Big drop in water losses

2009-11-06 00:00

FROM 42% during the 2003/04 financial year to 17,56% during the first quarter of the 2009/10 financial year — these figures represent the progress of the Msunduzi Municipality in reducing unaccounted-for water losses over the past five years.

The reduction means the municipality has benefited financially to the tune of R40 million over this period, said the deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services, Phil Mashoko.

“By any standards this is a great achievement, given that the unaccounted-for water losses in certain municipalities is as high as 35% to 40%,” Mashoko said.

He said his business unit was prompted to act when the losses reached record levels five years ago. A water loss task team was created in 2004 to oversee the project and together with councillors and officials, a strategy was adopted which yielded great results within a relatively short time, he said.

“From experience, efficient and accurate meter reading, renewal of old pipes, response times to water bursts and management of standpipes are the four most important activities for any serious reduction of unaccounted for water,” he added.

Mashoko said the goal is to reduce the water losses even further and to do this they have to find out what the water losses are in specific zones.

This will be a challenge, he said, as it will mean involving various communities and thereby giving power to those who are misusing facilities.

“We still have problems with taxis using standpipes and the non-reporting of faulty meters,” he said.

In order to reduce water losses further and improve accountability, strategies will include the establishment of a team that will police water theft, water conservation programmes in schools, shutting off illegal water connections and the installation of district meters and water-limiting devices in people’s homes.

“The capital budget of R10 million allocated for water pipeline renewal in 2009/10 will go a long way in reducing the unaccounted for water losses to even better levels.”

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