NMB Business Chamber: Over 1,5 million litres of water per day could be saved

PHOTO: Ian Waldie, Getty Images

Over 1,5 million litres of water per day could be saved through the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Adopt a Leak initiative, which complements the work of the municipality to rein in water leaks across Nelson Mandela Bay.

To this end, the initiative, which forms part of an agreement between the chamber and the municipality, has been operational for more than a week.

Approximately 1 200 domestic leaks and 140 connection leaks have been identified for repairs in the first of the six targeted areas.

Once this work has been completed, Adopt a Leak will systematically move through each one of the pre-identified six predominantly residential areas located in impoverished communities in the metro, where there is a high concentration of leaks.

The aim is to reduce the minimum night flow rate, which is the water flow rate into the various areas at a time when the demand should be close to or zero. By monitoring these flow rates and by means of visual leak detection in the communities, the chamber aims at reducing the volume of water lost through municipal reticulation, connection and on-site property leaks.

The team is currently repairing leaks in the first identified area where approximately 30% of residential properties have some form of on-site or internal property leaks.

The estimated combined targeted saving of 1,3 million litres of water a day represents approximately 25% of the water used in the six areas and this will allow 26 000 additional residents in the metro to have access to 50 litres of water per day.

“Looking at it the other way round, if the repair work was not undertaken it could potentially deprive 26 000 people of 50 litres of water a day.

“It is important to remember that each of these leaks is quite small when seen in isolation. However, the combined effect is significant though, if left unattended and not urgently addressed,” said Denise van Huyssteen, chief executive of the chamber.

“More importantly, the majority of these leaks are quick fixes and have an immediate impact on water availability. There are 26 similar residential areas within the metro which potentially could be targeted for leak repairs in the future as part of a second phase of the initiative.”

It is not just about fixing the municipal leaks where there are pipe bursts in the streets or municipal designated areas, a lot of small things make a difference such as fixing residential or internal plumbing leaks.

As such, it is important for residents to be proactive in identifying water leaks in their households and neighbourhoods, and immediately fix them to rein in further water loses.

Van Huyssteen added: “Fixing leaks within communities further creates awareness of the need to use water sparingly. As the chamber, we commend businesses who have stepped up to make this initiative a success.

“Their swift interventions will go a long way in mitigating the risks associated with the water crisis through the fixing of the leaks.

Additionally the chamber has been running its Adopt a School initiative for over a year to rein in leaks at schools as this is where 10% of the total water losses happen. “In recent weeks, the number of schools supported has doubled up from 36 to 72, thanks to tremendous support from 12 of our member companies.

“Given the need to urgently save and reduce water, we would like to appeal to more businesses to get actively involved through either our Adopt a School or Adopt a Leak initiatives.”