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New pilot project to reduce water loss


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The worst of the recent drought in Cape Town seems long gone, with the dams full and a wet winter, the water situation in Cape Town seems almost solved. This doesn't mean that the leadership in Cape town will leave it at that however. The leadership of the city is setting about starting a new project involving water readings from remote locations to improving billing on water and reduce the wastage of water.

Source: City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has implemented a pilot project for the remote reading of water meters in an attempt to reduce water loss and improve water billing.

According to Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, nearly 19% of Cape Town's piped water is lost through burst water mains and domestic leaks. Even though this is well below the losses for most other cities in the country, it still costs the City R4 million annually.

The pilot project uses well established international technology that can discern if there are water leaks or other factors contributing to excessive water loss.

Meters for the project is being installed and tested in three areas – Sunset Beach in Milnerton, the entire Epping Industrial area, and the N2 Gateway residential housing project.

The remote-read meters measure the complete range of meter sizes and flow rates, and will automatically flag where consistent leaks or wastage occurs. The leaks can then be attended to.
The use of these meters will also enable a detailed, zone-specific water balance to be calculated.

The system allows all water meters to be read automatically and simultaneously and at the exact end of the month, with minimal reasons for missed readings and estimated accounts. This should reduce frustration for both consumers and City staff.

"The new meters will eliminate the problems that have been previously experienced with conventional meter reading methods, where locked gates, vicious dogs and other security measures prevent City staff from accessing conventional water meters," Justus said.

The pilot project is expected to run for the remainder of the financial year, after which a full report will serve before Council. The results from the different areas will provide feedback and pinpoint potential problems and actual cost benefits should the project be adopted and implemented on a larger scale.

Justus said it is expected to be a win-win situation for everyone, with the end result being correct billing, accounting and payment for water used, and the identification of leaks and a reduction in wastage.

Martin Pollack 

Date Posted: 2009-10-19
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