issue in areas where

he concludes.

government is the main landowner (for example, where land is communal), but the concern is mainly where towns are dependent on groundwater ‒ and farmers in the area have historically used groundwater for their irrigation needs. There are some Karoo towns, for instance, which are facing these challenges already; abstraction levels have grown substantially over time and they could face the depletion of their current water source within the next few years, he comments. The Department of Water Affairs, as the overall custodian of the country s water resources, is legally empowered to authorise water use, a process in which it applies terms and conditions. However, before it authorises water use, it would have to take into account other abstractions in the area. The problem is that many private users do not apply for these authorisations, so the department may not be fully aware of how much water is being taken from any specific area, Nels says. When the municipality applies for a water use authorisation in the same area, it is very likely that it will be granted, as the department must assume from its records that there is limited abstraction by private users in the area. According to Nel, the department is still working to get all large private users to register their boreholes and their pumping levels ‒ an initiative it began pushing in the 1980s. The Department of Water Affairs needs this information; if there is large-scale private abstraction in an area where the municipality also needs groundwater, there is always going to be the danger of depletion, he says. And when a municipality runs out of water, the first place they turn to is the department; while it s not the department s responsibility, it often becomes its problem. Implementing a groundwater model as part of a groundwater management strategy, and ongoing monitoring, would help avoid this problem. There is a further issue of skills and financial capacity at local level. As the water service provider, the local municipality has traditionally not focused on the protection of aquifers as this NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Dealing with drainage At the beginning of 2012, construction commenced on Phase 2B of the augmentation of Pretoria’s Moreleta Spruit Outfall Sewer network. HE CITY OF Tshwane contracted Aurecon, a

The contract was awarded to VF Munisi Civils, which

global engineering company, to design and

installed the pipes according to Aurecon s design: the

plan this substantial project. Subterranean water

trenches were dug far larger than the diameter of the

posed problems in certain areas, such as in the

pipes and lined with bidim A4 followed by a series of

leafy suburb of Moreleta Park, where the new pipeline

crushed stone layers to form a base. Once the pipes were

would have to traverse wetlands. The instability of the

positioned onto this stone layer, the trenches were filled

clay soil here posed a further problem as it was essential

with stone and subsequently closed with an overlap


that the pipes be installed on stable platforms and that the crushed stone bedding layers were kept free of silt. It was at this stage of the design process that Aurecon specified Kaytech s bidim A4 geotextile to help alleviate these problems. Bidim has the highest possible throughflow rate while providing excellent filtration characteristics. In sub-soil drainage, as required in this project, bidim performs two functions: filtering and separating soils.

BELOW LEFT AND RIGHT Kaytech - bidim separates the soil from the drainage system to prevent clogging of the subsoil drain

of bidim. Kaytech began supplying the civil engineering industry with its non-woven continuous filament needle-punched polyester bidim geotextile in 1971. In 1978, it began manufacturing geotextiles from 100% polyester, much of which is supplied through recycled cool drink bottles. This formula provides distinct advantages over other man-made fibres: improved modulus of deformation, enhanced plastic yield stability, higher breaking strength and superior wettability. The mechanical process of needle punching allows for an appreciable thickness of the geotextile as well as high porosity, high drainage capacity (both within and normal to the plane), good resistance to damage and a flexibility that aids installation. Although this project is not scheduled for



early 2014, the problem appears to have been solved. The final success of the application will only



once the pipeline is fully



Kaytech believes that its high-performance bidim will prove its efficacy.



Bringing water to Africa and the rest of the world for

ELEVATED TANKS: ABECO offers full-service design, manufacture and installation of support towers steelwork. Basic towers consisting of the support steelwork with a caged access ladder to the roof of the tank are offered in the absence of further specification. Walkways around the base of the tank or rest platforms on access ladders are available on request. Access is required all around pressed steel tanks to tighten bolts. The recommended minimum space around the four sides and above the roof is 600mm and 450mm beneath the tank

CIRCULAR SECTIONAL STEEL TANKS: In developing sectional steel tanks, ABECO recognised a need for tanks that have the following features: • Low cost hygienic water storage • Rugged and easily transportable • Minimal site preparation and foundations • Quick and easy to install • Can be installed using basic equipment • Durable and long lasting • Can be dismantled and re-erected at new sites.

GROUND LEVEL TANKS: Ground level tanks are commonly supported on reinforced concrete dwarf walls fitted with steel capping strips. The purpose of the capping strip is to spread the load over the full load of the support wall and to provide a level platform on which to erect the tank. For practical reasons concrete cannot be cast with sufficient accuracy of level. The capping strips should be positioned in place before the installation of the tank starts. Recommended tolerance is ±2mm. Care should be taken to ensure that foundation walls are parallel and square to each other. Foundation walls must protrude beyond the edge of the tank by a recommended distance of 150mm. The tapered top section of the wall assists in providing access for the tools to fasten.

6A Bradford Road Bedfordview 2007 South Africa

PO Box 751781 Gardenview 2047 South Africa

Tel.: +27 11 616 7999 Fax: +27 11 616 8355



Package plants prioritised Containerised modular systems provide a treatment solution for small water systems that are simple, affordable and effective. HESE SYSTEMS ARE known both


simply by virtue of its smaller dimensions

containerised treatment systems available

as containerised modular systems

and the less invasive nature of its installation.

to African markets. We look at the different

and as package plants, depending

There are fewer moving parts usually pres-

applications of the easy-to-install and op-

on which supplier or industry pro-

ent in these modular systems, which results

erate systems, such as those in the mining

fessional you speak to. They are designed,

in an efficient, highly reliable and affordable

and municipal potable water treatment

pre-packaged and shipped unassembled to

potable water treatment plant or wastewa-

systems, through discussions with some of

the field for installation by a qualified con-

ter treatment plant with low maintenance

the leading providers and industry experts

tractor or installer, and generally require less

and operating costs. In addition, the plants

on containerised modular systems, or pack-

engineering, space and infrastructure.

can often be added and their production

aged plants.

This is ideal for the African context when considering the short installation timelines

capacity therefore increased with just as little stress.

usually expected and quite often the dire

As indicated by our panellists, they are

need for an almost immediate production

therefore ideal for remote locations, have

of high-quality potable water. The fact that

lower day-to-day maintenance and are

package plants take up less space is also in

simple to operate, and can be transported to

line with the global focus on greener, en-

almost anywhere.

vironmentally friendlier options, which the packaged plant s smaller footprint provides

In this edition of Water&Sanitation Africa, we








WATER PURIFICATION CHEMICAL & PLANT CC (WPCP) hat are the advantages of containerised modular systems? MO The



Martin Overy Product manager

to wait for the conventional

cheaper and take about a

the growing population and

concrete-type plants to

quarter of the time to construct,

things like mining infrastructure

be built.

saving labour and time-related

further north in places like

P&G costs.

Mozambique, Zambia as well as

modular system, as the name

How technology-intensive are they? They are fairly

our intention to focus on this,

plants or built on-site out of

What are the challenges to the roll-out of these systems? The usual challenges

concrete (or steel) in such

include, but are not limited to:

technology intensive, but can

on our current South African

a way that further modules

funding and location ‒ the cost

be made to be mainly manually

municipal business.

may be added later to cater

of and the sometimes difficult,

operated or automatically

for increased demand. Being

if not impossible, terrain that

operated using PLCs, SCADA

modular, the add-on is far less

needs to be dealt with in

and telemetry/modem.

Any advice for potential clients? Any water plant

painful and costly than building

getting the equipment to site.

The choice of technology

requires upfront design

extra capacity from scratch.

Lastly, but most importantly,

depends on the client and the

based on a number of

the running and management,

infrastructure that they have

factors. This includes raw

including maintenance

to both run and maintain the

water quality, which needs

of the plant once it has

plant. A fully automated, and

to be analysed (typically a

been constructed.

well maintained, plant will

SANS 241 analysis) over the

always give better ongoing

different seasons chemically

quality final water than a

and microbiologically. The

predesigned and standard

How does WPCP overcome these challenges? We offer

manually operated plant,

capacity required should also

size steel (or GRP) items, like

financing, if required, via our

especially with changing raw

be considered: What are the

clarifiers and pressure filters, or

partner banks. We also try and

water quality. The opex will

current, medium- and long-

in the case of smaller modular

employ a plant design that suits

be lower but the capex will be

term capacity requirements?

plants, the whole or part of

the application and terrain.

quite a lot higher. Obviously

Too many package/modular

the plant is housed in a marine

We offer ongoing training

one cannot propose a fully

plants are designed on the

container (either 6 or 12 m).

and support.

automatic PLC-driven plant if

basis of I have a dam and there

there are no suitably trained

are 500 people. What will a

technicians to repair a defective

plant cost?

implies, is supplied either as prebuilt and package-type

Why are these systems suited to rural South African and African conditions? With the pre-built modular plants, the modules are typically

This gives the advantage of

Central and Western Africa. It is

typically difficult and expensive

How do these systems compare cost-wise to other options? The modular,

to build as they re inaccessible

coated steel plants ‒ or GRP/

and out of the range of

fibreglass in the case of smaller

deliveries of cement, bricks, etc.

plants ‒ are a lot cheaper than

What is WPCP s focus going forward? The demand for

conventional concrete-type

potable water and purified

plants. The structures are

process water is increasing with

only requiring the most basic of civil work. Rural plants are

What are WPCP s offerings?

without any detrimental effect

electric actuator of PLC software, for example.

BELOW RIGHT A typical containerised plant room BELOW New pressure sand filters, part of a water treatment plant upgrade at Ixopo WTW

WPCP offers a range of modular/containerised plants from small skid-mounted plants to modular plants that can handle up to 10 Mℓ/d.

What are the most effective applications? Agricultural villages, small out-of-the-way towns and emergency plants where there is just no time




VEOLIA WATER SOLUTIONS AND TECHNOLOGIES SOUTH AFRICA hat are some of the advantages of containerised modular systems? WT There are


production of client-specific process and service water requirements.

Wayne Taljaard General manager of Engineered Systems and Services How technologyintensive are they? They are

• plants are pre-fabricated and

plants are suitable for mining

they are kept simple to ensure

applications (processes,

that they are easily operated

camps and villages), small

and maintained.

leaving to respective job site • modular plants lend themselves to expansion

housing estates.

• modular plants are reusable by

• they are largely "plug and play"

What challenges are there, specifically in Africa, to the roll-out of these systems?

• they require minimum

The design has evolved in order

clients in certain instances ‒ at different job sites, for example

site involvement.

efficient and effective. However,

towns, temporary installations, schools, resorts and lodges, and

standards. In some specifications are met.

ensure that they are reliable,

• plants are tested prior to

will meet DWA instances, higher client

What are their most effective applications? The modular

completed in South Africa

and sewage plants

technologically advanced to

which include:

a number of advantages,


What is Veolia s focus going forward with respect to containerised modular systems? Strategically this

What is the quality of the product they produce? In

method of supplying treatment

general, as a minimim, potable

focus due to the benefits we

water will meet SANS standards

believe it offers.

plants will continue to be a

to eliminate the challenges typically faced on sites. These

Why are they uniquely suited to local conditions?

challenges include: transport to

The modular containerised

availability of operational

treatment plants that we supply

personnel, power supply and

are specifically designed for

outages, and spares availability.

site, access to remote locations,

African conditions. They are

sourced from well-known

How do these systems compare cost-wise to other options? The base equipment

global suppliers and therefore

costs largely the same whether

supported and available

it is containerised or not.

almost everywhere. Because

The cost saving comes in

they are constructed using ISO

the minimisation of site time

containers, they are secure,

and requirements.

robust and tough. The utilised component equipment is

robust and tough, easily transportable and handled onsite. They require minimum site involvement during installation and commissioning, are simple to operate, easily maintainable and have optimum electrical consumption, and they recover quickly after power outages.

RIGHT Containerised sewage treatment plant utilising new generation trickling filter technology at a mine site in Africa BELOW A fully premanufactured and tested containerised treatment plant leaving Veolia's premises in Johannesburg

What are Veolia s offerings in this respect? Veolia offers a range of containerised water treatment solutions: • a package range of potable water treatment plants for applications with either surface, borehole, sea or brackish water as source • a package range of domestic sewage treatment plants utilising new generation trickling filter technology • bespoke containerised treatment plants for the NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Rand Water to upgrade ageing infrastructure Rand Water is a water service provider that purifies 3 600 Mℓ/day of water and distributes clean drinking water to 58 reservoirs via 300 km of pipelines to 19 water service authorities. It services 11 million people in Gauteng and parts of Mpumalanga, North West and the Free State provinces. GAST Geosynthetics has been appointed as a subcontractor to the project.


AND WATER EXTRACTS its raw water from

geotextile to ensure the efficiency of the system. GAST

the Vaal Dam via a canal and gravity pipeline,

will be working closely with iNtatakusa Consulting and

and by pumping from the Vaal River Baggage

Bigen Africa.






Vereeniging. A small quantity of water is also extracted from underground sources at Zuurbekom. After the water has been extracted, it undergoes a purification process in order to meet the stringent standards set for potable water. The purification process involves seven stages, which are closely monitored. Rand Water has undertaken major renovations due to its ageing infrastructure, related mostly to augmentation and rehabilitation. The upgrade is scheduled to be completed by 2018. The main contractor for the project, Liviero Civils, is currently working on expansion capacity and modification for the supernatant pipelines. The project cost is calculated at approximately R254 million. As an appointed subcontractor, GAST will supply and install 1.5 m high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to 20 residue ponds at the site. The total working area is

RIGHT Stacking of geomembrane rolls BELOW GAST spiking system moving geomembrane rolls

785 000 m2 with the project value set at R25 million. Due to weather considerations, the work is scheduled into two winter installations and is set to be completed by 2014. Site establishment commenced on 12 April 2013 and involved setting up site offices, off-loading material, etc. GAST commenced working at the Rand Water Panfontein residue disposal site in August 2013. The



spiking system to offload containers holding the geomembrane rolls has improved efficiency by reducing offloading




through a 36-hour shift to offload 795 000 m2 worth of material from over 48 x 40 foot containers. The geomembrane system will be









Processes and challenges Any form of wastewater produced from process operations such as manufacturing and agriculture is referred to as ‘Industrial wastewater’. This, however, does not include domestic or sanitary wastewater. By Arish Sohan, laboratory analyst, and Jody Naicker, technical assistant, Talbot & Talbot Laboratories.


URTHER TO THIS, all industrial wastewater

turn may result in untreated industrial wastewater being

must be classified in accordance with the

discharged into river systems, posing a serious health risk

National Environmental Management Waste Act

to the aquatic organisms and the surrounding environ-

(Act No 59 of 2008).

ment. These impurities reduce the dissolved oxygen in

This classification is supported by testing wastewater

the river water and are contributors to the complex ma-

samples in a laboratory and using the results to deter-

trix of this water, which makes it vastly different to that

mine if the effluent is within acceptable limits for dis-

of natural sources such as boreholes and river waters.

charge into a public sewer system. Industrial wastewater

Laboratory analysis of these complex samples poses a

that does not comply with the discharge specification

major challenge to laboratories.

must undergo a pretreatment process. The aim of the

Industrial wastewater containing high salt concentra-

pretreatment process is to remove harmful pollutants

tions, for example, adversely affects laboratory analysis of

such as oils and fats, dyes, detergents and organic

these sample types. In COD analyses, a sample with high

chemicals from the industrial wastewater. Pretreatment

salt concentrations becomes cloudy when acidic oxidis-

plants are designed and built based on analytical lab-

ing agents are added. This not only masks the end point

oratory test results for the particular wastewater type.

of the test but also contributes to a false positive result.

The analytical laboratory tests include analyses such as

The COD results of analyses are used by plant operators

chemical oxygen demand (COD), suspended solids; con-

to optimise the operations at the treatment plants. An

ductivity and various elemental metal concentrations.

inaccurate result due to the salt matrix interference may

The effectiveness and efficiency of a wastewater plant is

cause process inefficiencies such as inadequate digester

monitored by plant operators using online process data

feed rates, which will negatively impact the effectiveness

as well as laboratory test results from samples collected at critical points in the treatment process. Industrial water that is not effectively treated will contain impurities that will be detrimental to the microorganisms found in sewer treatment plants. This in


An example of an effluent treatment plant built by Talbot & Talbot

of the wastewater treatment. The addition of a complexing agent assists in eliminating the effect of high salt concentrations in the COD analysis. The amount of complexing agent required varies with varying salt concentrations and therefore it is


FEATURE: INDUSTRIAL WATER important for a laboratory to establish an effective method to determine the appropriate ratio of complexing agent to salt concentration. Challenges in analysing samples with high salt concentrations are not limited to wet chemical analyses but also affect analytical instrument analyses, e.g. ICP-MS. High salt content in samples cause blockages in the instrument, which impacts on the instrument sensitivity. This sometimes maintenance parts,


results or






of of

analyses. Samples with very high salt concentrations can be treated in two ways prior to analysis: they can either be diluted or mixed with a complexing agent to remove the interference. Both these techniques present their own drawbacks and challenges. Physical dilution of samples to reduce salt concentrations has an effect on the lower analyte concentrations and using a complexing agent may limit the number of elements analysed since the complexing agent may contain some of these elements. A very careful balance is required to determine the method required for a particular sample type.

A different sample Some industries also produce wastewater that is coloured and turbid as a result of dyes or chemicals used in their process. This further poses various challenges for analytical testing, particularly spectroscopic methods run on instruments that pass a beam of light through a sample aliquot. The sample is mixed with a specific reagent (depending on the analyte) and forms a colour complex, and the intensity of the colour produced is measured by the instrument and equated to the concentration of analyte. Coloured samples interfere with the end colour

“Industrial wastewater will differ from industry to industry so two sample matrices will never be the same.” Arish Sohan, laboratory analyst, and Jody Naicker, technical assistant, Talbot & Talbot Laboratories

intensity while turbid samples cause the light beam to scatter and in both cases the results are compromised. These effects can be overcome using the following tech-

effective tool to establish test procedures that ensure

niques: dilution of samples, closed reflux distillation and

valid results are obtained regardless of the nature of the

soaking the sample in activated charcoal. Correction fac-

sample matrix. During the development of a test method

tors must then be applied to account for these changes

the following needs to be ensured:

in the testing process.

• the method is validated for effectiveness, showing re-

Industrial wastewater will differ from industry to in-

producibility and repeatability

dustry, so two sample matrices will never be the same.

• a standard operating procedure is written up.

The level of competency of the analyst thus plays an

The analyst will follow the standard operating procedure

important role in the successful analysis of diverse

to ensure that accurate results are achieved, which in

industrial wastewater samples. The analyst needs to be

turn will ensure the effective management of the pre-

competent and have the pertinent background knowl-

treatment plants since plant operators would receive

edge and experience to effectively analyse industrial

more accurate results. Method development is a very

wastewater samples, which requires a certain degree of

time consuming process, which can also be very expen-

research to determine the best method for the differing

sive for the laboratory but imperative to ensure valid

sample matrices.

results of analyses.

The challenges outlined highlights the need for further

Regardless of the challenges that laboratories face due

method research and development in each laboratory

to such complex sample types, many strive to ensure that

when dealing with complex industrial wastewater

they provide their clients with high quality and accurate

samples on a regular basis. Method development is an

results timeously. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Capacity building in rural South Africa Earth sciences and water consultancy Umvoto Africa is undertaking a twoyear study funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC) to examine rural attitudes towards climate change and how the rural communities can increase their resilience. PILOT PROJECT, based on a series of commu-

Initial work identified and prioritised the hazards facing

nity and local authority workshops, has focused

the community and its coping mechanisms, leading to

on Tsengiwe village near Cala (four hours drive

the next stage: community development plans for climate

from East London) in the Eastern Cape. A final

change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.


report is due by end of February 2014.

At the first workshop, it was striking to note the local

Tsengiwe, like many other rural villages, is vulnerable to seasonal drought. Climate change can be seen in a shift from summer-dominated rainfall to more autumnal rains; this is often associated with episodic downpours. The shift of the wet growing season has placed demands on summer crop selection and created an agricultural drought condition.The situation is exacerbated by poor infrastructureand a lack of municipal services.


recognition of the problem we are addressing ‒ that the

Sinawo Jack, an Umvoto trainee hydrogeologist, inspects vegetables in a Tsengiwe community garden

climate is changing, says Umvoto Africa s MD, Rowena Hay. Most visible to local people is a major shift in the seasonality of events ‒ with very serious implications for cropping and livelihoods. Training the youth has been an important component of the project, 13 young people have been instructed in monitoring and evaluation, which covered basic research



Training the youth has been an important component of the project, 13 young people have been instructed in monitoring and evaluation principles and ethics and how to conduct a survey and an interview. In addition, the Umvoto team trained two young people in hydrocensus work ‒ how to follow the quality management systems procedure to fill out hydrocensus forms correctly and record data in a report. Umvoto also held a participatory mapping exercise, based on a GIS map that staff had created. The community mapped resources and land uses that they felt were important for their development plans. These included communal land, water sources and infrastructure and major agricultural projects, as well as vulnerable areas with large dongas, areas overridden with alien vegetation, flooding zones and major soil erosion. The third workshop in August was attended by the extension officer from the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform and the institutional and support officer from the Department of Water Affairs (DWA). This enhanced the people s knowledge of government support. There are now five community development plans based on water supply and reticulation, agriculture and crop cultivation, animal grazing management, soil erosion and school greening. These serve as a road map to guide the community and local mentors through procedure and process.

ABOVE Njabulo Matshoyana, a Tsengiwe village resident on the monitoring and evaluation steering committee and the water supply development team, during hydrocensus training INSET Luphumzo Dasheka (a Tsengiwe village resident on the monitoring and evaluation steering committee and the water supply development team) taking notes during a monitoring and evaluation training session

relevant government officials, she said. In the event of informed and objective feedback on failure to deliver, the community has the information on who to approach in the various hierarchies in order to motivate for improved service delivery. Failing acknowledgment of community considerations and positive intervention by government, it would be necessary to engage in either conflict resolution approaches or media pressure. The frustration of unfulfilled expectations, poverty and not being heard can lead to protest, and efforts need to be made in advance to avoid this. Development projects that could be implemented by the community include land care and rehabilitation, accessing groundwater supplies, building a small dam to supply food gardens and water for stock, catchment rehabilitation and the selection of new crops with a short growing season to suit changing climate conditions. The take-home message is to work with what is available, have long-term goals, and interface constructively with official channels and processes, states Hay. Risk management promotes self-mobilisation and active

The persons trained to monitor and evaluate will mon-

participation, leading to empowerment (especially of

itor the implementation of these plans, as well as the

women) and the ability to hold government accountable

routine water service delivery by the local municipality,

for ensuring rights are met. It also supports the move to

says Hay. For the duration of the project, this information

responsibility and constructive engagement by all role

will be given to Umvoto, which can facilitate as needed to

players. An informed community cannot be misled by

ensure ongoing progress.

empty or unrealistic promises. Risk management can

In due course, this will not be necessary, as constructive relationships are built between the community and

secure sustainable service delivery and operations and maintenance in the water services sector. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Innovative water technologies showcased The Water Research Commission (WRC), in partnership with the departments of Water Affairs (DWA) and Science and Technology (DST), has hosted the Water Research and Development Symposium at the CSIR International Convention Centre. The symposium, which was held under the theme ‘Local Water Solutions for Global Impact’, took place from 25 to 27 September 2013. HE AIM OF the symposium was to showcase

our scientific water-related innovations and develop-

and celebrate excellence in the South African

ments, including some embedded within indigenous

water research and development domain and

knowledge, must and will assist us to make the neces-

to link various institutions operating at different

sary advances towards the attainment of our major goal:

stages of the water innovation value chain. As part of the

that of universal access to water services, as set out in

United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation,

the Millennium Development Goals.


the symposium sought to further the scientific dialogue

According to the chairperson of the Parliamentary

on what the development imperatives were for South

Portfolio Committee, Advocate Johnny de Lange, South

Africa from a water perspective and the innovations that

Africa needs to use these technological interventions

address this agenda.

since water intensive development challenges are

For the first time, the public had a chance to engage

compounded by increased pollution loads entering river

directly in a dialogue format with the members of the

systems and aquifers that supply water for domestic us-

Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and the scientific

ers all the way to large industrial users like mines, large

community outside the confines of parliament. The

agriculture and major production plants. This is also oc-

theme for the pre-symposium parliament session was

curring at a time when the country needs to make more

The future of water in South Africa and the role of the

water and sanitation services available to the unserved

scientific community of practice: a public engagement session with parliamentarians . While commenting on the symposium, the minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, explained: We cannot progress as a country unless and until our technological advances are used for the good of all humanity. We are a water-scarce country, therefore

population, which includes making water available for

BELOW The symposium was hosted by the WRC, in partnership with the DWA and DST

new small-scale economic activities. The final layer of complexity is to meet all these needs while ensuring the integrity of the environment. This is the South African water challenge today. The minister of DST, Derek Hanekom, said: The DST recognises that the water sector provides opportunities for job creation and economic development. It also sees appropriate water management and related technological innovation as key components of the transition to a green economy in South Africa, given the cross-cutting role that water plays in all sectors. Hanekom added: Water is core to achieving the DST s Global Change Grand Challenge, as well as broader national targets around the green economy. It has therefore become clear that there is a need for a national water research, development and innovation roadmap, which will clarify the role that water plays in the green economy and what kind of investment the sector needs to function optimally. The DST is partnering with the WRC in this




The public had a chance to engage directly in a dialogue format with the members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and the scientific community regard to develop the roadmap, which aims to provide

measure 1 to 1.5 ℓ per tip. The LFM is made from perspex

a 10-year platform for research, development and in-

to enable easy identification of blockages. The system

novation in the water and wastewater sectors of South

has been tested for the past two years ‒ under field

Africa and, among other things, to provide a platform for

conditions ‒ and is robust and accurate.

the country to compete with leading countries in water

The second innovation is an apparatus that can be

technology, increase the numbers of technology-based

used to harvest fog water during near-windless con-

small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in the

ditions (the Whirly). The previous systems ‒ and those

water sector, and increase access to water and sanita-

used worldwide ‒ are static nets that rely on fog-bearing

tion in rural communities.

winds to blow through the system, depositing tiny fog

Various WRC-funded research projects were show-

droplets of water on the screen. These droplets then

cased in the Market Place by the various project

coalesce, become heavier and trickle downwards. They

teams involved.

drip into a gutter attached to the bottom of the screen. From there the fog is channelled to storage tanks. The

Fog water harvesting for SA conditions

new invention consists of a vertical shaft with three

While South Africa is facing a major water crisis, the

nets attached. An electronic system has been attached

impact of water shortages is felt most acutely in rural

that causes a rotor to turn ‒ thereby rotating the nets

areas where there are no major surface- or groundwater

when the relative humidity reaches 98% (as it does

resources and where it is not economically viable to

during foggy conditions). The system switches off when

install a water reticulation network. It is imperative that

the fog ceases. The batteries that drive the system are

such communities be supplied with water. One of the

charged by solar power.

more unconventional sources of water is fog. During the Water Research and Development Technology

How does fog water harvesting work?

Symposium, researchers from the University of Pretoria

Fog occurs frequently along the West Coast of South

showcased two of WRC-funded innovations on fog

Africa as well as in the mountains forming the southern

harvesting. A scale model of the whirly and a fully func-

and eastern escarpment. The WRC has funded research

tional low flowmeter were exhibited.

projects to determine the feasibility of fog water harvest-

The first innovation is a measuring instrument for low

ing and to optimise the structure and design of fog water

and intermittent water flow. The volume of fog varies

harvesting systems. Each system comprises of a water

considerably from hundreds of litres per day to less than

collection screen and one or more storage tanks. The

one. Water collection is also intermittent, with a lot of

screen consists of three 6-metre wooden poles mounted

water collected during wet conditions to none during

9 m apart. Steel cables stretch horizontally between the

sunny periods. Conventional water flowmeters invaria-

poles and anchor the structure. Two sections of 9 x 4 m

bly fail during these conditions. Prof Johan van Heerden,

shade cloth netting (40%) are draped over the top cable

a leading researcher based at the University of Pretoria,

and secured to the middle and lower cables and to the

has built a low flowmeter (LFM) that can measure such

poles on either side. This forms a fog collection screen of

flows. It is based on a tipping bucket principle but can

around 70 m2. A gutter is attached to the lower ends of NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013



the screen. During foggy and wet conditions, droplets

Biotelemetry involves the use of transmitting devices

are blown against the screen and deposited on it. As

to monitor the behaviour and physiology of animals in

the drops become larger, they trickle downwards and

their natural environment. This monitoring technique is

drip into the gutter. From there the water is channelled

proving to be increasingly useful to researchers around

through a sand filter to a pipe that leads to10 000 ℓ tanks

the world. Biotelemetry devices allow researchers to

located down slope. When the top tank is full, the over-

document, for long uninterrupted periods, how un-

flow is channelled to the next tank further down the hill,

disturbed organisms interact with each other and their

and so on.

environment in real time.

These fog harvesting technologies have been pilot-

Through collaborative efforts between the Water

ed in the West Coast at a small mission station called

Research Group at North West University (WRG-NWU),

Lepelfontein in the Northern Cape, and the other at

the Centre for Aquatic Research at the University of

the Tshanowa Primary School in the Soutpansberg in

Johannesburg, Scientific Services at South African

Limpopo. There are no naturally occurring water sources

National Parks, E Oppenheimer & Son and biotelemetry

at Lepelfontein or at Tshanowa. Water was previously

system specialist Wireless Wildlife International, the

trucked to Lepelfontein from the nearest town, located

technology has now been successfully developed and

about 70 km away, while at Tshanowa, women and

tested in the field.

children had to collect water on a daily basis from a dam

Project leader Dr Gordon O Brien of the WRG-NWU

located 5 km from the school. The terrain is exceptionally

explains that biotelemetry methods are internationally recognised as one of the most

steep and rugged in this area. The amount of water available to each family was thus limited to the amount of water that could be carried per trip. The design of the

The WRC has funded research projects to determine the feasibility of fog water harvesting

effective ways of acquiring behavioural information of fishes and other aquatic animals over extended periods within their natural environments.

collector was based on that used

We are

in Chile, with significant modifications being made for

particularly interested in using the behaviour of these

South African conditions. The structures were specifically

organisms to develop our understanding of their bi-

designed to be used in rural areas, to be as cost effective

ology and ecology, and then to evaluate the impact of

as possible, to use material that is readily available in the

changing environmental variables such as water quality,

area, and to be suitable for use in areas without electricity.

quantity or flows and habitat on their behaviour. This will

The systems at Lepelfontein and Tshanowa were our

allow us to establish management guidelines for these

first designs that were based on the Chile model. We

environmental variables, which will contribute to the

have further developed new modifications and inno-

conservation of species.

vations. One modification is that instead of having one

The biotelemetry system makes use of remote and

flat vertical panel, we now put three panels (30 m2 each)

manual tracking or monitoring systems as well as smart

in the form of a triangle. This provides stability to the

tags or transceivers. The latter is attached to the organ-

system during storms. The other new innovations are the

ism being monitored. Once tagged, the animals (in the

Whirly and the low flowmeter, explains Prof Jana Olivier,

case of the study fish and crocodiles) are released to

WRC project leader from the University of Pretoria.

re-establish their normal behavioural patterns. With re-

Approximately the same results were obtained for both

mote and manual monitoring systems, researchers now

sites. The mean daily water yields were approximately

monitor the continuous behaviour of the animal for at

4ℓ/m2 per day, with maximum yields exceeding 3 800 ℓ/d.

least a year.

Although these yields are not very high, they provide

The remote monitoring systems include the use of

clean water to people who previously did not have easy

listening stations or receivers that are deployed into the

access to any water.

study area. These record and transmit information from

Unfortunately, a number of problems were experi-

the tags at a 10-minute interval to an Internet-based

enced as a result of severe storms and lack of mainte-

data management system. The researchers can log onto

nance and vandalism. This necessitated modifications to

the data management system at any time

the design so as to optimise water harvesting.

from any computer with Internet access and download real-time behavioural data

Providing real-time data to aquatic scientists

from the tagged animal. In turn, manual monitoring systems

Aquatic scientists will now rely on the newly

involve the use of directional

developed local biotelemetry system to

antennae and hand-held re-

understand animal behaviour in water. For

ceivers that are used to locate and

the past four years, the WRC has been

download behavioural data from

funding a series of studies, which has

any tagged animal in the field.

led to the development of a locally pro-

The type of behavioural aspects

duced biotelemetry system to monitor

of the aquatic organisms that can

the behaviour of aquatic organisms in

be monitored include the location of

South Africa.


the animal, the movement and activity NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013


as well as some environmental variables, including the depth of the animal in the water, as well as the temperature in the water. In addition, by monitoring the location, movement and activity of the animal over extended periods of time, the team is able to evaluate the response of the animal to changing habitat variables, flows, water quality components and weather variables, such as atmospheric pressure. Tests have been conducted on yellowfish, tigerfish and one Nile crocodile. These animals were tagged and then released and monitored for eight months in the Crocodile River. Behavioural data, including home range, habitat use, daily and seasonal movement patterns, daily activity patterns, as well as the response of the animals to changing environmental variables were described and statistically analysed. The local biotelemetry system has proven itself to work well in the field. This technology allows authorities to react more quickly, not only protecting our biodiversity but also affording a greater chance to apprehend polluters, explains Bonani Madikizela, research manager at the WRC. This means that when the behaviour of species indicates that environmental



been reached, for example, through reduced flows or a chemical spill into a river, managers will be able to respond accordingly. We may even be able to use fish behaviour in real time to release ecological flows at the start of migration. This will result in a better ability of decision-makers to manage and conserve our precious ecosystems, explains O Brien. Further developments in remote and manual biotelemetry monitoring methods and analyses techniques are continuing. It is hoped that this technology will go a long way towards the conservation of South Africa s rich aquatic biodiversity.

TOP & MIDDLE RIGHT Various WRC-funded research projects were showcased in the Market Place by the various project teams involved RIGHT The Market Place and exhibition area NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




A comparison of charcoaland slag-based constructed wetlands PART ll The second installment of the paper titled ‘A comparison of charcoal- and slag-based constructed wetlands for acid mine drainage remediation’ starts to interpret the results of the study and discusses the implications of the use of sub-surface flow constructed wetlands (CW) with charcoal- or slag-based bed matrices for their potential use in remediating acid mine drainage (AMD). By Craig Sheridan, Kevin Harding, Edward Koller and Antonio De Pretto*





feed to the CW and the concentration at the outlet, as well as a value called diluted iron, diluted

sulphate etc., is shown. Since the rigs were initially filled with water, as the simulated AMD was fed into them, the water would have had a dilution effect. This diluting effect (as a maximum dilution) is presented as a comparison as this value would indicate that of zero remediation.

Neutralisation of acidity The effect of charcoal and slag CW on the pH of treated AMD is shown in Figure 1. The data indicate that the pH increased in the experiments, with the slag-based CW being more effective at increasing the pH to a value between 6.5 and 7 in both experiments. The charcoal-based CW raised the pH but not to the same extent as the slag-based CW. The temporal behaviour of the system indicated that the CWs were less effective with increasing time. The steady state values (if such exist) were

FIGURE 1 The effects of charcoal and slag on the pH of AMD treated using CWs

Iron removal It can be seen that in both experiments iron was effectively removed by the CWs from dissolved form. The iron exited the CW as an insoluble, red, turbid colouring in the outlet, which was most probably a suspension of iron

not determined in this study and we are aware that this is

oxides and hydroxides. The increase in pH (see Figure 3)

a limitation of these experiments.

caused the precipitation of iron, an explanation supported

In terms of acidity reduction, the basic oxygen furnace

by the Pourbaix diagram for iron. It is also possible that the

(BOF) slag amendment showed increased pH-raising

adsorptive capacity of the charcoal aided in the removal

capacity compared to the charcoal CW. Regarding the

of iron, although this was not tested in this experiment.

CWs ability to treat AMD, it was observed that the wet-

The appearance of iron hydroxide precipitates was most

land plants in both beds survived the moderate and low

probably due to the presence of iron-oxidising bacteria

pH runs. As such, it is surmised that other wetland plants

‒ particularly Sagittaria australis ‒ that may have been

would also be able to treat the very acidic AMD, although

present in the CW system (Emerson et al., 1999), although

it may prove difficult to establish the vegetation to be

this had not been tested at this time. The appearance of

used under such conditions (Batty and Younger, 2004) and whether it would survive over extended periods.

Iron and sulphate removal The results of iron and sulphate removal using the charcoal and slag CWs are presented in Figure 2 and Figure 3,respectively.

FIGURE 2 Sulphate and iron reduction within both slag and charcoal CWs for Experiment 1 (pH = 4.5)

iron hydroxide in the CW effluent indicated that the CW failed to effectively filter out the solid iron precipitate. This means that further treatment steps may be needed after the CW to effectively filter out iron precipitates, should such a CW be designed. If filtration were effective, clogging of the CW matrix could reduce the efficacy of the system with time.

Sulphate removal Sulphate was removed in both systems to less than 25% of the input amount. A diurnal effect was observed, which was suggestive of biological/microbial removal, and, indeed, during sampling a stench of H2S gas emanating from both the charcoal and the slag CW was noted. Given the short duration of the experiment, it was not possible to conclusively determine which system was more effective at sulphate removal. It appears that at an initial pH of 1.35, both systems were operating well by 60 h, with the slag-based CW demonstrating better sulphate removal. At a higher pH of 4, by 60 h it appeared that the charcoal-based CW was more effective at sulphate removal. Further work NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013


TECHNICAL PAPER (Eq. (1)). Photosynthetic organisms are not active at night and there is therefore an absence of organic carbon, which implies that the SRB were not able to conduct DSR in the dark (Rumbold, 2011). If this were the case, the sulphate concentration in the CW should increase at night, as was observed. Although the ability of a slag matrix structure to sequestrate metal ions through a solid precipitation sequestration process is well documented (Ziemkiewicz, 1998; Nehrehneim et al., 2008), literature relating to sulphate reduction could not be found. Further work is required to determine the mechanism of sulphate reduction in the slag-based bed, be it chemical, biochemical, physical or a combination thereof.

Conclusions and recommendations should be conducted to confirm this and to determine long-term trends. The morning peaks observed in the sulphate levels, particularly in the charcoal-based bed, could possibly be explained by the diurnal activity of photosynthetic microorganisms and plants in the CW. The cycle of photosynthesis produces an organic carbon source that could

FIGURE 3 Sulphate and iron reduction within both slag and charcoal CWs for Experiment 2 (pH = 1.35)

be utilised by the SRB as a reactant in the DSR reaction

From the results of the pH, iron and sulphate tests presented, it was concluded that CWs, amended with BOF slag or charcoal, were able to effect some remediation on an AMD stream. Both slag- and charcoal-based CWs removed iron almost completely from the aqueous phase. It was noted that a slag amendment appeared to provide a better environment for sulphate reduction and was marginally more effective than charcoal at AMD treatment, although both CWs removed in excess of 75% of the sulphate in the feed. The mechanisms of remediation were not fully elucidated but the BOF-amended CW probably effects remediation through chemicophysical processes while the charcoal CW effects remediation through physical, chemical and biological processes. There is a need to conduct further research to better understand the microbial action underlying the iron and sulphate reduction. The long-term and maximum capacities of the systems also need to be understood as it has not yet been established how much AMD the slag can treat per unit mass, or the rate at which charcoal should be added to a charcoal-amended system. The iron filtration properties of the two systems will also be investigated in future research. Acknowledgements The authors thank the following individuals and groups for their contributions: • Harsco Metals & Minerals South Africa, for the supply of the BOF slag for this project • Dr Karl Rumbold, of the School of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of the Witwatersrand, for support • Dr Laura Millroy of the Biosciences division of the CSIR, for her help and guidance in the development and research stages of the project • Janet Walker, for the generous donation of the plants used in the experiment • The support staff at the University of the Witwatersrand.

This paper has been edited and abridged for publication. For references or information about the complete paper, please contact the editor at maryke@





It makes good sense Measuring and metering of irrigation water will not only improve regulation of agricultural water use in South Africa, but it will also boost farmers’ profits. This is according to the Water Research Commission (WRC), which has invested in irrigation water metering research for more than a decade. HILE IRRIGATION WATER measuring

metering technology is available and to provide guide-

is still not widespread in South Africa,

lines for managed implementation of irrigation water

emerging trends suggest that water me-

measuring, explains Backeberg.

ters are becoming increasingly important

tives of volumetric water use charges to recover opera-

tools to aid farmers. There is an increasing realisation

tion and maintenance cost for water supply, there is no

that it makes absolute business sense to accurately

doubt that irrigation water use measuring will expand in

and reliably measure water use in order to reduce

future. While the enforcement of regulations for water

cost and thereby increase profitability,

notes WRC

measurement will ensure compliance, this should be

executive manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture, Dr

seen as a last resort. Preferable is the realisation that ir-

Gerhard Backeberg.

rigation water measurement is good business practice.


The financial returns to an irrigator are strongly cor-

Efforts have been made to involve farmers and/or man-

related with the volume and pattern of irrigation water

agers of water user associations and irrigation boards in

application (not only through the cost of water but also

all the research and technology transfer projects of the

that of electricity). Moreover, there are a number of new

WRC. This has certainly raised awareness and gradually

technologies that offer better information and decision

changed the attitude [of the farming sector] towards

support to irrigators, making water use management

measuring or metering of irrigation water use, certainly

more convenient and accurate.

for those individuals and organisations involved in these

In addition to the benefits to farmers, the implementation of irrigation water measurement has been

projects, notes Backeberg. The

commission s




encouraged through the National Water Act and the

project, which was co-funded by the Department of

National Water Resource Strategy (the first as well as the

Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, facilitated a process

second version, the latter published earlier this year).

towards effective implementation of water measure-

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) has also an-

ment at river, irrigation scheme and farm level in South

nounced its intention to publish new regulations for water measurement, which could see more strict



water metering. In anticipation of this trend,




funded research in the area of irrigation water measuring and metering for over a decade. The knowledge


through this process has clearly the

demonstrated application


benefits of water metering and measuring in irrigated agriculture. The of






research and technology transfer




by the WRC has been to


With correct incen-




FEATURE: WATER ME TERING Africa. In order to achieve this, end users of water-measurement technology were made aware and convinced to adopt the technologies. The report is titled Guidance for sustainable on-farm and on-scheme irrigation water measurement. Specific attention was given to technical requirements and financial justification for implementation of the technologies for water measurement. Purposeful capacity

The challenge now is to exploit the commercial benefits on farms and irrigation schemes, which will be to the economic advantage of the water sector as a whole building and training of end users formed an important aspect of this work. Different target groups were involved in the project, from individual farmers and water managers on schemes to manufacturers of metering equipment and government officials, among others. The final output of this technology transfer project is a final report that documents the implementation process, the lessons learnt and guidelines towards general implementation of irrigation water measurement. As with all efforts to encourage uptake of research-based knowledge, in particular with reference to technologies and management practices for water measuring and metering, the most important requirement is to appreciate the complexities of the adoption process. This project again highlighted the need to use different communication channels to disseminate available knowledge, allow progression of time from awareness to persuasion to implementation and ongoing adaptation. It also recognises the role of demonstration for observing and evaluating the benefits of irrigation water measuring. The WRC will now be finding partners to exploit and disseminate the available knowledge (including correctly managed implementation) and technologies on irrigation water measuring and metering. For this purpose, a shortterm research project will be initiated later this year with a team comprising representatives of role players, such as the South African Irrigation Institute, Agricultural Research Council, Agri SA and the South African Association of Water User Associations. The challenge now is to exploit the commercial benefits on farms and irrigation schemes, which will be to the economic advantage of the water sector as a whole, Backeberg points out. International evidence shows that the lead time for research-based knowledge to become applicable and accepted in the market takes 25 to 35 years. Perseverance and a continuous drive to support exploitation of available knowledge to implement water metering and measuring over the next 10 to 20 years are therefore essential.

To order the report, Guidance for sustainable on-farm and on-scheme irrigation water measurement (Report No. TT 550/12), contact Publications at t: +27 (0)12 330 0340; f: +27 (0)12 331 2565, e-mail: or visit:





Master of shallow water “The steady decline of the raw water quality of rivers, lakes and dams should be taken seriously as it has direct impact on water quality,” warns Vuokko Laurila, regional sales manager of Watermaster Southern Africa. N ORDER TO overcome this and other challenges,


Moving Watermaster is easy. The machine is transporta-

such as the threat of climate change, this will have to

ble as complete unit. It can load and unload by itself and

be carefully managed, believes Laurila. Things like

walk in and out of water without crane assistance. When

reuse of water, management and allocation of water,

it is in water it cruises to the site using its own propulsion

control of invasive alien vegetation, and management

system. Anchoring and moving at the working site is also

of natural water resources are critical and Watermaster

independent; no wire cables, separate anchors or assisting

technology can play an important role in maintaining and

vessels are needed.

cleaning the fresh water resources before its purification.

Watermaster therefore reduces investment, operational and maintenance costs, since one machine can do the

Benefits of Watermaster technology

work of many separate machines, says Laurila.

Laurila says: In South Africa, the maintenance of dams, lakes and rivers is very limited. Everyone is talking about

A local case study

the purification of water and access to water, but what

Ekurhuleni has faced a number of challenges with the

about the maintenance part of natural water resources?

state of its lakes and wetlands, some of which are used as

She often gets customer feedback where she hears about

outdoor recreational parks. According to Laurila, increas-

the silted and vegetated rivers and dams that have been

ing urbanisation within the municipality has resulted in a

left to deteriorate for years, resulting into high concentra-

number of challenges for the lakes and wetlands, namely

tions of suspended silts and clays. This is a direct result of

concentrated stormwater outflows, invasive alien plant in-

catchment mismanagement, erosion, siltation, unstable

festations, mining and dumping. This resulted in the mu-

riverbeds and loss of in-stream fauna that feed on plank

nicipality actively working to try find solutions to restoring

tonic algae.

its water resources. It ultimately decided on Watermaster

This type of mismanagement reduces the supply of wa-

Classic as the most suitable equipment option for the

ter that the water-stressed country has available and also

job. The Watermaster dredger was ordered in September

affects its quality. Vegetation, invasive plants and build-up

2009, delivered two months later and almost immediately

of silt can cause further problems for local councils with

rolled out at the Kleinfontein pilot dam. After a few

regard to the purification of water, says Laurila.

months of rake work with the Watermaster, the dam was restored to its former glory.

She adds that the removal of silt, debris and overgrown vegetation helps to maintain the flood control capacity of drainage ditches and also improve water quality downstream by removing the pollutants contained in those deposits. Also, unkept water environments affect tourism as well as local communities enjoyment of their heritage.

A visual representation of the Watermaster technology in action

Lakes that have so far been cleaned in the region include the Kleinfontein Dam, Civic Lake and Middle Lake, with Homestead Dam, Brakpan Dam, Alexandra Dam, President Dam and Boksburg Lake all lined up for dredging and cleaning operations.

According to Laurila, Watermaster is a specifically designed multipurpose machine that cleans and maintains shallow water environment such as dams, lakes, ponds, rivers, canals, seashores and industrial pools. The maximum working depth in the water is about 6.3 m. This multipurpose water construction machine works where no other machines can operate. It has an excellent mobility and is suitable for numerous applications. The applications include: • Environmental work: Flood prevention, vegetation and trash removal, silt and sludge removal • Industrial work: Waste ponds cleaning and mining applications • Civil engineering work: Deepening work, piping and cable work, maintenance work. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013




Pipeline protection A leading local valve manufacturer is marketing its air release valve as the most efficient and cost-effective method of protecting water and sewerage pipelines against damage caused by surge, air build-up and vacuum. VENG MANUFACTURING DFC claims laims

Vent-O-Mat was quickly recognised by South African

out that its Vent-O-Mat range is without

engineers as being unique in its ability to deliver simul-


fe equal in terms of useful valve life

taneous three-way protection in the roles of air release,

g and the potential cost of repairing

surge moderation and vacuum break.

pipeline damage after the fact.

Such protection is necessary because, even at normal

ca in The product was conceptualised in South Africa

filling rates, a fast approaching flow medium can generate

the early 1980s to simplify pipeline protection. The

a transient pressure rise (shock) of potentially damaging

liver goal was to design a single valve that would deliver

proportions, unless air is retained in the pipeline and grad-

three-way protection.

ually released to cushion it.

duct Extensive market research preceded product

Similarly, a pipeline that experiences column separation

used development, and the design philosophy focused

due to pump stoppage, can be subjected to high pres-

on the physical laws that govern air valve and

sures when the separated column rejoins. Draining a pipe-

pipeline operation.

line poses additional challenges, carrying the potential

vant The result was a product that delivers relevant

for the development of negative pressure (vacuum) and

protection through immediate reaction to pipeline dy-

associated risk of structural damage.

sful, namics. Comprehensive user trials proved successful,

Development of the product website, ventomat.

and the product was launched in 1982.

com, is ongoing and features an air valve course, sizing

e does Although the installation of a Vent-O-Mat air valve ontrol not always eliminate the need for other surge control measures, which depend on the pipeline profile and the

programmes and a blog that allows visitors to seek

Typical Vent O-Mat valves

and receive solutions to air valve problems from experts worldwide. Site-available software, much of which

operating conditions, the Vent-O-Mat does offer automatic

can be downloaded free of charge, ensures that not only

protection during filling of a pipeline when most surge

are the air valves sized correctly, but also placed correctly

devices are not operational.

within the pipeline.

A major advantage of the product is that protection

An advanced sizing programme and life cycle costing

against destructive surge and water-hammer phenomena

software evaluate all critical pipeline components.

are independent of mechanical devices, ensuring reaction

Vent-O-Mat has been adapted to meet local specifi-

within milliseconds. Before Vent-O-Mat, most air valves

cations in target countries, and exports to 30 countries

were prone to premature closure and poor sealing, and

worldwide today account for almost three-quarters of

none was able to effectively assist with the elimination of

annual air valve production at Aveng Manufacturing DFC s

surge and water hammer as a standard automatic function.

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The WEG W22 electric motor has redefined energy efficient motors internationally, incorporating significant reductions in noise and vibration levels as well as increases in energy and thermal efficiency. Furthermore, WEG’s motor and drive packages with technically integrated solutions offer tested and proven reliability and compatibility. Innovative engineering represents upfront cost savings as well as energy efficiencies which equal lower operating costs. This makes WEG’s motor and drive combination the natural choice for those companies and industries committed to reducing energy consumption.

Water&Sanitation Africa November/December 2013  

November/December 2013 edition of Water&Sanitation Africa

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