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Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa

Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management


A behavioural response to the water crisis

THE BUSINESS OF WATER South Africa’s post-insurrection, water-constrained economy

HIGHS IN A YEAR OF LOWS Umgeni Water delivers on its mandate

Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II: An update September/October 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R50.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 05

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VOL. 16 NO. 05

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa

Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management


A behavioural response to the water crisis

THE BUSINESS OF WATER South Africa’s post-insurrection, water-constrained economy

HIGHS IN A YEAR OF LOWS Umgeni Water delivers on its mandate

Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II: An update September/October 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R50.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 05

ON THE COVER As a non-profit organisation (NPO), GreenCape has created the 2021 Water Market Intelligence Report, which has identified investment opportunities in the municipal water market. P12


Photo credit: ©Bruce Sutherland (City of Cape Town)

Regulars Editor’s comment Index to advertisers

3 48

WISA CEO’s comment 5 Chair’s comment 6 YWP 7 Training 10 WRD 11



Supply Security & DemandSide Management The business of water Water reuse, the smart way Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II: An update Sitting on the horns of a dilemma

12 17 18 21

Water Boards Highs in a year of lows – Umgeni Water delivers Magalies Water poised for next phase of growth Sustainability-linked bond for Rand Water







24 26 27

Mine Water Water stewardship gives mines the broader view


Water Conservation and Water Demand Management A behavioural response to the water crisis


Reservoirs Deviation from standard designs creates a durable reservoir Easy-to-assemble water storage tanks





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Pressure Management Pressure control to fight water shortages in Eastern Cape


Plastic Pipes Polyethylene piping systems = low leakage rates


Digitalisation Integrated intelligence to solve wastewater challenges Digitalisation makes a huge difference in the water sector Remote monitoring for water and wastewater plants An app to help run Johannesburg and Cape Town Pump shafts and flow measurement

41 42 44 46 47

infrastructure news


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


Scan the QR Code to get in touch with us and find out more about Macsteel Fluid Control

Editor Kirsten Kelly

EDITOR’S COMMENT Managing Editor Alastair Currie

Dedicated department is good news

Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Designer Janine Schacherl Chief Sub-editor Tristan Snijders Contributors Mercin Baloyi, George Diliyannis, Lester Goldman, Antony Jennings, Sbusiso Khuboni, Dan Naidoo, Anthony Turton, Ntokozo Zwane Production & Client Liaison Manager Antois-Leigh Nepgen Production Coordinator Jacqueline Modise Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Advertising Sales Hanlie Fintelman c +27 (0)67 756 3132

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

ISSN: 1990 - 8857 Annual subscription: R330 (SA rate) Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. All articles herein are

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

WISA’s Vision

Inspiring passion for water

WISA Contacts: HEAD OFFICE Tel: 086 111 9472(WISA) Fax: +27 (0)11 315 1258 Physical address: 1st Floor, Building 5, Constantia Park, 546 16th Road, Randjiespark Ext 7, Midrand Website: BRANCHES Central Branch (Free State, Northern Cape, North West) Chairperson: Dr Leana Esterhuizen Company: Central University of Technology Tel: +27 (0)51 507 3850 Email: Eastern Cape: Branch Contact: Dan Abrahams Company: Aurecon Tel: +27 (0)41 503 3929 Cell: +27 (0) 81 289 1624 Email: Gauteng Branch Lead: Zoe Gebhardt Cell: +27 (0)82 3580876 Email: KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson: Lindelani Sibiya Company: Umgeni Water Cell: +27 (0)82 928 1081 Email:

Given the enormity of South Africa’s water challenges and the fact that water management goes beyond human settlements, the decoupling of the Department of Water and Sanitation from Human Settlements is a step in the right direction.


his is not the first time that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been merged with and separated from ministries. Following the election of President Zuma in 2009, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was divided, with the forestry portfolio being transferred to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The DWS was the established in 2014 with Nomvula Mokonyane taking the helm as minister before she was replaced by Gugile Nkwinti in 2018. Following President Ramaphosa’s ascendance to the main seat at the Union Buildings, the president again merged departments – appointing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, and Deputy Ministers Pam Tshwete and David Mahlobo to the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation. President Rampahosa explained this decision last month when announcing a cabinet reshuffle. “At the beginning of this administration, we had brought these two portfolios together on the understanding that the provision of water is closely tied to the development of human settlements. Water is a far broader issue that impacts not only on human settlements, but also on agriculture, industry, mining and environmental management. We have therefore decided that water and sanitation should be a separate ministry, which will enable a dedicated focus on ensuring that all South Africans have access to a secure and sustainable supply of this precious resource. “Water security is fundamental to the lives and health of our people, to the stability of our society, and to the growth and sustainability of our economy,” added Ramaphosa.

WASA congratulates Minister Senzo Mchunu on his appointment at the helm of the DWS. Let’s hope this new appointment will not slow down any progress the department is making. Water demand management While water governance and management play an integral part in overcoming the water crisis, there will be very limited progress without a change in behaviour from the public. In this issue, on page 30, Professor Syden Mishi from Nelson Mandela University talks to WASA about creating and sustaining social norms for water conservation. Two water analysts from GreenCape mention positive movements that will facilitate better interaction between the public and private sector, as well as identify investment opportunities in the municipal water market (page 12). There is also an article by Anthony Turton about solving the water shortage problem in the face of a collapsing fiscus on page 21. Lastly, it is great to note that #SurplusWater2025 is growing! See the stats below and join the movement.

Limpopo Chairperson: Mpho Chokolo Company: Lepelle Northern Water Cell: +27 (0)72 310 7576 Email: Mpumalanga Chairperson: Lihle Mbatha (Acting) Company: Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency Tel: +27 (0)13 753 9000 Email: Western Cape Chairperson: Natasia van Binsbergen Company: AL Abbott & Associates Tel: +27 (0)21 448 6340 Cell: +27 (0)83 326 3887 Email:

Promoting professional excellence in the water sector The official magazine of the Water Institute of Southern Africa

Water& Sanitation Complete water resource and wastewater management


A behavioural response to the water crisis

THE BUSINESS OF WATER South Africa’s post-insurrection, water-constrained economy

HIGHS IN A YEAR OF LOWS Umgeni Water delivers on its mandate

In each issue, Water&Sanitation Africa offers companies the opportunity to get to the front of the line by placing a company, product or service on the front cover of the magazine. Buying this position will afford the advertiser the cover story and maximum exposure. For more information, contact Hanlie Fintelman on +27 (0)67 756 3132, or email

Namibia Please contact the WISA Head Office on for more information

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


Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II: An update September/October 2021 • ISSN 1990-8857 • R50.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 16 No. 05

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Compact 80 GHz level sensor with in-head display

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Positive movements from the DWS The separation of the Department of Water and Sanitation from the Department of Human Settlements demonstrates that government recognises water as a resource of critical importance. By Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA


ISA believes that this will allow for an increased focus on water and sanitation. We congratulate Senzo Mchunu on his appointment as Minister of Water and Sanitation. And we are heartened to hear President Ramaphosa emphasising the importance of water in South Africa, particularly at a time of increased droughts and collapsing water infrastructure. WISA and its water sector partners are ready and willing to support Minister Mchunu in his new role. We call on him to consult with the sector and to adopt inclusive decision-making principles as far as possible.

Blue and Green Drop

The resuscitation of the Blue and Green Drop certification programmes to improve water quality in South Africa has been welcomed by WISA. These were mentioned in the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) and are now being rolled out again. A full Green Drop audit and a partial Blue Drop assessment will be undertaken this year, while a full Blue Drop audit and a partial Green Drop assessment will be done next year. In 2008, the DWS introduced the Blue Drop and Green Drop certification programmes. These measured the most important indicators for sustainable and safe water and wastewater service delivery, such as: management commitment, safety and risk planning and mitigation, process management, quality compliance, staff qualifications, and adequate budgets. The goal of the Blue Drop programme is the compliance

of water supply systems with the national Drinking Water Quality Standards, while the goal of Green Drop is the compliance of wastewater treatment works with the national Wastewater Discharge Standards. The incentive-based Blue and Green Drop programmes are aimed at raising the awareness of municipalities of good practice in water supply and wastewater treatment. The programmes can lead to many municipalities investing in their water and sanitation staff and infrastructure – thereby improving their performance. The programmes also generate a wealth of data, which enables the DWS and the water and sanitation sector at large to plan and manage the water value chain more effectively.

ensure that the right person is in the right job and that, once they are in that job, they are professional. It will narrow down nepotism and political appointments.


We are hoping that this momentum will continue and that other items mentioned in the NW&SMP, like an independent regulator, can be implemented. This will help to transform the sector into one where water is an economic enabler and the current water crisis is averted.

Movement with Regulation 2834

Regulation No. 2834 – in terms of the Water Act (No. 54 of 1956) for the erection, enlargement, operation and registration of water works – was promulgated in an attempt to ensure that operators with relevant qualifications were running the different classes of water works. This has been in a draft format for many years but is now being reviewed by the Director General at the DWS. Regulation 2834 also been a part of the NW&SMP and will go a long way towards promoting professional excellence within the water industry with regard to process controllers. This means that the public can at least anticipate the standard of the service provided. Professionalising key positions within the water sector will

Dr Lester Goldman, CEO, WISA

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WATER IS SCARCE, but so is funding

The water industry has an abundance of technology, skill and drive. But its trajectory is minimal. And the reason for this is a lack of economic investment and leadership. By Dan Naidoo, chairman, WISA


e do not have the funding to invest in infrastructure. And investing in water infrastructure, management and sanitation services is absolutely essential for the eradication of poverty and enabling sustained economic growth. Will we reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030? It is not very likely.


The big elephant in the room is municipal debt, which is increasing daily. The debt issue must be resolved. Water is fundamentally financed by tariffs. In South Africa, we are lucky that each sphere of government – national, provincial and local – is entitled to an equitable share of revenue raised nationally to facilitate the provision of basic services. But this is purely for people who cannot afford these services – people who are indigent or economically inactive. The rest of us are expected to pay for basic services, and this ‘paying base’ is dropping significantly. South Africa’s unemployment rate is now the highest in the world. The


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unemployment rate, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 44.4% in the second quarter. This means that even fewer people can pay for water services. How is the equitable share matched to this unemployment statistic? Government is forced to borrow money very expensively and can, therefore, only fund projects that are in critical need. Important projects are pushed to the back (until they too become critical) and, every time that this happens, the risk of a catastrophic failure increases. Compounding this issue is the alarming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warns of progressively extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding. This means that the water sector will increasingly have to compete with funding that is to be directed towards saving people’s lives and managing disasters.

We need leadership

Poor and ineffective leadership has a dire effect on service delivery. This has caused a lack of trust in leaders within the public sphere.

The City of Cape Town has transitioned from nearly running out of water to being one of the best performing cities in the world with regard to reducing water losses and demand. This fundamental shift occurred when there was a leadership change. Initially, politicians were taking the lead in directing technical committees. After a while, a water demand management department was created and there was a more focused technical direction. The water crisis can only be tackled successfully from a scientific basis. Leadership requires transparency (which then earns trust). The City of Cape Town published all data regarding ‘Day Zero’ on a daily basis. They did not hide any facts. They published water statistics continuously, and this prompted Capetonians to change their behaviour and reduce water demand. Day Zero would never have been averted without a change in behaviour. With transparent leadership, similar to that shown by the City of Cape Town as they approached Day Zero, South Africa has a chance to overcome our water crisis. We have the innovation, will and skills.


Wastewater industry offers promising career opportunities A part-time MBA student at Stellenbosch University, and a full-time senior process technician at Umgeni Water, Thandeka Jwara has spent most of her career working and studying simultaneously.


initially studied towards an NDip Chemical Engineering at Mangosutho University of Technology and was then offered a job as an in-service trainee at Umgeni Water. The nice thing about studying at a university of technology is that it encompasses a lot of on-the-job training, and this gives a student a realistic understanding of their future career. I have now completed my MEng (cum laude), a PGDip in Business Management (cum laude), as well as various other management courses,” explains Jwara. As a senior wastewater technician, Jwara provides process support to wastewater treatment; this involves the monitoring of the process, process audits, and assisting with the designing and commissioning of plants – as well as risk assessments and troubleshooting. “Wastewater is interesting because it is live and alive (what is referred to as biological treatment). If there is something wrong in the treatment process, problems will appear with the end result. A lot of diagnostics are required, and there could be endless possibilities as to why there is a problem in the wastewater treatment process,” she says.

Thandeka Jwara, senior wastewater technician at Umgeni Water, is also the vice lead at WISA YWP’s KZN Chapter

Wastewater misconceptions

Jwara adds that there are a few misconceptions about wastewater treatment. “A lot of people presume that I have to be elbow-deep in sewage to treat wastewater. Others assume that wastewater does not need to be treated – they only think about water treatment. The fact is that water treatment relies heavily on wastewater treatment, as it makes provision for indirect potable reuse and direct potable reuse in some cases.” “The introduction of smart technologies and the concept of using wastewater as a resource – with water reuse and power generation possibilities – make this industry an exciting space. As humans evolve, our needs change and whatever is produced will create waste; that waste ultimately finds its way into wastewater treatment plants. The same goes for advancements in medicine, as these chemical compounds also find their way into wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater treatment is a dynamic career; it is constantly evolving. I love this industry, as it is

impossible to claim that one knows everything or has learned enough.”

Dream job

As a senior wastewater technician at one of South Africa’s largest water boards, Jwara is involved in many interesting projects. “I am working in my dream job, but if I had to do anything else, it would still be within the water sector – driving and influencing ethical, collaborative, service-driven and transformative leadership within the sector, as the Minister of Water and Sanitation.” Jwara encourages young people to seek employment within the wastewater sector. “And once you have a job in the industry, do not become complacent: get involved with WISA’s Young Water Professionals, attend conferences, present at conferences, network, learn from other professionals within the space, write articles, and work towards registering as a professional – be it as a scientist or engineer.”

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Water resource management (WRM) has changed immensely in the last decade – primarily due to climate change. By Mercin Baloyi, YWP member


olicies place far more emphasis on water management and its usage. Furthermore, WRM is viewed through a complex socio-economic system when complying with the principles of integrated water resource management and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, the dismal failure to mobilise resources and invest in waterrelated infrastructure has escalated into the current crises. African countries are threatened by the abrupt and imminent realities of physical and economic water scarcity. High demand for quality water due to climate change, rapid urbanisation, high population growth rates, pollution, the deterioration of water resources, the shortage and poor allocation of resources, demographic changes, as well as poorly maintained and ageing water infrastructure puts


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pressure on the quality and quantity of potable water. There is a lack of pro-poor awareness and administrative priorities relating to the importance of saving water, creating shared concerns and furthering the intention to safeguard water as a scarce and precious natural resource.

Illusion that water is in abundance

The motive behind finding solutions for our current water crises is founded on a keen interest in devising practical and innovative solutions to water supply security and demand management. Sadly, from the public’s perspective, the fallacy of water’s continuous availability and abundance is ingrained to the core. This is mainly due to the existence and use of outdated policies enacted while water was still abundant. People predominantly think of water as a resource that covers 71% of the earth’s surface. In reality, only 3% of that water

is drinkable, while only 1.2% of this 3% is accessible as surface water. Knowledge plays a vital role in crisis management, and the most neglected subject relating to the water crisis is the illusion of knowledge. WRM practitioners presumably imagine that it is obvious for people to think of water as a scarce and precious resource. There is a need to formulate new ways of thinking, while imparting new knowledge is a challenging endeavour that requires a systematic form of psychological intervention. People must unlearn the notion that water is abundant, and start dwelling on the rationale of water as 1.2% of the 3% of drinkable water. This will dictate how people act and alter their risk perceptions relating to water. There is a substantial need for conditioning people to think hydrologically. People need to perceive water as the primary constituent of foods, shelter, energy production, and the environment.


This will also change the belief that only the government can deal with water problems. Water crises can be addressed through collaborative efforts and demand a multilevel approach that includes the education systems, spheres of governance (international, regional, national, provincial and local), and other stakeholders. As people were made conscious about the Cape Town water crisis and their concern grew, their water usage behaviour was more easily shifted. It justifies the significance and effectiveness of the action-learning approach.

Compliance, risk assessments and ICT

There is a need for probabilistic risk assessment in water management, budget tagging, expenditure tracking, and the prioritisation of water infrastructure development funds. Furthermore, for efficiency in water supply, South Africa should monitor and evaluate the compliance with building codes, standards, and designs. Additionally, there should be a prominent feature of information and communications technology (ICT) and automated control technology, which are essential for tackling distribution network problems, monitoring physical water networks, supporting modern

water network planning, water resource modelling, and serving as decision-informing support platforms and devising methods for energy cost optimisation, water scheduling and control. With the aid of ICT, the Department of Water and Sanitation should also develop a system that will allow for the public to report leaks and water shortages.


Most importantly, water infrastructure should be developed with the aspects of financial gains and the fiscus in mind. It is important to avoid constructing single-purpose dams and water conveyance systems. The building of multipurpose dams and conveyance systems can optimise costs and derive multiple review streams. Ultimately, it can evoke the interest of private entities in the WRM sector by creating investment and partnership opportunities. It will also be ideal to have a legislative requirement that necessitates the availability of probabilistic risk assessment reports and rehabilitation, reconstruction, and recovery plans before constructing water-related infrastructure. This will help to ensure that infrastructure

is developed in a manner that is compliant with regulations, spatially sensitive and geared towards reducing the ecological footprint of uniformed infrastructure development. South Africa should be in an implementing phase of WRM technologies. Such technologies include flood modelling and management systems, and the outcomes of water-related R&D. Ultimately, using a multilevel approach is essential for fostering a synergistic process towards managing water crises and reducing the siloed mentality among organs of state.

People predominantly think of water as a resource that covers 71% of the earth’s surface. In reality, only 3% of that water is drinkable – while only 1.2% of this 3% is accessible as surface water

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Grade 12 learners receive career guidance from YWP WISA YWP, in collaboration with the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (Borda) and Umgeni Water YWP, has started a career guidance and mentoring initiative for grade 12 pupils of township schools in Pietermaritzburg. By Sbusiso Khuboni and Ntokozo Zwane


he initiative provides a platform for sharing career advice, training, motivation and employment opportunities in the water sector. It was supposed to be a one-day event where about 600 Grade 12 learners from three schools – Ikusaselihle High, Nsikayethu Comprehensive Secondary and KwaPata High – would attend at a community hall.

Covid-19, however, forced the team to explore other options. YWP decided to record a 30-minute video that was circulated to the three schools, together with drawstring bags and stationery packs. A few weeks later, YWP revisited the schools to garner feedback from teachers about the initiative. It was decided that a physical event, where the YWP/Borda team engaged directly with

the learners, would be more impactful. The team visited Ikusaselihle High School, where they shared their own personal experiences with studying further after school, mentioned bursary options, as well as career paths in the water industry. They motivated and inspired students to find ways to study further. There are further plans to visit more schools in the upcoming months.

The business case for soft skills Seventeen years ago, I started a management training and consulting company – essentially a soft skills people development company. While we had reasonable reach into the training market, we encountered resistance around the impact of our workshops on return of investment (ROI). By Antony Jennings, Zifundise Training and Consulting


remember a conversation with a managing director, who told me that soft skills training was a complete waste of time and money. I subsequently sent him some research results around the impact of people skills training, yet I don’t think he even read it. Today, much of my work focuses on organisational culture change and employee engagement; routinely, the reasons for a toxic or weak organisational culture are directly linked to the behaviours and attitudes of team leaders and managers at every level. In fact, employee engagement is at an all-time low for precisely those reasons. An article on the subject, from Bellevue University in the US, stated that soft skills


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are ‘fuzzy things’. “Where hard skills have tangible requirements and noticeable business outcomes, soft skills are more difficult to evaluate and quantify.” It’s easy to recognise if an employee knows how to operate an arc welder or use Photoshop; it is more difficult with soft skills. Despite this difficulty, organisations are convinced that soft skills are critical for business success.

Soft skills benefits

Soft skills are both an important part of an employee’s toolkit and essential for organisations to meet their business goals. The benefits of effective soft skills in an organisation include: • creating agile organisations

• developing innovative companies • making the best places to work • building the most admired companies. Futurist and author Jacob Morgan says, “I never liked the phrase ‘soft skills’. To me, it implies that things like communication, empathy, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence are less valuable and less tangible than things like reading, math, and science. It’s these human soft skills that ultimately distinguish us from machines.” The digital age and Covid-19 pandemic demand a change in mindset and a change in attitude towards the way we humanise our workplaces. The focus on soft skills is not yet the norm, but it is getting attention as never before.


Water Reuse Division launches provincial chapters According to the National Water and Sanitation Masterplan, South Africa will need 17% more water than is currently available by 2030. The National Water Resource Strategy cites water reuse as an important component of ensuring water availability for future generations.


mplementing new strategies for managing public perceptions, technical expertise and economic sustainability is very important. Therefore, WISA’s Water Reuse Division (WRD) aims to provide a communication forum for information and knowledge sharing in order to facilitate the implementation of safe water reuse practices in Southern Africa. Led by Dr Esper Ncube (Rand Water), the WRD has engaged with international and local partners, such as the Water Research Commission, to develop information and has assisted in facilitating the distribution of this information to decision-makers for planning and implementing reuse initiatives. The WRD aims to provide a platform to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to allow them to engage on the issues of water reuse and water sustainability. In doing so, it was found that provincial chapters were required to network with provincial stakeholders so that information could feed to a national level.

Dr Esper Ncube, chair of the Water Reuse Division (WRD) at WISA

Violent protests and Covid-19 restrictions have put Kwazulu-Natal under a negative spotlight, but very few people are aware of the great strides the province is making with the implementation of innovative water and wastewater projects. The new KZN WRD Chapter aims to bring attention to these initiatives and create a space for role players, which include all interested parties, to engage, stay informed and discuss water reuse. “Implementation and mindset change are crucial to ensuring sustainable access to water.” – Megan Schalkwyk, committee lead, KZN WRD Chapter

Provincial chapters

So far, there are Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal chapters. Objectives around instituting provincial chapters are to: • allow for easier engagement with the platform, which will aid in increasing the stakeholder network and involvement • develop better relationships with stakeholders on a provincial level • engage with diverse stakeholders in different contexts.

“The protection and maintenance of our water resources, coupled with diversifying conventional water sources, will help us reach sustainable water security.” – Limakatso Thakalekoala, committee member, KZN WRD Chapter

“Putting the mechanisms in place now to ensure water security is the biggest gift that we can give future generations.” – Lungi Zuma, committee member, KZN WRD Chapter S E P / O CT 2021



The business As a non-profit organisation (NPO) dedicated to increased job creation and investment into green water technologies and services, GreenCape has created the 2021 Water Market Intelligence Report (MIR), that has identified investment opportunities in the municipal water market. Kirsten Kelly interviews two water sector analysts responsible for the 2021 MIR.

(Photo credit: Western Cape Department of Agriculture)


reenCape’s 2021 MIR has identified the following investment opportunities in the municipal water market: • reducing non-revenue water (NRW) • beneficiation solutions for wastewater sludges • non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS).

Have you seen any trends regarding the financing of water and sanitation projects?

RB In the past, infrastructure projects have been funded by government grants, and loans to municipalities with a good credit rating. Currently, many municipalities struggle to access finance at low interest rates for infrastructure projects that have a low capital cost. Big development finance institutions (DFIs) tend to fund projects or a programme of projects with a value of R1 billion or more. It is highly unlikely that a small municipality will need an infrastructure project of that size. National government is leading the way in creating new and interesting financing mechanisms to address this problem. The Infrastructure Fund is combining a number of bulk water infrastructure projects by packaging them together in one fund. This makes their combined value great enough to be of interest to funders that can offer low interest rates. They are encouraging a blended finance model that uses both public and private finance. GreenCape was involved in a provincial version of the Infrastructure


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Ashton Mpofu (AM), senior water sector analyst, GreenCape

Fund where the Western Cape Provincial Government and the French Development Bank partnered together and created a mechanism called the Sustainable Infrastructure Development and Financial Facility (Sidaff). Most of the small, creditworthy municipalities are in the Western Cape. Most of the projects that fall within the Western Cape Provincial Government’s priorities and can meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals that attract financing are water and sanitation projects. The next phase of Sidaff is to prepare these projects to bankability and attract additional finance through combining the projects into a higher-value programme of projects. AM A promising development in 2021 is that a third of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS’s) budget has been allocated towards community development for improving water and sanitation services throughout the country, including in informal settlements.

Rudi Botha (RB), senior water sector analyst, GreenCape

Are there any mechanisms in place to assist with the introduction of new technologies to municipalities?

AM Many technology suppliers simply do not have the capital to sponsor their own trials. There are a number of initiatives that support technology trials. The Viability and Validation of Innovations for Service Delivery programme is being implemented by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) – in partnership with the South African Local Government Association and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – with funding from the EU and National Treasury. The programme will help municipalities to pilot technologies and innovations that could assist in improving basic service delivery – namely water resource management, sanitation, waste management, as well as green and renewable energy solutions. We also have the Water Technologies Demonstration Programme, The Water Hub, as well as the Bremen Overseas


“Municipalities keep renewing tenders every three years but it often does not make financial sense for companies to have a three-year contract – they may need a longer-term agreement to recover the costs invested in a project and make a profit.”





Non-revenue water (NRW) reduction

• Potential savings (due to reduced water loss and wastage, inaccurate metering and billing) • Increasing water scarcity and droughts • Demonstrated short payback period • Increased project preparation support

• Lack of municipal technical capacity • Complex contracting and financing models • Lack of locally verified or demonstrated technologies • Acceptance by the public • Financial insolvency of municipalities

• 15% reduction in NRW target nationally by 2030, supported by a seed investment of R676 million by the DWS to realise R7.3 billion per year in savings in bulk water costs nationally (R740 million in WC) • R5.5 million in subsidy for smart metering in WC schools •R  1.2 billion in smart meter installation in CCT over eight years

Non-sewered sanitation systems (NSSS)

• Covid-19 pandemic reemphasised the need for universal access to sanitation • Housing provision pressure • Need for rapid implementation options • Constraints on development due to lack of bulk infrastructure • SDGs/NDP strategies and government initiatives aimed at providing universal access to sanitation • Some informal settlements are on private land, making it difficult to install permanent infrastructure • Increase in water and sanitation service delivery protests • Lack of availability of potable water to flush toilets and use for waterborne sanitation

• Policies, by-laws and regulations that make it onerous to install NSSS • Insufficient grant funding • Financial insolvency of municipalities • Public acceptance • Negative perceptions about cost and maintenance requirements • Footprint size of NSSS, as some informal settlements are densely populated • Lack of locally proven technologies • Lack of appropriate financing models to implement NSSS

• R3.4 billion has been allocated to improve sanitation in schools over the next two years • Estimated total capital investment potential of R41.4 billion in NSSS (R2.44 billion in WC) towards achieving universal access to safe sanitation based on 2018 GHS • R4.7 billion worth of potential NSSS projects in the metros (R2 billion in CCT) to replace chemical, bucket toilets, and provide sanitation to households without access

Wastewater sludge beneficiation

• Increasing landfill disposal fees • Transportation costs • SDGs (7, 11 and 12) • Nitrogen-based fertiliser imports threatened by Covid-19 supply chain risks • Imminent organic waste to landfill reduction plan and existing liquid waste to landfill ban

• Current state of policies and regulations (also a potential driver) • Lack of capital • Public and industry perception • Financial insolvency of municipalities • Producer-beneficiator infrastructure gap (potential driver) • Lack of locally verified technologies

• Opportunities to transport and beneficiate sludge to the value of R330 million per year across all metros, excluding Tshwane (R86 million in WC)

Table 1 Summary of market opportunities S E P / O CT 2021


SUPPLY SECURIT Y & DEMAND-SIDE MANAGEMENT Research & Development Association that all assist with promoting technologies in the public sector. Additionally, the City of Cape Town has established a technology committee that seeks to gain an understanding of innovative water and sanitation technologies in the market. It gives technology and service providers the opportunity to present their products and services to the municipality. While a fair amount of work is happening, it is in silos. The water sector needs a lot more coordination and collaboration. RB The municipal innovation maturity index (MIMI) has been launched by the



DSI and it is a platform for enhancing the innovation capabilities of municipalities to stimulate and support innovation for improved service delivery. MIMI will assess a municipality’s willingness to tackle innovation and pilot technologies. Interestingly, because the private sector is beginning to play a greater role in the financing of water infrastructure projects, there is a different approach to project preparation and project needs. Case studies and business cases are needed to access private finance and so there should be an increased appetite from municipalities to trial different technologies.

System input volume (million m3/annum)


RB I was surprised by the high NRW numbers. I had thought that they were improving but, when analysing the figures, they are actually getting worse and this is very disheartening. There is a lack of technical capacity to procure and implement NRW projects in smaller municipalities, so I am hoping that a drive from government and help from the Development Bank of Southern Africa to set up a technical expertise centre will assist with tackling NRW projects.

NRW (million m3/annum)

Per capita consumption (ℓ/c/d)

Northern Cape (NC)

1 263 875





Free State (FS)

2 887 465





Mpumalanga (MP)

4 592 187





North West (NW)

4 027 160





Limpopo (LP)

5 982 584





Eastern Cape (EC)

6 712 276





Western Cape (WC)

6 844 272





KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)

11 289 086





Gauteng (GP)

15 176 115

1 689.48





58 775 020

4 998.52


1 965.04


Table 2 Overview of non-revenue water in South African provinces

Source: DWA2019a Based on population (2019 Stats SA) and % NRW (NW&SMP 2019) (page 44 of pdf)

Demonstration water reuse plant at Zandvliet Wastewater Treatment Works


Did you find anything interesting or surprising when researching and compiling the 2021 MIR?

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SUPPLY SECURIT Y & DEMAND-SIDE MANAGEMENT How does a private company deal with the public procurement process?

RB The public procurement process is most suited to continuing to procure infrastructure development via consulting engineers and large contractors. So GreenCape recommends in its Industry Brief on Entering the Public Water Market that businesses within the water value chain partner and engage with these types of companies, because tackling the public procurement process for infrastructure alone can be a huge challenge. There are some upcoming potential changes with procurement legislation. A procurement bill is about to be promulgated. This will simplify many of the procurement processes, as everything will be in a single document. A draft proposal recommends an increase in thresholds according to inflation for requests for quotations – allowing for municipalities to undergo a simple quotation process for higher values. The thresholds were set in 2008 and have not been adjusted to increase with inflation. As a result, the are currently very low. This means that for a small procurement, a municipality must go through a full tender process, rather than a simpler quotation process.

Do South Africa’s regulations, legislation and policies encourage water sector investment?

AM South Africa has very good legislation. But it needs to be updated over time to keep up with evolution of technology and innovation. This disconnect is sometimes prohibitive to the adoption of technologies and services in the sector. A lot of legislation has been formed around a linear and not circular economy, and its implementation is poor. The DWS and municipalities need to be capacitated in order to implement and enforce legislation. Compelling users to comply with legislation can drive investment in water technologies. Two good examples are the national liquidwaste-to-landfill ban and the imminent organic-waste-to-landfill ban in the Western Cape. Producers of such waste (brine, wastewater sludge, oils) must now invest in alternative solutions. Furthermore, the implementation of policies such as local content may also promote investment in the sector, boost our manufacturing capacity, and create jobs. Regionally, policies such as the African

Continental Free Trade Area are promising increased investment in manufacturing, as well as commercialising local water and sanitation technologies for the African market. Policies around incentivising products manufactured from waste and/or green procurement guidelines may also promote investment in waste beneficiation technology, services and businesses. There was a historical problem where water-use licences could take over a year to issue; thankfully, the DWS has now committed to a 90-day turnaround time. Short turnaround times promote investment in water projects. RB Municipalities keep renewing tenders every three years but it often does not make financial sense for companies to have a three-year contract – they may need a longer-term agreement to recover the costs invested in a project and make a profit. A perfect example is wastewater sludge beneficiation. Compost and fertiliser are registered products and need to be certified by government for use in agriculture; this is an expensive process. Therefore, compost and fertiliser companies need a guaranteed source of wastewater sludge for at least 10 years. If the source changes, they have to reregister their product. That being said, a lot of waste beneficiation red tape has been removed. National norms and standards for waste composting have been promulgated and a second set of norms and standards is due to be promulgated on organic waste treatment. These regulations allow for waste beneficiators to treat waste without the red tape of acquiring a waste licence, as long as standard procedures are followed. They are progressive and have considered the public’s feedback. The key is to be engaged and aware of proposed policies and to provide comment wherever possible.


Download the 2021 MIR report here:

New regulations allow for waste beneficiators to treat wastewater sludge without the red tape of acquiring a waste licence, as long as standard procedures are followed. (Photo credit: ©Pxhere)

The costs associated with managing wastewater sludge can represent 40% to 60% of total WWTW costs (Photo credit: Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town)

While investing in NRW reduction, NSSS and sludge beneficiation projects make financial sense to municipalities and investors, there are also significant barriers. The public and private sector need to engage with each other and work together to remove these barriers. Some important steps have already been taken. We all need to innovate in order to provide safe water and sanitation for all our citizens. The Berg River Dam (Photo credit: Bruce Sutherland) S E P / O CT 2021


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WATER REUSE, the smart way Recycling wastewater can extend water supplies, improve water quality, reduce discharge and disposal costs of wastewater, and save energy. For more than two decades, QFS has been treating municipal wastewater.

Municipal Water Treatment & Re-Use

Desalination & Treatment of Other Water Sources

Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Operation & Maintenance of Water Treatment Plants

Project Management

Municipal water treatment and reuse QFS designs, installs and commissions wastewater treatment plants. The company can also conduct a performance audit on an existing plant, as well as augment and upgrade low-cost technologies that can provide process enhancements, upgrade capacities, improve recovery rates, lower energy requirements, and remove nutrients.

Industrial wastewater treatment

The recycling of industrial waste streams is gaining popularity, as the price of raw water and discharge of untreated effluent rise. QFS’s wastewater treatment plants can be semi-or fully automated. This can cut the costs of having an ever-present operator and makes fault detection easier. The company has successfully supplied chemical flocculation, clarification, dissolved air flotation, screening, filtration, and oxidation using ozonation and chlorination. The reuse of treated effluent has been achieved by applying the firm’s extensive expertise in membrane separation, specifically ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis.

Desalination and treatment of bore water and water obtained from rivers or streams

water and wastewater treatment plants. These in-house experts can assess the design capability of a plant and check this against a performance assessment by visual and instrument checks, as well as monitoring and collating available data.

Training for operational staff safety

The provision of both initial and ongoing training for operators and staff of a plant is an essential service. With the need to make the most of scarce capital resources, it has become necessary to place increased stress on facility operations, requiring a higher degree of operator knowledge and skills.

Project management

By using Microsoft Project, QFS’s project managers can keep clients informed around the tasks currently under way. The company’s project managers appreciate the need for compromise in the project development process by a multidisciplined team and are capable of driving the project on a correct course having defined the constraints. QFS takes into account the shift towards turnkey project management as an important factor in cost and risk minimisation.

Due to the team’s experience and skills in membrane treatment processes, QFS can offer seawater desalination services, as well as the design of facilities for the treatment of bore water, or water from rivers and streams that requires colloidal particle removal and disinfection. QFS can also treat water for drinking purposes and reuse.

Operation and maintenance of water treatment plants Training for Operational Staff is Key

QFS provides an operation and maintenance optimisation service to industry through the experience of its engineers and technical officers who have commissioned, operated and maintained

S E P / O CT 2021



Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II: An update

Khubelu River infiltration gallery under construction and rising mains

Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) will be implemented in terms of two distinct components: a water delivery system to augment the delivery of water to South Africa and a hydropower generation system, which will increase the current electricity generation capacity in Lesotho.

Procurement • 48 contracts have been awarded • The most recently awarded contract is for professional services for the feeder roads master plan – Zutari Lesotho • Tender for construction of the Polihali Transfer Tunnel is out (deadline 30 August 2021) • Tenders for the construction of Khubelu Bridge and Mabunyaneng Bridge to be issued in September • Polihali Dam construction tender has been issued


s concerns construction on the LHWP Phase II, underground tunnelling on the two Polihali diversion tunnels has reached a major milestone, with cumulative excavation progress in both tunnels approximately 90% complete. The breakthrough on the diversion tunnels is scheduled for August 2021. The Polihali and Katse civil works are nearing completion. The potable water and sewer reticulation infrastructure to permanent and temporary residential areas has been completed, while the water treatment facilities are nearly complete. Access roads have been completed, with paving and road markings ongoing.


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Completed in June 2020, the 33 kV line will give temporary power supply to the Polihali village and is due to be energised. Construction of the 132 kV line from Matsoku to Polihali has advanced, with the completion of access roads and the erection of all 92 towers. Stringing is in progress. Insulation and optical ground wire upgrades on the existing lines are under way. The construction of foundations, brickwork and transformer tests are advancing at the Polihali substation, while upgrade works are in progress at other substations. Completed works on the Polihali Western Access Road (PWAR) and Northern Access Road include the establishment of site camps and batch plants. Earthworks and

the construction of foundations for the Matsoku and Semenanyana bridges and piers on the Makhoaba Bridge along the PWAR are ongoing. Hydropower component Feasibility studies for the hydropower component of Phase II completed in 2019 concluded that conventional hydropower is the more feasible option to meet Lesotho’s energy needs. Three potential sites were identified: two on the Senqu River and a third site at Oxbow on the Malibamat’so River. The hydropower component is expected to progress during 2021, where the Government of Lesotho will decide on an option. It is hoped that the design of the preferred option will commence in 2021, with construction commencing in 2024 and that commissioning taking place at the same time as the water transfer component in 2027. Social and environmental programmes An environmental and social management programme is being implemented to address potential environmental and social impacts associated with Phase II activities. This will be implemented in consultation with affected communities and community engagement activities will continue in line with adjusted Covid-19 regulations.


With resettlement planning, consultations on replacement housing designs have been completed with households to be relocated from the reservoir area, the Polihali village area, and other project sites such as the access roads and site establishment area. Public gatherings have been held to encourage communities to take advantage of the opportunities created by the implementation of Phase II, in mitigation against the potential negative effects of the LHWP. The consultant appointed to prepare the Phase II Social Development Master Plan continues to engage communities and other stakeholder groups as part of the process to assist affected communities across the entire Phase II landscape to identify priority areas for social development initiatives. Environment Integrated catchment management and rangeland rehabilitation programmes are under implementation to protect, conserve and restore wetlands, conserve and promote the sustainable use of rangeland resources, and prevent and control soil erosion. The programme – implemented in close collaboration with communities and rangeland associations at the LHWP areas – also promotes stakeholder participation and alternative livelihoods. There is also a cultural heritage programme to preserve the culture of the affected communities. Archaeological excavations for preserving and recording tangible cultural aspects are ongoing, with 21 of 27 Stone Age sites fully mitigated. A recording of 13 rock art sites in the LHWP area was completed in 2019.

Polihali diversion tunnels’ intake structures under construction

A shed housing the water treatment plant

Employment The registration of unskilled job seekers continues. The Project Labour Recruitment Desk has placed 1 297 people (from villages within a 5 km radius of the advance infrastructure areas) with different contractors for unskilled positions. Currently, 1 938 skilled and semi-skilled personnel are engaged on Phase II construction contracts, with over 80% (1 557) being Lesotho nationals. At the peak of construction, Phase II is expected to create between 2 000 and 3 000 unskilled job opportunities. Skills development The LHDA Young Professionals programme has recruited 33 young professionals that will be placed within 12 different consultancy contracts: Polihali Dam, Polihali Transfer Tunnel, bridges, housing and access roads, as well as with the resettlement and cultural heritage consultants.

Raw water dam

Aimed at equipping young professionals with on-the-job practical skills that increase their competitiveness in the job market, the programme is open to Lesotho and South African nationals that are newly qualified professionals under 35 years of age. It requires diploma and degree holders in the fields of civil and structural engineering, electrical engineering, geotechnical engineering, surveying, quantity surveying, engineering, architecture, archaeology, environmental sciences, social and natural sciences, and public health. The LHDA is also partnering with the Lesotho Ministry of Education and Training to formulate and implement a skills development programme for communities in the LHWP Area. This skills development programme will provide skills accreditation and certification to people who have the technical skills but have not been certified, as well as vocational skills training.

Diversion tunnel outlets

S E P / O CT 2021


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South Africa’s post-insurrection, water-constrained economy SPVs are being designed to make the water sector investor-friendly

The recent failed insurrection has shown the weakness of government. The South African economy is confronted by a specific dilemma from a water perspective. The two horns of this dilemma are about solving the water shortage problem in the face of a collapsing fiscus. By Anthony Turton


dilemma is defined as a conflicting situation in which alternative solutions are equally unappealing or problematic. This is why we refer to sitting on the horns of a dilemma, because if I do this then that will happen, but if I do that then this will happen. A dilemma is technically unsolvable. When government decision-makers have to deal with them, they rapidly become fraught with politics.

Anthony Turton, professor: Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State

Our role as technical specialists is to convert that dilemma into a series of sub-problems because a problem is solvable. Stated simply: a dilemma is bad but a problem is good. The South African economy is confronted by a specific dilemma from a water perspective when framed as a post-insurrection issue. The most eloquent way to present that dilemma is to say that the South African economy is fundamentally water constrained while the fiscal cliff is becoming an increasing reality. The two horns of this dilemma are about solving the water shortage problem in the face of a collapsing fiscus. To get the economy going to the point where it can employ the growing number of angry unemployed people, we need water (and energy), but to do that we need capital that is not forthcoming in an economy that is collapsing and investor-unfriendly. With this as a clear focal point, we can now begin to unpack the two elements of the dilemma – a water-constrained economy (one horn of the dilemma) under threat from the fiscal cliff (the other horn). First horn of dilemma: waterconstrained economy Billion cubic meters per annum (BCM) is a measurement that we will use to

define the reality of South Africa’s water supply. Here are three important numbers: • 48 BCM – the annual average flow of all the water in all the rivers across the entire country • 38 BCM – total volume of water available in all our dams • 63 BCM – the volume of water needed to create full employment by 2035. The annual average flow of all the water in all the rivers across the entire country is technically known as mean annual run-off (MAR). It used to be around 52 BCM two decades ago, but the improvement in mathematical algorithms, combined with the effects of global warming, has now forced a systematic revision down to about 48 BCM. It is unknown if this downward trend will continue as global warming accelerates, or whether it is part of a natural, long-term cycle that might again reverse. The total volume of water available in all our dams represents the strategic

S E P / O CT 2021



storage component on which the assurance of supply is built. The currently available 38 BCM – which is shrinking due to siltation – represents about 80% of MAR. This is highly significant, because it is generally accepted that once one traps more than two-thirds of the natural flow of a river, a series of complex ecological problems arise. Typically, those problems change the river into an open sewer because the ecological functioning of the system is destroyed. This means that the construction of new dams is not an appropriate choice if we want to prevent our rivers from becoming open sewers. The volume of water needed to create full employment by 2035 or thereabouts (≈63 BCM) is an estimation based on current technologies and may vary up or down. National water deficit Armed with these three numbers, we can now redefine that specific horn of our dilemma in a simple question. How can we get 63 BCM from a system that only has 38 BCM of strategic storage

Our water supply problem amounts to 25 billion cubic metres per annum


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from an MAR of 48 BCM and is probably declining? This problem statement reveals a shortfall of ≈25 BCM (i.e. 63 BCM needed minus 38 BCM available in strategic storage, assuming all dams are 100% full). This is the size of our water supply problem. We can call this our national water deficit. Our future depends on alleviating the national water deficit. In effect, we need to create what we can call 25 BCM of new water to meet that national water deficit. This will be made up of a range of different sources not currently being used. Some might come from international transfers from foreign countries. Some might come from the recovery of water from waste. Some might come from groundwater and the rest might come from the desalination of sea or mine water where appropriate. Irrespective of the origin of that new water, the simple fact is that we will need to mobilise about 25 BCM of it by 2035. This is the national deficit, but also the size of a potential market if we can attract capital and technology back into the water sector.

Our water supply problem amounts to 25 BCM. Simple to understand. Easy to deal with once we understand it. Second horn of dilemma: fiscal cliff We can best define this as an imbalance in the national budget. This can be expanded upon by defining it as the point where civil service remuneration, social assistance payments and debt-service costs absorb all of government revenue. Money needed for infrastructure is not available, necessitating increases in tax revenue. This triggers capital flight and starts to feed into a growing negative sentiment that eventually can manifest as a full-blown tax revolt if not dealt with properly. The dilemma starts to grow because if taxes are too high, then companies cease to invest and the

A dilemma is defined as a conflicting situation in which alternative solutions are equally unappealing or problematic


capacity of the economy to create jobs continues to decline. If we zoom into the water aspect of the looming fiscal cliff, we see that a sum of around R1 trillion is needed. If we dig deeper, then we see that this quantum of money will only repair what is currently broken, but not pay for the technology we need to recover water safely from waste and desalinate seawater or mine water where appropriate. If we then contextualise this matter in the reality of the fiscal cliff, we can safely conclude that this quantum of money is unlikely to be forthcoming from government. The national water deficit of 25 BCM will therefore manifest as a persistent constraint – all things being equal. South African Business Water Chamber This is where the South African Business Water Chamber becomes relevant. The chamber has been working closely with the Public Private Growth Initiative and is fully aligned with Operation Vulindlela, which is designed to stimulate economic growth by prioritising structural reform and infrastructure investment.

The problem they are dealing with is the rapidly declining technical skills base left in the water sector, now brought to its knees by cadre deployment, financial mismanagement, corruption and the construction mafia – which are destroying large civil engineering companies listed on the JSE. Operation Vulindlela aims to save what is left of the technical service provision value chain needed to meet the national water deficit of 25 BCM. They are promoting the range of new water technologies needed to create full employment by 2035. This is being done by closely coordinating with National Treasury, the Presidency and other key stakeholders to create special-purpose vehicles (SPVs). As specifically designed legal instruments to make the water sector investor-friendly, these SPVs are being designed in conjunction with National Treasury and the Development Bank of Southern Africa – and have a range of potential uses. They solve one of the problems inherent to existing municipal funding by ring-fencing specific revenue

flows for defined programmes like water service provision. One use is the funding of specific projects, such as the conversion of a wastewater treatment plant into a water recovery plant where appropriate. The SPV concept is scalable to a utility-sized desalination plant if needed, but also to the possible use by communitybased interventions into dysfunctional municipalities where service delivery has failed, but existing laws don’t allow for the removal of the officials even though they are unable to perform. The recent failed insurrection has shown the weakness of government. The need for SPVs to fill the vacuum left by failing units of government is now becoming vital as we rebuild the economy and create employment opportunities for the almost 70% of the youth without any prospect of a job. Water is an economic enabler. The mobilisation of 25 BCM of new water can become part of our Marshall Plan to rebuild lost confidence and make South Africa a safe investment destination once again. This is a work in progress.

We need to rebuild the economy and create employment opportunities for the almost 70% of the youth without any prospect of a job S E P / O CT 2021



Highs in a year of lows – Umgeni Water delivers on its mandate The supply of water and sanitation services across difficult hilly terrain and vast rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal is a familiar challenge that Umgeni Water has faced for nearly 50 years. But Covid-19 provided entirely new issues that forced the water board to drastically change the way in which it operates.


hile classified as essential workers, people working within the water and wastewater sector are unfortunately not considered ‘frontline workers’ like our colleagues in the health sector. This is strange because there has been a justifiable increased focus on water and sanitation infrastructure and service delivery as a means of combatting the virus. While a lot of our support staff (human resources, finance, corporate services) could work remotely, many other staff members work in the frontline and are crucial to the supply of water and wastewater services,” explains Dan Naidoo, regional manager of Umgeni Water. In a bid to protect its core staff, who are fundamental to the provision of water and wastewater services, from the virus, Umgeni Water had to make operational changes. These company employees were

Lower Thukela Water Works


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transported to work and back home via specially arranged vehicles. Access to all plants was also restricted – making sure that only the necessary personnel were onsite. During the second wave of Covid-19, key members of the operations team left their families and were put into isolation in various hotel rooms or bed and breakfasts to keep them safe. “This was a huge sacrifice; many of our staff members lived away from their homes and families for close to three months. However, infection rates among Umgeni staff members remained extremely low and there was minimal disruption to our water and sanitation services,” adds Naidoo. In addition to protecting its staff, Umgeni Water prioritised the implementation of technology that allowed for operations to be controlled remotely. “Over the years, Umgeni Water has used remote monitoring and control solutions;

Dan Naidoo, regional manager of Umgeni Water

with Covid-19, we further built upon those capabilities. Presently, we can now remotely operate nearly all key infrastructure (with a margin of safety),” says Naidoo. Over the past 18 months, Umgeni Water has successfully evolved into an organisation that is largely running remotely. The water board has continued to fulfil its core mandate by responding timeously to breakdowns and repairing any failures, while meeting all water quantity and quality requirements. “In addition to water and sanitation supply services, Umgeni Water worked closely with municipalities to make sure that a greater number of people had access to water, with boreholes and water storage tanks. The past few months have been challenging but also very rewarding for Umgeni Water,” adds Naidoo.


Infrastructure development As a consequence of Covid-19, the roll-out of infrastructure projects was slowed down by lockdowns, additional safety concerns, and difficulty in accessing materials. Presently, Umgeni Water has restarted many of its capex projects. There are currently over 25 development projects being implemented – i.e. pump stations, reservoirs, wastewater treatment works, pipelines, water treatment works, and bulk water supply schemes. The water board spends up to R2 billion annually on capital expenditure and serves a mix of municipalities that are either large and urban or very rural and remote. “These rural municipalities operate in challenging environments and often battle with revenue collection. Their balance sheets are therefore unable to sustain significant infrastructure investments. This is the reason why Umgeni Water executes projects in partnership with municipalities in rural areas. In fact, close to 40% of our capital expenditure is dedicated towards infrastructure projects in those areas,” adds Naidoo. “For many years. Umgeni Water has directed a significant amount of its own resources or funds to co-fund large infrastructure projects, with funds from the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant, towards providing water and sanitation services to rural municipalities by

Imvutshane Dam

UMGENI WATER KwaZulu-Natal is the gazetted supply area of Umgeni Water and Mhlathuze Water and straddles a total geographical area of 94 359 km2, which is home to 11.3 million people and 2.9 million households. KwaZuluNatal is comprised of: • 1 metropolitan municipality • 10 district municipalities • 43 local municipalities • 14 of these municipalities are water ser vices authorities as defined in the Water Ser vices Act (No. 108 of 1997). In the repor ting period, Umgeni Water has focused on ser vice deliver y and largely derived revenue from seven customers: • eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality • iLembe District Municipality • Ugu District Municipality • Harr y Gwala District Municipality • uMgungundlovu District Municipality • Msunduzi Local Municipality • uThukela District Municipality (the agreement between uThukela District Municipality and Umgeni Water has ended, with the handover of infrastructure on 30 June 2021). These customers account for 44% of the KwaZulu-Natal area and are home to 72% of the households.

Umgeni Water has also signed a 15-year Bulk Supply Agreement contract with King Cetshwayo District Municipality star ting from 1 July 2020. This includes: • the operation and maintenance of 30 potable water schemes (water treatment plants and package plants) •o  perating a total of 155 borehole schemes across the district. Umgeni Water’s infrastructure assets in suppor t of its bulk water ser vices business comprise: •a  pproximately 1 260 km of pipelines and 67 km of tunnels •1  5 impoundments •2  0 water treatment works •1  1 wastewater treatment works. Umgeni Water delivers some impressive numbers, which include: •d  espite a 0% tariff increase for the 2019/20 year, Umgeni Water had an 18% increase in profit over the corresponding period in 2019 • it received an unqualified audit from the Auditor General •b  ulk wastewater treated annually: 32 million m3 • raw water abstracted from 18 abstraction systems and dams: 506 million m3.


Rosetta Water Treatment Works

putting infrastructure in the ground (like the uMshwathi Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme). We also assist them with water demand management strategies and conservation.” Naidoo explains that Umgeni Water is unique in that it is not a centralised water board – its infrastructure, which is spread across KwaZulu-Natal, feeds different areas across municipal boundaries. “We have committed to supply water and sanitation services to remote areas. By supplying infrastructure to these places,

we prevent the influx of people to other municipalities that have water services. The resettlement of people to these areas put an additional strain on that infrastructure. This is the purpose of an SOE – we invest in places where no other businesses would, creating economic growth.” Asset management While Umgeni has a capex programme that builds new infrastructure, it also has a structured asset management strategy that takes care of existing infrastructure.

Naidoo maintains that Umgeni Water has a thorough approach towards the management of its infrastructure. “Asset management is a fundamental component to a successful infrastructure business. We have a clear asset management strategy that is internationally benchmarked. A significant portion of our expenditure is geared towards maintenance and extending the life of our assets.” Over the past two years, Umgeni Water has adopted the international standard of asset management – ISO 55000. “Due to Covid-19, there has been no one in the country that can do the certification, but Umgeni Water has been audited against ISO 55000 and looks forward to achieving the certification in due course,” says Naidoo. “Asset management adds further value to our balance sheet and assists in making water more affordable for everybody.”

Magalies Water poised for next phase of growth As one of the nine water boards in South Africa mandated to supply bulk water and sanitation services, Magalies Water provides potable water to municipalities, mines and other private consumers within the North West, Limpopo and Gauteng provinces.


agalies Water owns and operates four water treatment plants, with a combined portable water treatment capacity of 340 Mℓ/day. With a total staff complement of 280, the water utility has obtained a clean audit for the 2019/20 financial year, with a 93% average performance rate and water sales totalling 94 704 537 kℓ. Furthermore, the water sold was on average compliant with all five parameters of SANS 241:2015 (Acute-1 health, Acute-2 health, Chronic health, Operational, and Aesthetic). Some of the key projects completed by Magalies Water include:


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•T  he construction of a 16.5 km long bulk supply pipeline with a booster pump station from the Tuschenkomst terminal reservoir to the existing bulk supply pipeline in Ruighoek. This has ultimately increased water supply to the Mabeskraal cluster. •T  he construction of a booster pump station to increase the pumping capacity from the Klipdrift Wastewater Treatment Works towards the northern areas of the Bela-Bela and Modimolle-Mokgopoong municipalities in Limpopo. • The mechanical and electrical upgrade of the Wallmannsthal high-lift pump station, whose impact has seen an increased

Koster Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality

pumping capacity and efficiency, thus reducing the downtime in the City of Tshwane. One of the more noteworthy milestones for 2021 was the appointment of Magalies Water as the implementing agent for the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants in the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality as per the agreement signed between the two parties. This is particularly significant, since, in 2016, Magalies Water was tasked with designing and successfully building a nutrient removal activated sludge plant in Koster with a design capacity of 6 Mℓ/day.

Sustainability-linked bond for Rand Water The bond marks two firsts for Africa: Rand Water is the first stateowned company (SOC) to receive a sustainability-linked bond and it is the largest South African rand denominated sustainability bond issued in Africa.


MB’s Debt Capital Markets and Sustainable Finance and ESG Advisory teams have arranged R1.2 billion in sustainability-linked bonds, as well as a R500 million 10-year bullet bond – taking the total raised for Rand Water to R1.7 billion. “As companies across a range of sectors increasingly look to access the environmental, social and governance (ESG) debt markets, we are seeing corresponding demand from investors to put their capital to work in investments tied to ESG. Proceeds of the bond will be used to fund Rand Water’s efforts to translate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into concrete, measurable actions,” says Nigel Beck, head: Sustainable Finance and ESG Advisory at RMB. Sustainability-linked bonds seek to integrate a company’s financial and sustainability performance. The coupon of the sustainability-linked bond is downwardly adjusted and linked to the achievement by Rand Water of ESG targets, including additional installed solar energy capacity, increased number of people with access to safe and clean water, and greater female representation at senior management level. Rand Water is committed to strategically embedding sustainability in its operations and has a vision to become a socio-economic change agent. RMB acted as sole arranger and sustainability agent. To meet its issuance and sustainability strategy, Rand

Nigel Beck, head: Sustainable Finance and ESG Advisory at RMB

Water needed a partner that understands the key role debt markets can play in funding – and encouraging – companies that contribute to sustainability. Beck further adds that this capital raise is especially successful as it comes at a time when the capital markets are considered ‘closed’ for the funding of SOCs. “It makes this an important milestone for the sector and for South African capital markets. The issuance of a 10-year instrument in the current market conditions represents an outcome that is yet to be seen in the sector since pre-pandemic issuance dynamics.”


Water stewardship gives mines the broader view With South Africa’s growing demand for water – and the impact of climate change on rainfall variability and water supply security – the need for a systematic approach to water stewardship in mining has never been greater.


uring 2014, the International Council on Mining and Metals’ water stewardship framework outlined a standardised approach for mining companies, recognising that water connects an operation to the surrounding landscape and communities. “Water management has long been a focus in the mining sector,” says Lindsay Shand, associate partner and principal environmental geologist at SRK Consulting. “In our past work with mining clients, SRK often only addressed a particular challenge or project, rather than taking the broader view,” says Shand. “There is today, however, a growing recognition that a high-level, concerted approach to water stewardship is not only the environmentally responsible route to take, but also contributes to building the resilience of the mining operation.” This resilience lies in the ability to identify and manage the myriad water-related risks that operations face. These might include water supply uncertainty, compliance issues related to water quality, and downstream discharge impacts. A water stewardship approach can provide the foundation for proactive planning and action to avoid incidents that could threaten operational continuity or even viability and present a liability to downstream water users. Tools for progress “Often, the scope and demands of water stewardship may seem a daunting prospect at an operational level,” says Fiona Sutton, principal consultant at SRK Consulting. “This is one of the


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reasons why best practice tools are so useful, such as the International Water Stewardship Standard from the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).” The AWS Standard offers a globally applicable framework for major water users to understand their catchment and their own water use and impacts, with practical guidance on how to effectively manage these impacts. “Practical steps and guidance in the AWS Standard help water users to improve their water practices for better on-site water performance, while also contributing to wider sustainability goals,” adds Sutton. Catchment care Water stewardship considers impacts not only on the mine site but in the wider catchment in which a mine operates, according to Dr Simon Lorentz, principal hydrologist at SRK Consulting. “Risks specific to the company can be direct, which disrupts actual mining operations, such as the non-availability of water supply to manage operations like waste disposal,” says Lorentz. “They can also be indirect, where supply chains are disrupted due to water supply issues or poor water quality.” He notes that catchment-specific risks are influenced by local water resource management and governance effectiveness in dealing with factors such as increasing demand and unpredictability driven by climate variability. They are also affected by local infrastructure adequacy, the amount of pollution being disposed of into water bodies, and the resulting quality of available water.

Lindsay Shand, associate partner and principal environmental geologist at SRK Consulting

Dr Simon Lorentz, principal hydrologist at SRK Consulting

Fiona Sutton, principal consultant at SRK Consulting

COVERING THE BASES Applying the principles of water stewardship on mines involves a range of considerations – both regulatory and strategic. On a recent project in which SRK Consulting was involved, the process involved the following, among the various relevant areas to be covered: •w  ater-use licensing – a regulatory requirement that now also includes the need to consider climate change impacts • r educed water consumption alternatives •w  ater quality monitoring • c hallenges arising from the salinity of discharge water – considering upstream water quality conditions and downstream water users •p  ublic consultation and disclosure – including a community water supply project.

“In one of our projects, we worked closely with a mine and the responsible authority to ensure that the quality of the naturally saline groundwater from an open pit was acceptable before being discharged from site,” says Shand. “This strategy was guided by the presence of sensitive farming activity downstream of the mine and was made possible by taking the broader water stewardship approach.” Strengthening reputations Sutton adds, “The central position of water in many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is another reason why many mining companies are starting to embrace water stewardship more systematically.” Many corporates align their strategies with the SDGs, and many of those are relevant to water. While SDG 6 on Clean

Water and Sanitation is key, others that depend on access to water include No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Well-being, Sustainable Cities & Communities, and Life Below Water. “An added advantage of the AWS Standard is that it allows for mines to be accredited once they have met the detailed range of requirements,” she says. “This is valuable in terms of companies’ reputations – whether in the eyes of investors, financial institutions, regulators or the general public.” The AWS’s position as a member of ISEAL assures stakeholders that its water stewardship framework has been reviewed by an independent and competent body. The framework and the accreditation therefore provide a credible benchmark that can be trusted as a true indication of commitment.

A site in a catchment taking cognisance of the effects of upstream activities on a site (red triangle), as well as the potential impact of site operations on downstream water users


A behavioural response to the water crisis How can we guide some groups of people to alter their behaviour in order to benefit others? WASA speaks to Professor Syden Mishi from Nelson Mandela University about creating and sustaining social norms for water conservation.


verybody is aware of the water crisis and the need to save water, and nobody wants to live a day without water. This is evident when there is a water outage – a municipality will receive an influx of calls and social media posts complaining about the lack of water and asking when it will be restored. But are people prepared to take steps towards saving water?” asks Professor Syden Mishi, associate professor and acting head of department: Economics, at Nelson Mandela University. He adds that optimal decision-making requires having full information, the time to process the information, and the ability to do so in a split second. “This is where things fail; individuals do not have this capacity. For example, people plan to take a ‘quick shower’, but they do not time themselves when they are in the shower. People go to the gym to burn calories, but will frequently opt for taking an escalator

over taking the stairs (where they can burn more calories). Individuals are not always rational.” Understanding human behaviour drivers The unconscious mind is responsible for 80% of our decision-making. It is fast, instinctive and emotional. Only 20% of our thoughts are slow, deliberate and logical. Therefore, it is incorrect to assume that making people aware of the problem and offering a solution will translate into a desired action. “Think about your own behaviour: does the fact that you should be doing something (like exercising regularly, eating healthier foods) translate into you doing it? Furthermore, many policies and interventions make the wrong assumption that if individuals are provided with the same information, they will process that information in the same way, resulting in an overall change in behaviour (water saving),” says Mishi.

Optimal decision-making requires having full information, the time to process the information, and the ability to do so in a split second


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Choice architecture Individuals make choices based on: • t he available information • s kills to process that information •a  vailable time to search and process that information •a  comparison of their choice with the choices made by others • t he implication a choice may have on their future and the future of others. “Imperfect information, cognitive limitations and time constraints can lead to an individual making a suboptimal decision. So, therefore, we need to carefully design the environment in which individuals are making choices, to help improve individual decision-making. One quick example is the knowledge of what is communicated, how (manner) it is communicated, and how often. The type of information, its design and the sequence help individuals to make the right decision. Simplicity is key. Detailed information is imperfect; it is timeconsuming to process,” explains Mishi.




• Individuals and businesses who are prepared to pay • Change the way the information is presented. Show how much high water bills money could be saved with a 20% reduction in water consumption, for example. Highlight a foregone sacrifice – what could have been bought with the money that was spent on water? • Lack of punishment for high water consumption

• Only talk about punishment if it can be implemented; focus on the penalty

• People who do not pay the water bills directly (students at a university, employees at an office) • The inability to observe and track water consumption (shared water meters, water bill part of rental contract, or simply lack of time to do so)

• Highlight how increased water usage can increase tuition or rental fees, or impact on company profits, which could translate into smaller or no salary increases

• Belief that others do not save water • The idea that if only a few people occupy a household, more water can be used

• Provide the households with comparative information regarding their own consumption and the consumption of others. Are you using more water than your peers?

• Perception that municipalities do not respond timeously to water leaks

• Strategic communication and showcasing the war on water leaks. Share details like call log time, photos of people fixing the leak, photos of the fixed leak. What is the average time from receiving the log to completing the task? That can be an easy yardstick to measure how serious the municipality is in saving water

Table 1 Limitations and solutions examples

Creating social norms for water conservation Those responsible for managing or overseeing water demand at a large scale (municipalities, institutions, businesses) can follow these steps: • Step 1: Understand water data – what is the water consumption level and how does it compare to the targets? Administrative data is powerful, as it reveals true behaviour on water usage. • Step 2: Process that data and provide it in digestible bits. What group of people or users are consuming at what level? • Step 3: Set new targets; identify minimal water consumption levels and communicate a percentage of water savings in understandable language and units. • Step 4: Influence choices through strategic communications informed by choice architecture. • Step 5: Monitor and evaluate whether behaviour is changing. • Step 6: Scale up the entire process. “It is extremely important to recognise the individuals that have saved water beyond the required threshold. There needs to be a confirmation and reinforcement of that good behaviour. Often, this is neglected and such individuals feel their efforts are not worth it, and revert to old habits (the

status quo). This explains why a generic campaign to save water may not yield the intended results. Comparing behaviour with the behaviour of others motivates people to do the right thing,” states Mishi. In general, individuals care for others and the future, and want to relate to those around them (social status). Decision-making is shaped by the way certain practices are viewed within a community. Therefore, effort should be made to understand such collective views and help correct them for optimal decision-making. For example, what is the social meaning of each possible water saving activity? If putting a brick

in a toilet cistern is seen as low status, how can that be changed? Gathering and sharing information on how many other individuals are following the practice, how – on average – the strategy is helping them reach communicated targets, and what the savings in rand value are make for a good starting point. In conclusion, Mishi adds that one must understand the available data and communicate it in the correct way, and this is the reason why data analytical skills are increasingly in demand. “Educating people does not necessarily change attitudes and behaviours. It is more effective to target behaviour.”

People go to the gym to burn calories, but will frequently opt for taking an escalator over taking the stairs (where they can burn more calories). Individuals are not always rational

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Deviation from standard designs create a durable reservoir

Special vibrating shutters were specified and tremie pipes were used to make sure the concrete did not segregate

Kendall Slater, lead: Pump Stations at Knight Piésold


unique structure that is watertight and aesthetically pleasing was produced by engineering a solution around limited available space, the concerns from the community, historical leakage concerns, and the size of the structure. The old existing reservoir was a 5 Mℓ circular, reinforced concrete reservoir that was supplied by a DN500 offtake from the Western Aqueduct – a major supply pipeline running from Umlaas Road to Durban. Due to increased water demand, the old reservoir was no longer able to meet the 48-hour storage requirement as laid out in the guidelines for human settlement planning. Additional storage was therefore required, and the new 25 Mℓ reservoir was proposed by the eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) Department. Construction joints “Typically, water reservoirs have several movement joints to allow for the movement and shrinkage of the concrete, while still maintaining watertightness of the structure through the use of rubber water stops. This design had been used


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Global consulting firm Knight Piésold was appointed by eThekwini Municipality for the design and construction supervision of a new reservoir in the Hillcrest suburb of Durban.

by eThekwini Municipality for most of the existing reservoirs in and around the Durban area,” says Kendall Slater, lead: Pump Stations at Knight Piésold. Making provision for expansion joints inevitably results in discontinuity in the cast concrete. Traditionally, designers allow for this by specifying the installation of rubberised water stops across each joint, as well as the installation of HDPE membrane liners. However, in many cases, leaks still occur because water stops often become misaligned when casting the adjacent concrete panels. As the membrane liner deteriorates, and the seals around joints fail, water loss is inevitable. That requires ongoing maintenance and the loss of precious potable water. Knight Piésold therefore decided on a different approach and removed a number of movement joints from the structure. As this was a very large concrete structure, the removal of movement joints required careful modelling: • The previously utilised tapered walls were changed to uniform walls. The modelling of the structure showed that the uniform walls performed better as a propped cantilever with smaller crack width, as well as making the reinforcing designs at the

corners simpler and easier to construct. •T  he 8 m high walls of the reservoir were poured in a single lift – reducing the number of construction joints and the construction duration. Normal concrete pours are not usually done higher than 4 m, as there is a risk of aggregate separation during the pour and it is difficult to achieve adequate vibration at the base of the pour. In order to mitigate this, the concrete was poured using a concrete pump with tremie pipes extending to the base of the wall. Long needle vibrators were utilised in combination with special shutter vibrators attached to the formwork at the lower levels. The resulting concrete was of a high quality with minimal spalling. • In order to mitigate the shrinkage cracking resulting from the lack of movement joints, additional reinforcing was required. The higher reinforcing cost was offset against the savings in water bars, as well as the decrease in construction duration and the lower risk of leakage. •C  onstruction joints were still required; however, the specification on these was given careful consideration and closely monitored during construction.


These design changes resulted in a structure that was commissioned with no leaks and a high quality of concrete. “As the Emoyeni Reservoir is located in a residential suburb (Hillcrest), noise pollution, restricted working space, dust pollution and traffic congestion were taken into account during construction. Furthermore, the existing water storage system had to be kept in operation throughout construction,” explains Slater. After several consultations between Knight Piésold and the community, eThekwini Municipality and the contractor committed to fixing portions of the road that were damaged by heavy construction vehicles and avoided using big trucks during school pick-up times. A 20 m high shade cloth fence was erected around the entire site to limit noise and dust pollution. Space constraints and aesthetics The residents living adjacent to the construction site generally disapproved of the size and proximity of the structure to the site boundary. “Our scope of works was extended to re-analyse the future demands and to reassess the size requirements of the reservoir. We conducted hydraulic modelling of the combined Knelsby and Emoyeni reticulation systems and found that the reservoir size could be reduced from 30 Mℓ to 25 Mℓ, excluding the

old 5 Mℓ reservoir (which would be demolished). This resulted in a smaller footprint with more space between the structure and the surrounding houses. The space between the structure and the site boundary increased from 1 m to 3 m,” adds Slater. Knight Piésold’s reconfiguration of the network also optimised the flow and balance of the pressures in the system. The demand projections input into the models were all based on 2042 estimated growth. The sizing of the reservoir and pipework were all done for this scenario. The overall size of the reservoir is 98 m (length) x 34 m (width) x 8.2 m (height) – 4 m of the reservoir is below ground level and 4 m above ground level. Residents were concerned that a large concrete structure would have a negative visual impact that would affect property prices in the area. “Designers added face brick cladding to the outside of the structure in conjunction with an embankment berm around the structure. This lessened the visual impact that this large structure would have on the homes adjacent to the reservoir site. A grassed embankment was added around the structure as much as the site would allow. This reduced the structure’s

“While Knight Piésold will always focus on client specifications and the technical aspects of any project, we hold a holistic vision. We will always consider the environment and social parts of any project. With the Emoyeni Reservoir project, Knight Piésold took ownership of community engagement, as a lack of communication with the surrounding community could have created significant delays.” visual height from 4 m to 3 m. The site was landscaped and grassed after completion, and additional trees were added. Inlet pipework to the reservoir and inlet control valve chambers were all positioned to the rear of the structure so that they were not visible,” says Slater. Operational water storage system “In order to keep the system operational during construction, the reservoir had to be

The 8 m high walls of the reservoir were poured in a single lift – reducing the number of construction joints and construction duration

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Designers added face brick cladding to the outside of the structure in conjunction with an embankment berm around the structure

constructed into two compartments so that the old 5 Mℓ reservoir could continue to operate while Compartment 1 was built. Only once the first compartment was complete and commissioned could the old reservoir be demolished and Compartment 2 be constructed,” he says. While water demand is low, only a single compartment can be used. Separate inlets are provided, as are dual outlets – affording the operators the flexibility of using either compartment or both, should the need occur. The dual compartments also give operators the opportunity to undertake inspections and maintenance while keeping the system operational. Hillcrest has a relatively flat topography and this was taken into account during the study. “Even though there wasn’t a lot of elevation to work with, one of our goals was to minimise pumping costs. We achieved this by eradicating low-pressure zones and by altering the supply network,” Slater explains. “The main line feeding the new reservoir is now the Western Aqueduct pipeline from Umlaas Road. It also feeds designated water towers within the high-level zones.” Excavation Excavation exposed weathered sandstone with local lenses of friable siltstone. Bearing capacity was not a concern, but


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The site was landscaped and grassed after completion and additional trees were added

the variable nature of the material could have resulted in differential movement. Therefore, the unsuitable material was removed to a depth of 1 m and replaced with mass concrete. A soil raft base of G6 and G5 was constructed above this and underground drainage comprised a uniform, 100 mm thick, no-fines blanket with DN75 subsoil pipes embedded. With a 5 m deep excavation required, and only 2 m to 3 m of working space around the structure, a normal battered excavation was not possible. In order to achieve adequate working space around the base of the structure, the excavation required the slopes to be vertical. Therefore, an earth-reinforcing system – in the form of earth anchors, wire mesh and gunnite – was designed in conjunction with geotechnical engineers. Conclusion “While Knight Piésold will always focus on client specifications and the technical aspects of any project, we hold a

holistic vision. We will always consider the environment and social parts of any project. With the Emoyeni Reservoir project, Knight Piésold took ownership of community engagement, as a lack of communication with the surrounding community could have created significant delays,” adds Slater. Knight Piésold held several meetings with the community and kept in constant communication, while doing its best to address all concerns. Contract participation goals – requiring that 20% of the contract value be directed towards local labour and companies – were also successfully met.

EMOYENI RESERVOIR •C  lient: eThekwini Municipality • Consulting engineer: Knight Piésold Consulting • Contractor: Afrostructures


Easy-to-assemble water storage tanks

Circotanks are manufactured from cold-rolled, galvanised steel plates

The Circotank storage system – launched by Structa Technology during the first national lockdown last year – is a robust and economical solution to water storage.


anufactured from a cold-rolled, galvanised steel plate, which is stiffened with an antibuckling profile in a secondary rolling process, Circotanks are assembled on-site. A PVC liner is also installed to ensure a watertight structure. Within the product line, there is a midi range (tanks with a 1 000 ℓ to 20 000 ℓ capacity) and a maxi range (tanks with a 100 000 ℓ to 1 500 000 ℓ capacity).

The maxi range has found application in bulk water storage, such as the supply of water to process plants, fire tanks and potable water to villages. This range utilises a concrete ring-beam foundation and is constructed in circular segments on-site. No cranes are used, and it thus offers an economical solution in terms of both building speed and ease of transport. Smaller midi tanks have found successful application in

rural water schemes, as well as water storage at schools and clinics. The 10 000 ℓ tanks are popular products since these are built on top of elevated stands – again eliminating the use of cranes. Structa supplies both tank and stand, while offering a site construction service. Circotanks are manufactured in the Structa facility in Meyerton, Gauteng, and are shipped and erected across South Africa.

Robust and Reliable


Water Storage Midi Series: 5,000L - 20,000L

Maxi Series: 100kL - 1,500kL

• Highly economical cost to volume ratio • Easily transportable, especially for multiple tanks • Easy assembly, even at elevated heights • NO CRANES REQUIRED • Robust steel tank with high life expectancy • Replaceable liner allows for extended life

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PRESSURE CONTROL TO FIGHT WATER SHORTAGES IN EASTERN CAPE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) is experiencing a drought, with its largest supply dam, Kouga Dam, dropping to the lowest level since it was commissioned in 1969. Water pressure management is considered by NMBM as the most effective real loss and water demand management intervention.


MBM is a water services authority (WSA) and water services provider (WSP). It encompasses the Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), Kariega (formerly Uitenhage), Despatch and KwaNobuhle areas, and supplies water to Kouga Municipality (its largest water consumer). High water pressure contributes towards an increased number of burst pipes and a greater volume of water lost due to underground leaks. The aim of pressure management is to reduce pressure to an acceptable level and, therefore, actual water losses. Water pressure management also decreases water consumption and increases the asset life. NMBM has appointed two service providers – Re-Solve Consulting and Engineering Advice & Services – to formulate and implement a water pressure management plan. Fember Street PRV


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“The NMBM region is divided into supply zones, with plans to install one or more pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) into as many zones as possible. Currently, there are 68 pressure-managed zones within NMBM, which covers approximately 25% of the water network,” explains Lyle Francis, acting deputy director: Water Demand Management, NMBM. PRVs Zones within NMBM are divided into gravity-supplied areas (no PRVs) and pressure-managed areas (with PRVs). The plan is to convert as many gravityfed areas as possible into pressure management zones. Pieter Joubert, professional engineer at Engineering Advice & Services, explains that implementing pressure management is an intricate exercise. “We cannot use a blanket approach across all zones. Each zone is individually analysed and the PRV installations are designed and sized according to zone characteristics, as well as to ensure adequate water supply to all consumers in that zone. Water meters and remote monitoring loggers are installed at the majority of the zones. We, therefore, know the minimum and peak flow rates, volume of water supplied each day, and consumption patterns of each zone. All of these parameters are affected by the type of consumer in each zone.” Industrial zones, or zones with a large number of businesses will typically have a fairly ‘flat’ consumption pattern if they operate 24 hours a day, as they are constantly using water. A residential zone will typically have high and low points in consumption throughout a normal day. Due to the topography of NMBM’s supply areas, certain parts of the water reticulation system have high pressure and other parts

have lower pressure. A zone with minor to minimal changes in elevation throughout the terrain will most likely have similar pressures throughout the zone and is an ideal area to reduce pressure (especially if supplied from a water source situated much higher than the zone). “We analyse each zone individually according to their high, low and critical points. In most cases, the critical point is either the highest point in the zone, or the furthest point away from the proposed PRV position. A theoretical calculation is completed taking into the account the number and type of consumers in each zone, as well as information from the water meters and loggers, before completing a detail design for PRV installations,” says Joubert. During the setting of the PRV, it is important to ensure that the critical point has at least the minimum predetermined water pressure. This pressure is often established by design guidelines used by engineers, or in consultation with the WSP,” adds Joubert. Local by-laws give NMBM the discretion to reduce water pressure to levels they deem acceptable. This is particularly important during a drought, as it provides NMBM with the ability to manage the usage of the water sources more effectively. In Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth, NMBM saved over 650 kℓ per day by dropping water pressure and thus reducing leakage flow rates. Most of the PRVs used by NMBM supply a constant downstream pressure, and are mechanically and hydraulically controlled, negating the need for external power. Maintenance Joubert maintains that whenever new technology or infrastructure is


Pieter Joubert, professional engineer at Engineering Advice & Services

Lyle Francis, acting deputy director: Water Demand Management, NMBM

implemented, its maintenance must be considered. “At NMBM, we are using simple PRVs and focusing on getting the basics correct. PRVs are applied in the areas where the most water savings can be achieved. Technology is available to implement advanced pressure management, whereby WSP Consulting can manage the supply pressure remotely. However, within NMBM, most of the zones have not been fitted with this type of technology as yet.” A dedicated team from the service providers, along with support from NMBM, focuses on the optimal running of PRVs. Similar to any mechanical equipment, parts of the PRVs need to be serviced or replaced from time to time. The performance of the valves is constantly assessed, and minor or major services are performed at regular intervals. This ensures that the PRVs operate as intended and thus reduce the chances of burst pipes and continue to reduce water lost by means of leaks. “If a PRV is not maintained, and thus not functioning as required, there will be an increase in leaks, burst pipes and water consumption. Rather have well-maintained old infrastructure than new infrastructure that will not be maintained,” adds Joubert.

Impact of drought on water pressure In zones where water pressure is governed by the level of a water reservoir, water pressure will drop as the water level drops within the storage reservoir and starts to drain the water network. “Should no effort be made to reduce water consumption, the ongoing drought will make it increasingly difficult to keep the reservoirs full. This has already been experienced within NMBM and consumers felt the effects of low to zero water pressure. Unfortunately, once the network is drained due to a disruption in supply, the water network first needs to fill before pressure can build up to a point where all consumers have adequate supply pressure,” says Joubert. “The installation of PRVs is geared towards optimising NMBM’s water distribution system, not removing a consumer’s access to water. We also believe that it will change consumer behaviour. When one opens a tap and a reduced amount of water runs out of it, one will be reminded to use water sparingly. Consumer behaviour is key when dealing with a drought,” concludes Francis.

St Georges Strand PRV during construction

Amsterdamhoek PRV – pipework before installation



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POLYETHYLENE piping systems = low leakage rates Pipe materials that offer excellent long-term resistance to leaks are necessary to reduce South Africa’s nonrevenue water problem. Leaks are expensive from water-loss, repair and civil works perspectives. By George Diliyannis George Diliyannis, technical service leader, Safripol


ne such material is polyethylene (PE), which has a proven track record of low leakage rates. Invented in 1953, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a relatively new material that has undergone various developments. Two years from PE’s inception, HDPE pipes were being produced and installed in Germany. At the time, these pipes were touted as a solution to redevelop and replace damaged infrastructure dating from the Second World War. Excellent track record Many PE pipelines in Europe, installed between 1960 and early 1977, and made from early-generation materials, are still in operation today. In 2012, the German Technical and

Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW), exhumed some of these pipelines for testing, in order to evaluate the remaining lifetime. No significant deterioration was found and it was determined that those pipelines could last an additional 50 years under design operating conditions. PE is an engineered material that has evolved in leaps and bounds since its inception in 1955. The latest versions of these materials are designed to operate under higher pressures and offer greater resistance to operational challenges such as poor quality backfill, pressure cycling and ground movement.

Type 50 (or PE50) 1955 First pressure pipes produced – could carry 5 MPa for 50 years

1958 Subsequent improved material – could carry 6.3 MPa for 50 years

PE100RC PE100

PE80 PE63

The stress experienced in the pipe walls is dependent on the operating pressure of the system. The latest PE100 materials are tailored to have various additional favourable properties such as increased strength and processability. The latest generation of PE pipes therefore have greater minimum required strength (MRS) and thinner pipe walls, which lead to a savings in materials, improved pressure capabilities and vastly increased resistance to slow crack growth (SCG).

1977 Improved stiffness and resistance to cracking – could carry 8 MPa for 50 years

1990s Bimodal developments further improve stiffness and resistance to cracking – designed to carry 10 MPa stress for a minimum of 50 years

2000s Nextgeneration pressure pipe material

LATEST GENERATION OF MATERIALS Timeline of the development of polyethylene materials


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SCG resistance A unique characteristic of these new materials is their ability to resist cracking in the long term, under operational loading conditions. Termed SCG resistance, it is an intrinsic feature of modern PE pipe materials such as Sapripol’s iMPACT100®, manufactured according to the requirements of SANS/ ISO 4427-1 standards. Resistance to SCG has allowed for PE pipelines to resist soil movement, ageing and subsequent cracking and failure. This property has improved dramatically

when compared to the early generation materials.Several tests are used to determine the SCG resistance of PE100 pipe materials, including: • Pennsylvania edged-notch test (PENT) • strain hardening (SH) test • cracked round bar (CRB) test. Compliant pipes and fittings The manufacture of PE pipe and fittings entails extrusion forming of the pipe material, supplied in granules, into pipes or fittings. These pipes and fittings are then installed on-site by dedicated,

specialist companies who join the various components using one or more jointing techniques, such as butt welding and electrofusion welding. The SANS 4427 standard (Plastics piping systems: polyethylene pipes and fittings for water supply) contains specific and detailed requirements for raw materials, pipes and fitting, as well as installation practices. Adopted from the ISO 4427 standard, SANS 4427 represents best global industry practices. Current pipe raw material and pipe manufacturing standards do not

AGRULINE FITTINGS & PIPES RESISTANT TO CRACKS LONGER SERVICE LIFE crack resistant PE 100-RC HIGH ECONOMIC EFFICIENCY sandbed-free installation LASTING CONNECTIONS better welding results ONE STOP SHOPPING complete PE 100-RC piping system

agru Kunststofftechnik Gesellschaft m.b.H. | Ing.-Pesendorfer-Strasse 31 | 4540 Bad Hall, Austria | T +43 7258 7900 |

PLASTIC PIPES allow the use of non-PE100 materials for use in pressure pipelines due to the predominantly negative and unknown effect of these materials on pipe design lifetimes. Qualified PE compounds such as iMPACT100 for water pipe and fittings production, and which are compliant with SANS 4427, ensures a high level of consistency in the product quality and performance with lowest effort on the pipe producer’s side. The risk of receiving non-conforming pipe and fittings can be greatly reduced by ensuring that these items are procured from converters and suppliers who can demonstrate compliance with SANS 4427 and accreditation with SAPPMA (South African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association). By following the standards and guidelines, one can ensure that installed pipeline systems last for at least 50 years and do not require excessive maintenance or consume more power than necessary to uphold the designed hydraulic capacity. Recycled materials With sustainability concerns in mind,

several utility companies in the EU have commissioned studies into whether post-consumer recycled plastic material can be effectively used for the production of pressure pipe and fittings. Various mixtures of different materials have been blended, from 100% post-consumer recyclate to blends containing only 10% post-consumer recyclate. These blends were then subjected to testing for, among others, resistance to SCG, with internationally accepted and documented ISO and ASTM test methods. Unfortunately, none of these studies shows post-consumer recycled material having the correct properties for use in pressure pipe and fittings. In fact, they have demonstrated the negative effects of using materials other than PE100 to manufacture HDPE pressure pipe. Some of these studies have also documented the effects of contamination on service lifetime. This is because the properties of postconsumer recyclate can vary substantially according to source and contamination levels. Post-consumer recyclate materials therefore cannot be used to design and manufacture pressure pipe and fittings,

and their use is expressly forbidden by the SANS and ISO standards. Local use In South Africa, PE is developing a good track record, with more and more arduous and difficult projects specified with PE100. As an example, PE100 polyethylene was chosen for the Hammanskraal 800 mm horizontal directional drilling project carried out by Trenchless Technologies. In this installation, the existing asbestos cement pipe was reamed out and the new PE pipeline was pulled through in situ.

SAFRIPOL Safripol is a proudly South African polymer producer, serving the needs of the local market since 1972 and utilises licensed technology from LyondellBasell and Qenos to produce iMPACT100® polyethylene pipe material, certified as compliant to SANS 4427-1 by the SABS.

Win your share of R25 000 in prize money


We are looking for striking digital images to celebrate the important role plastic pipes play in South Africa. Show us how you view plastic pipes and their use in infrastructure (e.g. supplying clean drinking water), “behind the scenes” images that show the manufacturing process, the often unappreciated hard work and team effort involved in a pipeline installation, the skill required when welding a plastic pipes, or a striking, artistic photograph of a plastic pipe, etc.



• A maximum of 2 photos per entrant must be submitted in digital format to SAPPMA via email to or delivered on a USB stick or CD/DVD by close of business on Friday, 5 November 2021. • We will require details, including name, phone number, email address and other information about your photo submission.


We are calling on all photographers to submit your creative interpretation of our theme:



Integrated intelligence to solve wastewater challenges Xylem’s new Flygt Concertor wastewater pumping system is designed for 1 kW to 10 kW pump stations.


aunched more than 60 years ago, Xylem’s Flygt brand represents a long history of pioneering development of products and solutions for handling water and wastewater; with the first submersible drainage pump and the first submersible sewage pump. A fully integrated pumping system, Flygt Concertor’s design works in harmony with the external pumping system to reduce the total cost of ownership while delivering the highest quality and reliability. It senses the operating conditions of the environment and adapts its performance in real time to provide feedback to station operators. “The name Concertor relates to the harmony between built-in software functions and hardware, which creates efficient asset management, trouble-free pumping and energy savings at a reduced investment. Concertor combines a fully integrated control system, IE4 motor efficiency, Xylem’s patented Adaptive N-hydraulics, and intelligent pumping system functionalities. The control system automatically adapts to the changing pumping environment to deliver optimal performance at the lowest costs. The built-in intelligence also makes it easier to set up and operate, and allows for a significantly smaller footprint,” says Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager, Xylem Africa. In terms of pump asset management, due to the wide range of pump curves that can be accommodated, the need to identify real pumping design requirements before sizing and choosing suitable pumps is removed. One self-adjusting pump can efficiently replace several differently sized pumps, reducing inventory by up to 80%. This makes product selection much easier, with adjustable performance curves that can be fine-tuned remotely or on-site, reducing backup inventory, making sparepart handling easier and reducing delivery lead times.

For trouble-free pumping, built-in features such as clog-free operation reduce the need to call out vacuum cleaning trucks – by up to 80%. “Cleaning out sludge, sand, grease and other debris from a sump tank can be an unpleasant and costly task. While standard pumps are designed to combat many of these issues, Concertor takes trouble-free pumping to an entirely new level,” says Mistry. With built-in sump, pipe and pump cleaning, as well as automatic clog detection and phase rotation correction, the Flygt Concertor system’s self-cleaning hydraulics and self-monitoring functionality are ideally placed to protect key system components, using the variable-speed drive and its control electronics placed in a stable submerged environment. “Studies show that energy accounts for 34% of the total life-cycle cost of a typical wastewater pumping system. Concertor is a true energy-saver, with the potential to cut municipal electricity bills by up to 70% compared to conventional wastewater pumping,” adds Mistry. Concertor also reduces energy use in several ways. For example, Xylem’s patented self-optimising Energy Minimiser automatically ensures that all working

pumps at any station are running at their most efficient duty points. The pump’s motor complies with IE4 efficiency standards, while Xylem Flygt’s adaptive N-hydraulics, in high-chrome Hard-Iron™, guarantee sustained efficiency on the hydraulics side. Investment is reduced because the cabinets required for the system are up to 50% smaller compared to direct online pump controllers. Concertor achieves this by including the variable-frequency drives, control electronics and climate control equipment into the pump to give a single, pre-engineered and configured pumping system. This frees up space in both existing and new cabinets, allowing for full monitoring functionality without the larger cabinets that would traditionally be required. As it is fully integrated, no additional climate control equipment is required; the system is factory configured and tested. On installation, it requires only a connection to a small cabinet to give access to the simple installation wizard and the built-in supervision and monitoring functions. S E P / O CT 2021



makes a huge difference in the water sector

Sabine Dall’Omo, chief executive of Siemens Southern Africa and Eastern Africa, talks to Kirsten Kelly about digital solutions that can help manage water. Sabine Dall’Omo, chief executive, Siemens Southern Africa and Eastern Africa


or many years, leak detection and water meter management were manual processes. But with digitalisation, a customer or utility can view their meter readings by clicking a button and a municipality or water board can be notified of a leak, abnormal deviation with a pump, or water pressure changes via an alarm or SMS. “Water utilities and municipalities need to distribute and treat water as efficiently as possible, water treatment works (WTWs) must have as little downtime as possible, and municipalities must send out accurate and timely billing. Digitalisation can help with all of this,” says Sabine


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Dall’Omo, chief executive of Siemens Southern Africa and Eastern Africa. She adds that there has been a massive leap in terms of technology since most of South Africa’s WTWs were built. “Digitalisation allows for the monitoring of an entire water distribution network. A water utility’s first step towards digitalisation would be to learn what types of technologies are available. The second step would be to reach out to various organisations that support developing countries and get feasibility studies off the ground in trialling various technologies. It is very important to have an understanding of what technologies

are a ‘nice to have’ and what technologies are a ‘must have’.” Siemens products Siemens supports the water industry with a comprehensive set of solutions for the entire water cycle. Smart water management technologies and digital management systems, combined with faster response times, could dramatically increase water reliability and significantly reduce losses. Siemens Water (SIWA) applications are developed for the water and wastewater industry operators, and can be used to optimise energy efficiency, avoid water

DIGITALISATION (Photo credit: Ivan Bandura)

loss, and reduce the contamination of water bodies.  “On a global level, Siemens has partnerships with numerous water utilities to assist in the efficient running of water works, the measure of output and throughput, and the reduction of operating costs. We supply everything from a management system for WTWs to motors and flow meters, and can integrate our technology with pumps. We even provide simulation software that can showcase how a specific application or technology would work within a WTW. This can be used to train staff and can make the shutdown for preventative maintenance quicker, as all potential problems during the simulation have been ironed out,” explains Dall’Omo. Water infrastructure needs to be routinely maintained in order to avoid failures and unexpected downtime. But unnecessary maintenance can also lead to high costs because of shutdowns. Digitalisation can give plant operators better access to information that will be able to detect and react to problems and predict other issues that may occur. Water and energy As a player in both the water and energy industries, Siemens has a distinct advantage. For instance, an electricity meter and a water meter can be connected to the same Siemens management system. This would mean that both services could be billed together. “Water and energy go hand in hand. To run a WWTW or pump water to a consumer, one needs energy. There has to be a reliable energy supply to treat and distribute water,” adds Dall’Omo. Energy is one of the biggest input costs of the WTW. By reducing these costs, one can reduce the cost of treating water and wastewater by up to 15%. Siemens supplies digital applications that can optimise the energy consumption of a WTW. “I believe that, as water is an essential service, all WTWs should have a redundant power system. Redundancy is important for the entire water distribution system. With a digital system, it is important to have a fallback option where people can access the operations of a plant (with relevant authorisations) manually,” states Dall’Omo.

Cybersecurity Presently, the cybersecurity of water utilities in South Africa is not a huge issue. “Some digital applications have been deployed in small sections of WTWs, but it is unlikely that a cybercriminal would be able to shut off an entire water distribution system,” adds Dall’Omo. Siemens digitally connects all water infrastructure assets into a defined cloud space called MindSphere. This is not on an open platform or server, and can be customised for a specific client with stringent security protocols. MindSphere has multilayered security that guards sensitive data, applications, operating systems and infrastructure. Cybersecurity is embedded in all Siemens applications. Local issues “Siemens has supported a community organisation in Alexandra, close to Sandton – a wealthy urban area. When we asked them what we could assist with – what their biggest need was – they said ‘water’. So far, we have not seen any significant investment into the water industry in South Africa. There appears to be very little action in times of Covid-19, when we need water, sanitation and hygiene services the most. In my opinion, the reason why water is not moving forward is because there are too many players. South Africa has antiquated, outdated water infrastructure,” says Dall’Omo. She adds that water education is desperately needed. Generally, Capetonians have changed their behaviour around water usage due to the water crisis experienced a few years ago. The rest of the country needs to do the same. Trends in water Dall’Omo believes that water is the commodity of the future and will be desired by everyone. “This includes green energy. For example, if you want to produce hydrogen, you need a lot of water. There is already a necessity to efficiently manage water and, in the future, this will become even more urgent – especially because water needs to be affordable for everyone. Therefore, the digital management of water resources will become increasingly important in the future.”

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Remote monitoring for water and wastewater plants A leader in measurement instrumentation, Endress+Hauser offers a cloud-based monitoring solution for the optimisation and automation of water networks – Netilion Water Network Insights (NWNI).

regions with a self-sufficient power supply and wireless data transmission.


uited for both densely populated and remote areas, NWNI gives full transparency of water networks by monitoring water quantity, quality, pressure and temperature. This monitoring solution can connect to all levels of a water supply system and offers service providers and water boards customised solutions from a single source. These include everything from field devices, components for data transfer, data recording and data archiving to data evaluation, as well as forecasting functions. With NWNI, users have 24/7 complete access to all measuring data gathered in a water network and transmitted to the cloud. This data can be accessed via control room, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The web-based visualisation of water networks gives users complete control. In case of failures or if limit values are exceeded, an alarm is sent automatically via email or SMS to a smart device or the control room. There are a variety of evaluation and display options such as time curves,


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diagrams, tables or trend displays. By incorporating other data sources, such as weather data, it is also possible to create trend analyses and forecasts, like run-off behaviour during heavy rainfall, water demand or expected water availability. Communication is always encrypted and tamper-proof, even in remote

Drinking and process water Water infrastructure can be in difficult-to-access regions and spaced far apart. This can increase the time and cost of maintenance. NWNI is the ideal solution for minimising routine walkarounds while still maintaining a full overview. It guarantees reliable control of water flows in spring tapping, elevated reservoirs, pipelines, and in pumping and distribution stations. This makes it possible to closely track a broad range of measured values and quality parameters. NWNI offers: • comprehensive monitoring of water quantity and quality around the clock

With NWNI, users have 24/7 complete access to all measuring data gathered in a water network and transmitted to the cloud

• correct allocation and accounting for costs in custody transfer • reliable location of leaks by monitoring overnight water consumption (non-revenue water) • targeted, data-driven decisions and reliable forecasts through direct integration of current weather data • high energy efficiency due to the optimisation of pumping times. Wastewater and complying with environmental regulations NWNI assists wastewater works to comply with meeting all parameters (like characteristic values for water quality, limit values, substance concentrations, or maximum pollution loads), as well as legal requirements for inflow and outflow conditions. This is done through: • reliable forecasts of inflows and outflows or water quality using current weather data and analysis algorithms • optimal sizing of wastewater treatment plants through the comprehensive knowledge of substance concentration and material loads in catchment areas • reliable control of the legally defined water quality in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants using devices for liquid analysis (pH value, oxygen, ammonium or phosphate) • accurate billing of wastewater charges thanks to precise flow and concentration measurement • minimised risk of harm to biological processes in wastewater treatment plants by monitoring certain substance concentrations in the inlet. Custody transfer In custody transfer with water, the smallest inaccuracies in flow measurement can cause massive shortfalls in the annual billing – both for suppliers and consumers. However, while operating 24/7 in the water business, it is hardly realistic to remove flow meters for test measurements or recalibrations, particularly for large water pipelines up to 3 m in diameter. Despite this constraint, the integrated Heartbeat Technology testing function developed by Endress+Hauser makes it possible to monitor flow meters continuously, verify their functional capability, and thus provide evidence of consistently high measuring accuracy within the specification. This enables assured compliance with the regulations that apply to custody transfer measuring points – during operation and without interrupting the process. Another unique feature is that users can start and view this verification function directly via the cloud. The verification logs are generated automatically and stored securely, for later audits or for the drafting documentation that complies with statutory requirements. In coordination with regulation authorities or weights and measures services, this enables legally stipulated calibration intervals to be extended. Water system operators therefore experience lower costs when operating custody transfer measuring points. NWNI offers water treatment plants and wastewater treatment plants reliable monitoring, without being present in the field.

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

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An app to help run Johannesburg and Cape Town My Smart City is a free mobile and desktop-based platform that allows for citizens to report road-related issues such as potholes, report power or water outages, communicate with local municipal officials, and raise a petition.


cumen Software has launched the platform for City of Johannesburg and City of Cape Town residents. It is designed to assist citizens, businesses, community groups and public sector service providers to communicate and collaborate within their wards. In time, residents will be able to source private services, manage crowd-funding initiatives and gain access to community social and sporting events.

Making citizens heard

“My Smart City is giving South Africans a voice to see the resolution of service delivery issues and to allow them to view issues and log incidents, prioritise them and connect

+27 83 676 5904 +27 11 824 4810

the right service providers to resolve them. We believe that the platform has the potential to ‘Uber-ise’ service delivery by putting the power in the hands of citizens who use the platform. In time, the platform will also create jobs for thousands of citizens and private contractors,” says João Zoio, CEO of Acumen Software.  The platform has already been integrated into the City of Cape Town’s call management system and intends to connect to all municipal systems to enable the automation of information flows from citizens. Where the My Smart City platform has not been granted access to interface with municipal systems, Acumen Software’s dispatch centre team will become the conduit between citizens and their

João Zoio, CEO, Acumen Software

municipalities to ensure that citizens’ issues are appropriately logged and tracked. Acumen Software has secured private equity investment from Capitec-backed Imvelo Ventures and Sappi-funded Andzani Ventures, which has been used to fund the development and launch of the platform. All Johannesburg and Cape Town residents are asked to register and create profiles on the platform and to invite family, friends and neighbours to join them in becoming active citizens with strong voices. The more subscribers the platform has, the greater the power of citizens to effect change and improvements in their city. The platform is available on Android, iOS, and on the web at

26 Nagington Road, Wadeville


PUMP SHAFTS and flow measurement

VEGA sensors deliver the required measured values despite foam and cramped conditions.


astewater with a high fat content poses a challenge. Although cleaning out and processing this material is not a problem technologically, the process conditions are quite challenging for level sensors. The high fat content in the wastewater creates a lot of foam – which makes the liquid levels in the various basins and pump shafts difficult to detect. Level measurement in wastewater treatment processes must be exact and reliable. Level data forms, among other things, the basis for pump controls.

AIZ tourist area

Achental, Inntal and Zillertal (AIZ) are Tyrolean valleys on the northern edge of the Alps in Austria and attract over 8.5 million tourists a year. AIZ is home to countless hotels, guest houses and restaurants, as well as small businesses such as alpine dairies and yoghurt producers. The sewage treatment plant treats not only the wastewater produced by the visitors, but also that produced by the 53 000 permanent residents of the 32 local communities. “All in all, we treat 10 million cubic metres of wastewater per year,” explains Josef Brandacher, who is responsible for the measurement technology at AIZ. “The environment is our greatest asset, so it is incumbent upon AIZ to ensure that the collection and handling of wastewater, as well as its subsequent clarification, is environmentally compatible and economically viable.” The wastewater is collected via canals and directed from the collecting basin to the Strass sewage treatment plant

via a 161 km long sewer network and 100 pumping stations distributed throughout the association’s territory. Total energy consumption of the wastewater treatment plant has dropped noticeably since 2003, despite increasing loads. The specific energy consumption in kWh per inhabitant and year has been reduced from an initial 30 kWh to approximately 20 kWh.

VEGA sensors

This has been achieved by means of reliable and – above all – accurate, measured values. For the level and pressure process variables, the association decided (decades ago) to use sensors from Schiltach-based VEGA. “We have been working together with VEGA since 1989 and some of the pressure transmitters we installed back then still function perfectly,” continues Brandacher. “What we especially appreciate about the company is that, when a problem does occur, we always get help immediately.” Each pumping station is fitted with a sensor to monitor the level – which can be from around 50 cm to 1 m depending on the pumping station – and switch on the pumps according to the set limit value. “The pumps may start up only two or three times a day, but sometimes they start up 50 to 60 times a day,” explains Brandacher. For reasons of explosion protection, VEGAPULS WL 61 is installed in many of these shafts. This sensor is considered an all-rounder in the water and wastewater sector. The application spectrum of the radar sensor, which is designed specifically for water and wastewater measurement, ranges from level measurement in pump shafts and

flow measurement in open flumes to river and lake gauging, or level and discharge measurement at stormwater overflow basins. It has proven its worth above all through its robustness: the measurement is affected neither by changing medium properties nor by fluctuating process conditions such as temperature and pressure. In addition, the flood-proof IP68 housing ensures continuous, maintenance-free operation. In addition to the VEGAPULS WL 61, AIZ tried out the new compact VEGAPULS C 21/C 22 radar sensors. The sensors are intended for simple, non-contact level measurement where a high protection rating is required. They are particularly suitable for use in water treatment, pumping stations and rainwater overflow basins, as S E P / O CT 2021



well as for flow measurement in open flumes and river level monitoring. The sensor delivers exact measuring results without effect from the medium, the process or the ambient conditions. It is also maintenance-free and thus ensures high plant availability. The sensors are based on VEGA’s 80 GHz radar technology, with an extremely narrow beam angle, which makes it possible for the instrument

to deliver very precise measuring results even in cramped measuring situations, in extremely dirty environments, or in containers with many internal installations.

Pump shafts

In Hart, the pump shaft has a cross section of about 3 m x 2.5 m, and a depth of 4 m. In Buch, the shaft is round, with a diameter of 2 m and a

depth of 5.5 m. The situation here is particularly difficult because of the low level of impoundment. The pump is effectively in continuous operation, switching on and off up to 100 times a day. This is an ideal application site for the new VEGAPULS C 21/C 22 sensor series because the sensors work reliably even with foam, of which there is plenty in the AIZ network, and with build-up on the shaft walls.


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