WATER DEMAND MANAGEMENT SUCCESS
DRAKENSTEIN MUNICIPALITY, DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Drakenstein Municipality faced high growth in water demand despite aging and poorly regulated water infrastructure. Water demand grew by approximately 3.5% per year. The total amount of water used per day ranged from 325l/c/d to 350l/c/d and more than 18000MI of water was used per year. As much as 33% of water was metered incorrectly or not metered at all, which resulted in significant financial losses. The municipality also suffered from very high pipe system pressure. The Paarl service area had pressures ranging from 200kPa – 1400kPa. Pressure over 900kPa causes burst pipes and water loss. These problems were prevalent throughout South Africa and South African municipalities lost an average of 37% of their water through water network leaks or inaccurate metering of water. It was essential to develop methods to both ensure that water needs were met and that water systems were maintained.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Department of Water Services in the Drakenstein Municipality proposed the Water Demand Management Success program. The program addressed issues of water demand and system maintenance. It introduced a hydraulic management system through which water pressure in the municipality was analyzed. It implemented a rising block tariff system with strict bylaws that determined daily water restriction times and behavioral practices. It developed the pressure management initiative program to upgrade the water network with pressure reducing equipment and replaced existing water infrastructure with high quality and durable equipment. It increased public awareness and promoted water saving devices by organizing annual water week campaigns for the last 14 years with regular water conservation programs as well as lectures at schools relating to issues of water conservation. It performed the refurbishment and replacement of existing water infrastructure by carrying out leak detection and repairs on water networks. It also replaced defective water meters and eliminated unmetered connections.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This program used one of the first comprehensive pressure management programs. Excessive water pressure leads to broken pipes and wasted water. Pressure management reduces water demand, improves water supply reliability, reduces pressure fluctuations and extends the life of water supply pipes. The process worked by first analyzing water flow and determining areas with significant pressure. Then hydraulic controllers and pressure reducing valves were used as a means of reducing pressure in high volume areas. As much as R560m during a 12 year period was saved due to this process. In addition to this process, the initiative found creative methods with which to convince citizens to use less water and save resources. Activities included conducting school workshops, repairing water meters, holding tours of water treatment plants, and implementing a tariff program that charged high rates for excessive water usage.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In 1997, the Drakenstein Municipality worked with the Paarl Town Council to implement the Water Demand Management Success Programme. The programme initially focused specifically on reducing and controlling the extremely high water pressure in the Paarl area. It did so by upgrading and replacing infrastructure, creating new pressure zones and installing pressure-reducing values in strategic positions. In the late 2000s, the municipality enacted other programmes to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) usage. It compiled a water network computer model, a leak detection programme, performed audits on all metered water connections, replaced inaccurate meters, metered unmetered connections and installed district and zone water meters. The municipality also began to upgrade the entire municipal water network by performing preventive maintenance, leak repairs, implementing a rising block residential tariff, imposing strict regulations on irrigation and implementing campaigns designed to teach people to conserve water. The programme was closely monitored in order to ensure that it was successful. Between 2001 and 2013, a total of 142 million litres of water, worth about R710 million, was conserved. Non-revenue water consumption decreased from 33% to 11%. The success of this initiative inspired the Drakenstein Municipality to work with other municipalities in order to implement the programme elsewhere.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Drakenstein Municipality was responsible for the design and implementation of the programme. This municipality includes the larger towns of Paarl and Wellington and the small town of Hermon, Gouda and Saron. Town councils worked in collaboration with the Drakenstein Municipality Department of Water Services to implement the Water Demand Management Success programme.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Significant resources were invested into pressure management and the refurbishment and replacement of water network material. The first seven pressure management valves, installed at Paarl and Mbekweni, cost R2.8million. It is estimated that an additional R5million will have been spent between 2013 and 2016. Additional resources were invested into hydraulic monitoring systems, metering systems, educational initiatives, and the refurbishment of existing water networks. Despite high financial costs, the project has already saved more than R710million in lost water revenue. It is estimated that savings will continue to increase with growing water demand.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The five most successful outputs are the hydraulic modeling system, the rising block tariffs scheme, the pressure management initiative, the metering and refurbishment of existing water networks programme and efforts to increase public awareness through education. The hydraulic monitoring system uses a GLS consultant (Gésteyn, Laubscher & Steyn is a consultant that developed the software that analysed a water network and bulk infrastructure. The software then determines what upgrading will be required for developments to take inside the municipal boundaries. It also indicates where bottlenecks will be encountered. All municipalities in the Western Cape and the DWA make use of GLS) to create a model of all water reticulation networks in all towns. The largest towns, Paarl and Wellington, are divided into separate pressure zones. This system provides the foundation from which officials can address water system problems. The rising block tariffs scheme charges consumers who used significant amounts of water in order to encourage lower water usage. Usage over 80kl/month is charged at very high rates. The pressure management initiative uses hydraulic controllers and pressure reducing valves to reduce pressure and control flows in order to make water usage more efficient. The metering and refurbishment of existing water networks fixes poorly functioning meters, finds illegal connections, and replaces 14.5km of pipe and valves annually. This process also increases the efficiency of the water service network. The education efforts include Water Week educational efforts at more than 26 schools, awareness campaigns held at shopping malls, educational visits to water treatment plants, the distribution of educational pamphlets, and the distribution of water saving devices (such as low flow shower heads).

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Drakenstein Municipality closely monitored the programme and produced statistics that graphed water savings, cost savings, non-revenue water consumption, overall water consumption and predicted versus actual consumption. Statistics were comprised yearly so as to track progress and ensure that gains were continually being made. The statistics indicated that progress was overwhelmingly positive. From 2000 – 2012, both revenue and non-revenue water consumption decreased significantly and more than 142billion litres (R710mil worth of water) was saved.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Project managers found that it was difficult to find illegal water connections and stop them. Even now, some industrial areas of Paarl and Wellington still use non-metered water. Illegal water usage in informal settlements also appears to be prevalent, yet difficult to find and stop. The initiative found that a lack of funds, lack of skilled personnel, difficulty in retaining a skilled workforce and the vandalism of infrastructure impacted negatively on the success of the initiative. While the initiative was able to achieve success despite these challenges, these issues can become larger problems in provinces with higher crime rates or greater poverty.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Measures to monitor water consumption and encourage less water usage have been very successful. Prior to the implementation of the programme, growth in demand for water was increasing by 2.5% to 3.5% per year. Yet after the programme was implemented, total water demand decreased. Between 2000 and 2012, demand dropped from 17800MI to 11900MI. It is estimated that if consumption trends that occurred prior to 2000 were to have continued, water demand would have risen to more than 25000MI, which is more than double the current rate. Since the Drakenstein Municipality purchases water from the City of Cape Town, the significant amount of water that has been saved resulted in huge cost savings for the municipality. The municipality would have spent more than R710million purchasing water from Cape Town between 2000 and 2012 had consumption trends not significantly decreased. The money that has been saved gave the Drakenstein Municipality the opportunity to invest more money into maintaining the existing system. An average of 14.5km of pipe was installed every year to replace or upsize existing pipelines. Between 2009 and 2012, a total of 43499 meters of pipe was installed. Pressure valves have also been put in high-pressure areas. These pressure valves have been a massive infrastructure improvement. Their installation has accounted for as much as 80% water savings from 2000 – 2012. This is approximately 113billion litres of water or approximately R560million worth of water. Overall, such maintenance of water programmes has both ensured that the water system continues to meet consumer demand and that water consumption remains low.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The initiative is both sustainable and transferable. The Drakenstein Municipality recognized that it is possible to maintain its technical and maintenance teams in the long-term. It also outlined the following operational procedure in order to ensure sustainability: the proper record keeping of data and information regarding the infrastructure (including flow measurements); the maintenance of historical information of the whole reticulation systems; the training for personnel and the use of correct equipment for all day to day operations; the refurbishment of reticulation systems using quality materials; the implementation of a preventative maintenance program (maintaining of valves, pumps and equipment before it becomes a problem); the creation of criteria to reduce pipe repair reaction time (attend to water burst pipe incidents within one hour); and the mantra to keep operations basic. Cooperation of municipal staff and town councils must also continue in order for the initiative to remain sustainable. The overwhelming success of this project makes it feasible to implement it in other municipalities that face similar issues. In 2002, the City of Cape Town implemented a similar pressure management program. It is currently implemented in almost every major South African municipality, with varying levels of success.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Water Demand Management Success was successful because it took a comprehensive approach to addressing water management issues. The use of hydraulic modeling, a rising block tariff scheme, the pressure management initiative, the metering of all unmetered connections, the use of public awareness campaigns and the refurbishment of water networks all contributed to the success of the program. In particular, it was found that the pressure management initiative was very successful. The placement of just 7 pressure-reducing valves at Paarl and Mbekweni contributed to as much as 80% of the total water savings of the programme. A Water Commission report suggested that South African municipalities lose as much as 37% of their water through water network leaks and inaccurate or non-metering of water usage. Municipalities should initiate programmes that mirror the Water Demand Success initiative in order to address issues pertaining to water networks.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   DRAKENSTEIN MUNICIPALITY, DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Andre Kowalewski
Title:   Mr  
Telephone/ Fax:   27218074708
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   andrek@drakenstein.gov.za  
Address:   Market Street, Box 1
Postal Code:   7646
City:   Paarl
State/Province:   Western Cape
Country:  

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