Watershare® in practice
Dealing with leakage losses in South Africa
From 8 to 11 September, KWR researchers Peter van Thienen and Ilse Pieterse, together with 5 representatives from Dutch water companies, are in Cape Town, South Africa. Their trip has 2 objectives: the introduction of the CFPD method in South Africa and knowledge exchange, particularly in the area of drinking water distribution. The Dutch companies represented in the delegation are themselves implementing the CFPD method.
CFPD stands for Comparison of Flow Pattern Distributions: a method which allows for the easy detection and quantification of changes in water demand. The method can also provide information on the possible causes for water demand fluctuations. Water companies in South Africa struggle with big leakage losses. Moreover, they have to deal with societal issues, such as migration into the cities, a strongly increasing demand for water, and so-called “informal settlements” with public or shared tap points. The CFPD method, which is implemented in the Watershare® Network Flow Performance tool, can, among others, play a role in distinguishing legitimate water demand from leakage losses.
“Dutch researchers value the many years’ expertise of water-practice people, and seek scientific solutions for practical problems”
The 2 Dutch researchers give a short course on the CFPD method, and the use of its associated software, at the University of Cape Town. This is followed by 2,5 days of symposia at the university and at the Cape Town water company. Consultants, academics and representatives of other South African water companies are also present. Professor Kobus van Zyl of the University of Cape Town is very enthusiastic about the meeting: “It’s good to meet experts and water-practice people from the Netherlands who are interested in what’s happening in South Africa, and who want to share their knowledge and experience. To me, the Dutch water sector represents something of an ideal, where people study and understand the objectives, problems and limitations of the provision of water services; and where rational decisions are taken, and then decisively and consistently implemented.” The presentations of the visitors confirm his image: “I’m impressed by the innovative and practical research that they have done; and by the fact that the research is frequently implemented in water practice.”
Doctoral candidate Mpafane Deyi is also complimentary: “Dutch researchers value the many years’ expertise of water-practice people, and seek scientific solutions for practical problems. They work as 1 team with people from various companies.”
Because of the CFPD method’s potential in South Africa, the local Center of Expertise (CoE) of Vitens-Evides-International wants to start up a showcase on its implementation. The showcase will apply the method in one or more pilots with local partners, after which training material for the method’s local implementation will be developed. The first steps in this direction have already been taken: the City of Cape Town (CCT) has become a member of Watershare®, and the university will focus on the scientific aspects of the introduction of the CFPD method in South Africa. The Dutch delegation remains closely involved and supports de African collaboration partners, via Watershare® among others.
© 2018 KWR Watercycle Research Institute
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Peter van Thienen
Senior scientific researcher