Move to drop water pressure

2011-09-13 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has embarked on a non-revenue water reduction programme to reduce water pressure, which has cost the municipality millions of rands in past years.

Already R205 million has been approved for the programme and R21 million spent to launch it.

The municipality placed a notice in The Witness yesterday to alert residents to the move. The notice states that average daily demand for water in the municipal area is exceeding available sustainable supply.

It said it is implementing many water conservation and demand management measures to avoid the need for water restrictions, increase efficiency and continue to extend the water supply to new consumers.

Said the acting process manager for water and sanitation, Brenden Sivparsad, said, “The reduction of average system operating pressures is being carried out in accordance with both national standards as recommended by the Department of Water Affairs and a long-term strategy recently adopted by the municipality.”

He said that reducing pressure will reduce the volume of leaks and the frequency of pipe bursts, extend the life of water distribution systems and ensure that all consumers continue to receive a ready supply of water.

“Lowering the operating costs of the municipality will ultimately lower the cost of water for the consumer.”

Sivparsad said that on average the municipality forfeits about 47% of its potential revenue from water because 20% is supplied free to poorer consumers and 27% is lost to wastage.

The Witness understands that council loses between R60 and R70 million annually in revenue due to water leaks, burst pipes and faulty metering.

The programme aims to reduce that drastically.

Sivparsad said residents and businesses will not be affected because they have systems in place to check which critical areas need pressure to be reduced.

“We have already installed pressure-reducing valves in the CBD and residents can be assured that everyone in the city and surrounding areas will benefit from this programme.”

Sivparsad said about 60% of the residents in Pietermaritzburg will not notice the difference. This is because the volumes will not be affected.

Consumers will merely notice that water will through their faucets more slowly.

He said that if it takes a resident five seconds to fill up a glass with water, with pressure adjusted it will take them seven seconds.

The water pressure reduction will also prolong the life of water infrastructure as the pressure will not strain the pipes.

“The greatest reduction in pressure will take place during off-peak hours, but this will not be noticeable for the majority of consumers.”

Sivparsad said residents with appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines that are more than 20 years old may experience problems with the reduction in water pressure.

Vinmah Plumbers owner Vinesh Maharaj said the programme is a great idea, but the municipality should have introduced it a long time ago instead of leaving it until residents are facing exorbitant electricity and water bills.

“The council could have saved a lot of money if they had started this programme earlier when the problem was still minimal,” he said.

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