Water: city gets cracking

2011-09-15 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality Mayor Chris Ndlela yesterday saw high-tech equipment in action that should save the council millions in repairs to burst pipes around the city.

John Klopper, the owner of the contractor, JK Structures, said the user-friendly equipment can lay 100 metres of rehabilitated pipes within 90 minutes.

“We had to prove our services and ensure that they are not affected by the rehabilitation process,” Klopper said.

“We had to check that telephone and electricity cables were not affected before actual work could commence.”

Phase one, which will involve rehabilitating the water network at the lower end of the city, is due be completed by the end of November, Klopper said.

“The contract will include the construction of pressure-reducing valves that have been responsible for regular pipe bursts in the city,” he added.

The acting process manager for water and sanitation, Brenden Sivparsad, said that a year ago illegal connections and unmetered or unregistered connections accounted for 37% of the city’s water losses.

“We have improved the efficiency of meter readings and billing and begun to identify all illegal connections by ensuring that all connections are metered, registered and not tampered with.”

Sivparsad said at least 10% of 5 200 meters could not be read because they were covered by rubble or overgrown plants.

“During the first three months we inspected 2 500 meters and cleared the areas around them.

“These meters are now being read and those consumers will be billed accordingly.”

The aim is to replace about 30 km of piping in areas that are most regularly affected by burst pipes, Sivparsad added.

Phase one is aimed at covering 11 km of piping in the eastern part of the CBD.

Ndlela watched as a new pipe was forced through an old one, repairing the cracks in the process.

“The advantage of using this trenchless technology is that water pipes can be rehabilitated without excavating in high-density traffic areas and causing major disruptions,” the mayor said.

Besides saving costs, the pipe-cracking technology also reduces the carbon footprint of traditional construction by avoiding road closures, reducing traffic detours and avoiding the rehabilitation of roads and pavements, he added.

thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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