George Municipality represented at Non-Revenue Water reduction training in Japan

George Municipality was represented at a Non-Revenue Water reduction training project in Japan to learn first-hand how the country approaches and manages water losses through leaks and theft or metering inaccuracies.

Mr Henry Jansen, Deputy Director Civil Engineering Services (Water and Wastewater Services) at George Municipality, attended the training in Japan together with other dignitaries from across the country.

They attended the training during the first two weeks of August.

During the research phase last year, the Department of Water and Sanitation had meetings with Mr Jansen to discuss the water losses and Non-Revenue Water situation in George. During the research the project team had to understand the general causes of water losses as well as Water conservation and water demand management measures implemented to improve the situation. The project team was impressed by the sound knowledge and commitment of Mr Jansen and nominated him as one of the facilitators to go to Japan based on his knowledge, expertise, experience and passion in the broad field of Non-Revenue Water reduction and management. The training exposed Mr Jansen and indirectly the George Municipality to advanced methods, approaches and technologies utilised to curb water losses and improve water services infrastructure management.

Water is a scarce resource in South Africa. The need to manage water equitably is entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic and also in the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) and the Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997). Water Conservation and Water Demand Management is recognised in the Act as an instrument for managing water equitably thus aiming at reducing Non-Revenue Water (defined as water not billed or accounted for).

South Africa has very high water losses and non-revenue water with a national average of 42%. This is in major contrast compared to Japan with a national average of 7%. It is therefore prudent that South Africa learns from best practices in Japan to reduce non-revenue water in South Africa. Non-Revenue Water management training should as a start focus on developing practical skills to tackle water losses and NRW in the municipal environment.

The government of South Africa and the government of Japan have entered into a bi-lateral cooperation agreement in the field of water resources, the two governments represented by the South African Department of Water and Sanitation, SALGA and the Japan International Cooperation Agency respectively.

Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that has been treated and is “lost” before it reaches the consumer. Losses can be attributed to real losses (through leaks, sometimes also referred to as physical losses) or apparent losses (for example through theft or metering inaccuracies). High levels of NRW are detrimental to the financial viability of water utilities. NRW is typically measured as the volume of water “lost” as a percentage of the volume of net potable water produced. However, it is sometimes also expressed as the volume of water “lost”.

Photo Caption IMG 12 88: Here is Henry Jansen, Deputy Director Civil Engineering Services (Water and Wastewater Services) at George Municipality on the far left with dignitaries from South Africa and members of the Japan International Cooperation Agency
on a site tour to the Municipal Water system in Yokoma.

Photo caption IMG 1820: Henry Jansen (middle back), Deputy Director Civil Engineering Services (Water and Wastewater Services) at George Municipality with more dignitaries from South Africa and members of the Japan International Cooperation Agency on a site tour at the Municipal piping works in Yokoma.

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