Deputy City Manager for Trading Services Philemon Mashoko presented eThekwini Municipality’s Water Conservation and Water Demand Management Plan for the next 10 years to the Executive Committee today, 31 July.

10 year water strategy plan for eThekwini


He outlined the various steps the City will be taking until 2027 to ensure a sustainable water supply in the City. This includes the establishment of a first level response team responding to water pipe bursts and leaks in record time.
Mashoko said areas of the plan to ensure the security of water supply include:
• Financial sustainability
• Water quality
• Management capacity (Talent Management, Operational Resilience, Sound Governance)
• Water resources (ground water, effluent reuse, dams, sea water and rainwater harvesting)
• Water conservation and water demand management and;
• Infrastructure stability
Mashoko said the strategic objectives were to improve financial sustainability of the business by protecting and enhancing revenue streams, to optimise the usage of available water resources thereby ensuring security of water supply and to improve on accountability and governance.
During his presentation, he said broad objectives of the plan include:
• Reduce Non-Revenue Water to <20% by 2025/26
• Reduce System Input Volume (annual water demand) growth to <1%
• To reduce unrestricted average domestic water consumption (wastage) by 25% by 2026
• To increase water reuse to 100M/day by 2022
• To install meters on all water connections (100%) by 2022
• To ensure clean audit of the water business on a yearly basis.
Mashoko said the City’s strategic approach would be to use the International Water Association water balance to ascertain the components and size of the Non-Revenue Water and to ascertain the geographical zonal distribution of the Non-Revenue Water in the Metro and prioritise the zones with the highest percentage and high return on investment.
Further, the City will select the appropriate mix of synergistic interventions that will yield maximum gains such as pressure management and pipe replacement which must be married.
“We will use the lessons learnt in the last ten years and avoid the mistakes made while maximizing on the interventions and methodology that yielded good results,” he said.
A two pronged approach to water conservation will be pursued namely; demand reduction from the consumer side and demand reduction from the utility side, Mashoko added.
He outlined new targets by loss type for Non-Revenue Water:
• Real which comprises of bursts, leaks, high pressure and reservoir is currently at 30%. The target is 25% in the next five years and 17% in the next 10 years.
• For apparent losses which include inaccurate meters, billing errors and illegal connections, the current loss is 10%. The target is 5% in the next five years and 3% by 2027.
• Finally for authorised unbilled consumption which includes unmetered rural areas, unmetered informal, RDP, fire fighting and tanker services, the target is 5% in the next five years and 3% in the next 10 years, an improvement from the current loss of 10%.
This plan will ensure benefits for the City.
In financial terms, based on the cost of water at R5.33/kl, an average selling price of water R16.64 (9-25kl tariff) and an average sewer charge of R5/kl, the benefits are as follows:
• R229m annual savings from real loss reduction (implemented over 10 years);
• R1 260m annual increase in billed revenue from metered consumption (implemented over 10 years);
• R38m from the increase in sewer charges (implemented over 10 years).
• The combined annual benefit for the Water Conservation Water Demand Management Plan, is R1 489 000 000 per annum.
Mashoko provided an action status update on some projects including:
• Pipe replacement which is ongoing. The approach will be reviewed based on performance, criticality, vulnerability and network analysis,
• Leak detection and reservoir refurbishment will commence,
• Efforts underway in quick response to bursts and leaks. This will be intensified and resourced and a first level rapid response team will be created,
• Education and awareness campaigns, while ongoing, will be refocused and intensified,
• The installation of smart meters, valve control training and resizing of meters is still to commence while the replacement of aged meters to be intensified under the programme,
• The metering of informal settlements is very slow and a programme will be commence soon while the metering of rural properties will also be intensified,
• Pilots of treated effluent reuse are underway and,
• By-laws review will commence.
Mashoko said 68 000 water flow restrictors have been installed in the City to deal with the drought in the past year.
“There are many issues we will be looking at. Water conservation has not previously been looked at gauging how we conserve water, education and awareness around this as well as by-law enforcement. Targets will be monitored,” he added.
By Kreanne Jaipal

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