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SA’s water crisis is manmade’s water crisis is manmadeJo Barnes<p>​Tuesday (22 March) is World Water Day. In an opinion piece published in Cape Times on Tuesday (22 March 2016), Dr Jo Barnes, <span style="line-height:20.8px;">Senior Lecturer Emeritus in</span> the Division of Community Health at Stellenbosch University, writes that South Africa's current water crisis is manmade.</p><ul><li><span style="line-height:1.6;">Read the complete article below or click </span><a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/Jo%20Barnes_Cape%20Times_22March2016.pdf" style="line-height:1.6;"><strong>here</strong></a><strong style="line-height:1.6;"> </strong><span style="line-height:1.6;">for the article as published.</span><br></li></ul><p><strong>SA's water crisis is manmade</strong></p><p><strong>Jo Barnes</strong></p><p>A lack of water impacts on every sphere of life. It affects health, economic production, jobs, safety and social stability, to name only a few.</p><p>The present drought in South Africa made the slogan of a better life for all impossible to attain in the foreseeable future. Our economy is already constrained and a lack of sufficient and safe water supplies will directly affect agricultural production, commercial opportunities and manufacturing capacity. Beyond those direct impacts, the secondary damage may even be greater. It becomes very difficult to keep families healthy, workers in regular employment and children in school when water pollution related illnesses affect so many people.</p><p>The drought highlighted the dysfunctional organisation of South African water supply and demand management. It also provided a convenient and easily identifiable excuse for the poor access to safe water supplies experienced by so many South Africans.</p><p>A drought is a weather-related occurrence <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;"> </span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;">̶</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size:11pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;"></span>  one that South Africans know they can expect sooner rather than later. In fact, the present drought has been expected by meteorologists for at least a decade. The El Nino phenomenon associated with drought conditions is a very variable event and its appearance has been expected for at least 10 years. The government has been alerted to this risk for many years. In future, the expected accelerating changes in climate will make such weather-related crises much more common. It is to be hoped that the lessons learnt from the present crisis will help to improve an unwieldy system that is slow to adapt to new challenges.</p><p>In contrast to the major causes of drought, water supply and delivery are mainly management and service issues - man-made if you will. South Africa has a sophisticated system of water transfers and storage to counteract the patchy distribution of rainfall in the country. This system of water transfers is now being threatened by poor planning, fragmented and incoherent policies, as well as long-term lack of maintenance and prevention of water losses. Many of our big storage dams have structural issues while wastewater treatment and water distribution systems fail over wide areas on a daily basis.</p><p>Poor sanitation and improper water service delivery result in very high levels of pollution of our rivers and dams, excessive amounts of harmful nutrients in dams and increased costs to deliver safe drinking water in urban areas. Failing wastewater treatment infrastructure on its own is a substantial, but potentially preventable, source of pollution. This water pollution increases the risk of adding to the already very high case load of waterborne and foodborne diseases. A worrying aspect is the continuous rise of<em> E. coli </em>concentrations in our rivers to unacceptable levels and this situation is deteriorating in spite of governmental assurances that there is no crisis. A high level of this organism is a warning that such water is unsafe for human contact. At certain thresholds, such water also becomes unsafe for irrigation of fresh produce or watering of livestock. There is no common sense in polluting water in rivers only to spend more money and effort downstream to remove this pollution to make the water safe for use.</p><p>Unfortunately, it is already too late to avert some of the health-related crises that will accompany a severe shortage of safe, potable water. Food prices are set to increase substantially in the coming months, dropping thousands more families into food insecurity. This will seriously affect the urban poor as their main staple foods are maize and grains. Families already stressed by HIV/AIDS and other chronic health conditions will be disproportionally affected by both the increase in infection risks in their environment and the lack of affordable, nutritious food.</p><p>Municipalities are tasked under the present arrangements as implementing agents of water restrictions, which is the main response to the fall in water supplies in urban areas. In reality, this management practice appears to the ordinary home owner as if the municipality does not apply the restrictions to its own organisation. Phone calls to report leaking water mains are unanswered and the response times to fix visible water leaks are long. A leaking water main can spill more water down the street over the course of a few days than the inhabitants can hope to save over a few months. All these obstacles to co-operation from water users are deepening the crisis of confidence between users and water authorities. Municipalities face their own constraints, but better communication and more efficient service delivery will go a long way towards getting their users on their side.</p><p>The other official response in urban areas was to announce a substantial increase in the price of water sold to households. This increase works in a stepwise fashion. The more water that is used, the higher the punitive costs will be. It seems as if this approach was meant more to offset the loss of revenue from falling water sales than to act as a water saving strategy. This practice sends mixed messages to urban water users. Those who in the past already heeded the call to cut their water use as far as possible are 'rewarded' by higher rates.</p><p>One cannot manage what one has not measured. A lot more needs to be done to gather reliable data in sufficient detail to optimise water allocation to competing water users. Weather data are becoming less detailed as weather stations are being closed down. The question of how much water will constitute the bare minimum for important economic activities to continue has not even been touched. </p><p>The health burden alone of the present lack of stable water supplies makes it imperative for South Africa to use this drought to improve the political and management systems relating to water. Robert G Ingersoll, the 19<sup>th</sup> century American lawyer and environmentalist, said "In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments  ̶  there are consequences". We are not managing the consequences of this drought at all well.</p><p><em>*Dr Jo Barnes is</em><em> a former senior lecturer in the Division of Community Health at the Faculty of  Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.</em></p><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Supplied/World Bank</p>
How sustainable are South Africa’s groundwater resources? sustainable are South Africa’s groundwater resources?Wiida Fourie-Basson<p>This is the question that three postgraduate students from Stellenbosch University (SU) want to answer by collecting as many rainfall and groundwater samples from across the country as they can and they want you, the public, to help. </p><p>Dr Jodie Miller, an isotope geochemist in SU's <a href="/english/faculty/science/earthsciences/">Department of Earth Sciences</a> and the project leader, says South Africans tend to turn to groundwater during periods of drought to compensate for insufficient rainfall: "With this project, we want to develop a model to map the distribution of renewable groundwater in South Africa. With this information we can avoid exploitation and rather use this important resource in a sustainable manner."</p><p>MSc student Jared van Rooyen and fellow BSc honours students, Yaa Agyare-Dwomoh and Zita Harilall, have now embarked on a crowdfunding and citizen science initiative to fund their project.</p><p><strong>Crowdfunding for groundwater research </strong></p><p>Starting on 22 February on the South African crowdfunding platform <a href="">Thundafund</a>, they plan to raise R60 000 to cover the bare necessities for setting up 100 sample locations. But if they can raise R200 000, they will achieve their goal of 300 sample locations as well as acquiring a dip meter. This instrument costs R15 000 and will enable them to accurately measure the depth of the groundwater samples they collect. </p><p>Ultimately, the more points they have in their model the more robust and accurate the model will be (see comparison between the two maps below). </p><p><img src="/english/faculty/science/PublishingImages/News%20items/B_100samplingpoints.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" />  <img src="/english/faculty/science/PublishingImages/News%20items/B_300samplingpoints.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>The funding will also be used to set up rainfall collectors and sample groundwater from existing boreholes. Citizen scientists' will receive their very own sampling kits as well as the required funding for sending the samples back to Stellenbosch for analysis.</p><p><strong>The science behind the project</strong></p><p>"The modelling of groundwater resources is not a new thing," explains Dr Miller. "But because South Africa is geologically very complex, we need more site-specific data to accurately model what is happening to our groundwater in different catchments."</p><p>She says there is a significant difference between modern groundwater, young groundwater and what hydrogeologists call fossil groundwater. Broadly speaking, modern groundwater is water that has been recharged by rainfall in the last 50 years. Young groundwater has been lying underground for a couple of centuries, while fossil groundwater or deep water has remained untouched for millennia.</p><p>It is therefore important to know and understand how regularly groundwater gets recharged to determine whether it is a renewable resource or not. But how do you determine when groundwater was last recharged? </p><p>Dr Miller explains: "We use Tritium (<sup>3</sup>H), the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to determine when water that enters the groundwater system was last in contact with the atmosphere. Tritium is naturally produced in the stratosphere and is rained out on the earth's surface. Once it enters the groundwater system and becomes isolated from the atmosphere, it decays at a constant rate.<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" src="/english/faculty/science/PublishingImages/News%20items/B_Groundwatercycle_and_tritium.png" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p>"Therefore, the longer groundwater is isolated from the atmosphere, the lower the tritium concentration. By knowing the concentration of tritium in rainfall and the concentration in a groundwater reservoir, we can predict how regularly the water is being recharged.</p><p>"Once we know this, we can model how renewable the resource is as well as how vulnerable it is to variations in climatic conditions, such as a reduction in rainfall." </p><p>With such a model, they will be able to identify areas that have renewable groundwater resources for sustainable agricultural developments, as well as those areas where the water resources need to be protected (see graph at the right, adapted from Alley et al, 1998). </p><p><em><em><span style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:"gill sans mt", sans-serif;"><span style="color:black;"></span></span></em></em><strong>We need a long-term groundwater management strategy</strong></p><p>Prof. Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, says groundwater is incorrectly perceived as an unlimited water resource and hence often abused: "It is of paramount important to understand the groundwater cycle as part of the water cycle in order to manage this valuable water resource."</p><p>This project will be a step forward in establishing a sustainable groundwater management strategy for South Africa, adds Miller. </p><p>It is also the first crowdfunded and crowdsourced endeavour in South Africa to investigate our groundwater resources.</p><ul><li>Visit Thundafund at <a href=""></a>  to support the campaign.</li><li>Follow the students' progress on their blog '<a href="">We Know Water'</a>, on <a href="">Facebook</a> (search for We Know Water) or on Twitter <a href="">@we_know_water</a></li><li>If you have a borehole and want to become part of the citizen science campaign, contact Dr Jodie Miller at</li></ul><p><strong>Captions</strong></p><p><strong>[weknowwatergroup.jpg]</strong></p><p>Three postgraduate students from Stellenbosch University have embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to raise R200 000 for their research into the sustainability of South Africa's groundwater resources. From the left, MSc student Jared van Rooyen and fellow BSc honours students, Yaa Agyare-Dwomoh and Zita Harilall, with their study leader, Dr Jodie Miller. <em>Photo: Stefan Els</em></p><p><strong>[100samplingpoints.jpg & 300samplingspoints.jpg]</strong></p><p>Do you have a borehole on your property? Become a citizen science and participate in this research project from Stellenbosch University to investigate the sustainability of South Africa's groundwater resources. The more points they have in their model the more robust and accurate the model will be. Graphics:<em> Jodie Miller</em> </p><p><strong>[groundwatercycle and tritium.png]</strong></p><p>Tritium occurs naturally in the stratosphere and is rained out on the earth's surface. Once it enters the groundwater system and becomes isolated from the atmosphere, it decays at a constant rate. The longer groundwater is isolated from the atmosphere, the lower the tritium concentration. By knowing the concentration of tritium in rainfall and the concentration in a groundwater reservoir, scientists can predict how regularly the water is being recharged. Graphic: <em>adapted from Alley et al, 1998. </em></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Media enquiries</strong></p><p>Dr Jodie Miller</p><p>T: +27 _21 808 3121</p><p>E:  <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><p>Mr Jared van Rooyen</p><p>M: +27 72 795 6776</p><p>E: <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>Issued by Wiida Fourie-Basson, Media: Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University</em></p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>T: 021 808 2684</em><em>     </em><em>E: </em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>     </em><em>M: 071 099 5721</em></p>
Prof Eugene Cloete wins national award Eugene Cloete wins national awardCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p><span></span>​Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at Stellenbosch University (SU), received a National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)/South32 Award on Thursday (29 June 2017) for his outstanding contribution to research and innovation in South Africa.<br></p><p>Prof Cloete was a winner in the category: Research leading to innovation in a corporate organisation by an individual or a team. He received the award for his teabag water filter intervention, Rotoscope and other innovative projects.<br></p><p>The annual NSTF/South32 award ceremony, which took place in Kempton Park, recognises, celebrates and rewards outstanding excellence in Science, Engineering, Technology (SET) and Innovation in South Africa.<br></p><p>Prof Cloete has pioneered nanotechnology applications in the water industry and has demonstrated the application of nanotechnology, by developing and patenting a water purification filter based on functionalised nanofibers, especially applicable in rural areas. This invention was termed one of 10 world-changing ideas by the <em>Scientific American</em> journal in 2010.</p><p>Among his other important water treatment technologies are Rotoscope which is a small device to monitor bio-film or slime found in water and other wet environments as well as a bioreactor for the treatment of wine cellar effluent. He also pioneered solar pasteurisation as a method for disinfecting harvested rainwater.<br></p><p>Prof Cloete is the founding director of two successful water institutes at the University of Pretoria (2004) and SU (2010) respectively. He also founded a network of Water Centres of Excellence in Southern Africa on behalf of the African Union. Acknowledgement for his contribution to policy is reflected in ministerial appointments on the boards of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (2012) and the Water Research Commission (2014).<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Cloete's research in the application of nanotechnology in the water industry led to nine patents.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Among the other awards Prof Cloete has received over the years are a Gold Medal from the Academy of Science of South Africa, the South African Academy of Science and Arts' Havenga Prize for Biology, and a Silver Medal from the South African Society for Microbiology. He was also elected as a Fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology, the International Water Association, the Water Institute of South Africa and the Royal Society of South Africa.</p><p>Prof Cloete has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles, six books and many book chapters, and is also one of the top 50 most cited water scientists in the world.<br></p><p>He supervised and co-supervised many masters and doctoral student over a long period. Many of his students became leading researchers across the world.<br></p>
Play your part to save water! your part to save water!Corporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​As of 17 July Stellenbosch Municipality, like the City of Cape Town, is subject to level 4B water restrictions. This means each person is restricted to the use of a total of 87 liters of potable water per day. This thus includes a person's total water use at work and at home. </p><p>“For a while now, Stellenbosch University has not irrigated its gardens. Exotic plant species are replaced by indigenous and endemic plants over a long period," says John de Wet, Manager: Environmental Sustainability at Facilities Management.</p><p> The University also does the following to save water:</p><ul><li>Water-permeable paving is used to allow rainwater to penetrate the soil and refill the underground aquifers.</li><li>Landscaping is designed to maintain water and thus to absorb and save water.</li><li>A limited amount of grey water is reused.</li><li>Water-saving showerheads and toilets have been installed on campuses.  </li><li>Water leaks are continually tested and fixed.</li><li>Rainwater is collected and reused.</li><li>Water quality is monitored for pollution.</li></ul><p> “Each and every staff member can play his/her part to save water. Here are a few things you can do to stick to your limit of 87 liters per person per day:" </p><ul><li>Shower for only two minutes and use water-saving showerhead. Limit the water if you take a bath.<br></li><li>Collect your shower and basin water and re-use it to flush your toilet and use it in the garden.</li><li>Do not defrost food under running water.</li><li>Use a cup for brushing teeth or shaving. Do not leave the water running.</li><li>Turn off the tap while you soap your hands to wash them.</li><li>Wait for a full load before using your washing machine.  </li><li>Do your dishes by hand – this uses between 10 and 30 litres of water. A dishwasher uses between 40 and 75 litres of water per cycle.</li><li>Report leaking taps, sprayers and other devices to (021) 808 4666.</li></ul><p> For more information contact John de Wet at <a href=""></a> or 021 808 9422.</p><p><br></p>
Microbiologist searches wastewater for alternative antimicrobial compounds searches wastewater for alternative antimicrobial compoundsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p>​​​Municipal wastewater may become a key ally in the fight against antibiotic-resistant disease-causing bacteria and fungi, a new study at Stellenbosch University (SU) found.<br></p><p>“Certain bacteria in municipal wastewater produce antimicrobial compounds or biosurfactants that can help prevent the growth of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms which cause serious infections in humans," says Dr Thando Ndlovu a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology at SU. Ndlovu recently obtained his doctorate in Microbiology at SU under the supervision of Prof Wesaal Khan from the same department.</p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify" unselectable="on"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br> </p><p>He says the rapid increase in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria was a major reason behind his search for new antimicrobial compounds. <br></p><p>As part of his research, Ndlovu collected wastewater samples and also carried out molecular and microbiological tests in a laboratory on various biosurfactants-producing bacteria found in these samples. He isolated two bacterial strains whose biosurfactants proved effective against antibiotic-resistant disease-causing bacteria.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Biosurfactants are compounds produced naturally by bacteria, fungi or yeasts and they have been commercially utilised in shampoos, shower gels, and household cleaning products. They are also used in food, agriculture, cosmetic and medical industries as well as in environmental bioremediation to prevent the spread of spoilage and disease-causing bacteria.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The biosurfactants produced by the two bacteria in my study prevented the growth of major disease-causing bacteria such as methicillin-resistant <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em> and gentamicin-resistant <em>E. coli </em>which can lead to life-threatening infections in humans," says Ndlovu.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This finding is promising given worldwide reports on the number of deaths caused by antimicrobial resistant microorganisms that are becoming increasingly difficult to treat with current drugs." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The discovery of novel antimicrobial compounds is a priority and biosurfactant compounds could be used to develop new antibiotics for treatment of various infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria and eventually replace ineffective antibiotics in future."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ndlovu says his study showed that municipal wastewater is ideal for the isolation of diverse biosurfactant-producing bacteria that could be utilised in the production of such compounds for commercial use. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“While numerous studies have reported on the isolation of biosurfactant-producing bacteria from contaminated soil and terrestrial environments, the current study indicated that municipal wastewater could be exploited for the isolation of diverse biosurfactant-producing bacterial strains."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Biosurfactant-producing bacteria thrive in polluted environments such as contaminated soil or water. These bacteria also have the ability to outcompete other bacteria in the same environment because the biosurfactant compounds help them to absorb nutrients and to protect them from toxic materials." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ndlovu adds that biosurfactant compounds can be used to reduce the use of synthetic antimicrobial agents for various purposes such as cleaning and coating agents to prevent the build-up of disease-causing and spoilage bacteria.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As far as future research is concerned, Ndlovu says he is now focusing on the application of biosurfactant compounds with antimicrobial properties. <br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Photo</strong>: Dr Thando Ndlovu in the laboratory.<br></li><li><strong>Photogra​pher</strong>: Stefan Els<br></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Thando Ndlovu</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Department of Microbiology</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Faculty of Science</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tel: 021 808 5803</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cell: 073 630 7359</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">             OR<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Martin Viljoen<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Manager: Media</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Corporate Communication</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tel: 021 809 4921</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href=""></a></p><p> </p><div><br>​<br></div><p><br> </p>
New qualification in water process management nearing completion qualification in water process management nearing completionMedia and Communication, Faculty of Science<p style="text-align:justify;">An interactive workshop to develop the content for an occupation qualification for water process management was hosted by the Stellenbosch University Water Institute from 19 to 21 July at the Faure Water Works in the Western Cape.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Participants included representatives from the Energy Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSTA), the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), the municipalities of the City of Cape Town, Drakenstein, Nelson Mandela Metro and Govan Mbeki, as well the South African National Parks (SanParks), the Institute of Municipal Engineering of South Africa (IMESA), Randwater, Colleges of Boland and West Coast and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) Water Service Sector Leadership Group (WSSLG). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Manual Jackson, SUWI project manager, says the workshop is the result of a qualification scoping workshop that took place on 24 April 2017 at SU: “During the April workshop the rational for developing the qualification was presented, the qualification development processed was discussed under the QCTO framework, as well as the required buy-in from all stakeholders.  A community of experts was nominated which include a working group, and the role of all stakeholders were confirmed."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Present at this workshop were experts from the South African Local Government Support Agency (SALGA), WISA, the municipalities of Drakenstein, Swartland, Bergriver, George, Swellendam, City of Cape Town, Knysna and Mosselbay, IMESA, DWS, as well as the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority (LGSETA).</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Background</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Quality Council for Trade and Occupation (QCTO) approved the application to develop the qualification in February-March this year in order to build capacity in the water treatment sector. SUWI then coordinated the application process on behalf of the EWSETA. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Section 9 of the Water Service Act [No 108 of 1997] empowers the minister of water and sanitation to develop and maintain standards related to water and sanitation provision. In 2013, the then minister of water and sanitation published in the government gazette (36958) draft regulations relating to Compulsory National Standards for Process Controllers and Water Service Works (Regulation 813) to replace regulation 2384 published in terms of Water Act [No. 54 of 1956]. The new qualification will correspond to these new regulations. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The next workshop is scheduled for 23 to 25 August 2017 and will be held at Randwater in Johannesburg. The objective is to complete the qualification, curriculum, and external summative assessments documents, for the planned registration of the qualification at the South African Qualification Authority in early 2018. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mr Jackson says it will be a national qualification and interested individuals would be able to register with any approved training provider with the DHET towards the end of 2018.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <img src="/english/faculty/science/PublishingImages/News%20items/Watergovernance_grpoup_Aug2017.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /></p><p><em>On the photo: Mnr Allan Blanckenberg (City of Cape Town), Ms Kedibone Matampi (ILG), Mr Mlungis Hoco (Nelson Mandela Metro), Mr Manuel Jackson (SUWI), Ms Marcia Letlhake (Randwater), Mr Sydney Armoed (WISA), Mr Dewald van Staden (WISA), Ms Thandiwe Shashu (EWSETA), Mr Farouk Roberton (City of Cape Town),  Mr Ronald Brown (Drakenstein Municipality), Mr Lazarus Msibi (Govan Mbeki Municipality). Absent when the photo was taken: Mr Setsopo Tsibiso Maphutha (DWS), Mr Mario Bowers (WISA), Mr Linford Molaba (SANParks), Ms Renecia Wilson (EWSETA), Prof Alvin Lagardien (CPUT), Mr Tobile Gqili (Quality Council for Trade and Occupations), Ms Zandra Prinsloo (West Coast College), Mr Andre Muller (West Coast College), Mr Alie Crook (Boland College), Dr Elanna Bester (SUWI), Ms Hillary Siebritz (SUWI).</em></p>
Smart Water Meter helps schools to save water Water Meter helps schools to save waterSandra Mulder<p>Every drop counts – not only when it comes to preventing water wastage but also saving the bank account from drying up. This is especially true for schools with already constrained resources and with limited tools available to affect savings.<br></p><p>Saving water and money at schools has been the focus of a project run by Prof Thinus Booysen and his team from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University. Through the use of smart metering technology, they have enabled schools, households and other institutions to limit water usage and minimise expenses.</p><p>Booysen said there are already five schools putting the technology to the test by the end of August. He hopes that more schools can get involved as a lot of water can be saved, especially since the cost of water for bulk users in Stellenbosch has more than doubled since July.<br></p><p>The smart water meter is simply attached to a municipal water meter, and then reports into a web server via cellular, NB-IoT or Sigfox networks. Information is made available on a web app and through daily emailed reports. Moreover, notifications of unexpected events are sent by SMS and email.</p><p>According to Booysen, after the installation of this solution, people become more aware of how much water they use. This awareness invariably leads to substantial reductions, with as much as 68% observed.</p><p>Shortly after the pilot project started at Laerskool Stellenbosch (Stellenbosch Primary School) a few months ago, their water consumption dropped from 35 kl. per day to 11 kl. per day. In fact, the savings per month is equal to the salaries of two junior teachers.</p><p>The moment there was a burst pipe at the school during the July holiday, an alarm triggered, the school was notified immediately and they were able to prevent an estimated loss of around 1 million litres” adds Booysen.</p><p>Jacques Horn, deputy principal at Laerskool Stellenbosch, said that the meter really works well. “We have already saved a lot of water and everyone is more aware of saving water. We have even adjusted the water supply to the bathrooms.”</p><p>A further solution was to connect the water supply to the toilets with a timer control system. In this way, the water supply to the restrooms could be closed late afternoon and opened again the following morning.<br></p><p>The project champion at Laerskool Eikestad (Eikestad Primary School), Dirk Coetsee, said that after the installation of the water meter, the school managed to save at least 3 kl. of water per day.</p><p>“We picked up there was water use over weekends when there was no one at school. Then we discovered a water leakage underground.”<br></p><p>Other schools like A.F. Louw Primary School, Hoërskool Stellenbosch and Hector Peterson Secondary School in Wallacedene have also come on board with the project.<br></p><p>The project is being commercialised by <span lang="EN-US"><a href=""><span lang="EN-ZA">InnovUS</span></a></span>, the University’s technology transfer office, and incubated by the Nedbank Stellenbosch University <a href="">LaunchLab</a>, SU’s business incubator, through a spin-off company, Bridgiot (Bridge to the Internet of Things).</p><ul><li>Visit Bridgiot at <a href=""></a> for more information. See Laerskool Stellenbosch's smart water meter online dashboard here: <a href=""></a> and a real-time dasboard of schools here: <a href=""><strong></strong></a><br></li></ul><p>Caption: Prof Thinus Booysen sits at his desk with the water usage data of a Stellenbosch school on his computer. </p> <p><br> <br> </p>
Developing Critical Mass - Colleges and Municipalities Critical Mass - Colleges and MunicipalitiesManuel Jackson<p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">A group of 25 municipal officials and educators from Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in the Western Cape attended the first Water Governance for Water Leaders learning program at Stellenbosch University (​SU). <br></span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">The program, presented by the SUWI ​</span><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">in partnership with its </span><a href="/english/faculty/economy/spl" style="color:#666666;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">School of Public Leadership</span></a><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal"> (SPL), was developed specifically for municipal councilors and officials by the SPL's Prof. Erwin Schwella in collaboration with several experts in the water sector. The project is based on an Energy Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA) initiative to develop capacity of TVET colleges in training delivery related to water treatment.</span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">Prof. Schwella says the course connects the fields of lea​dership development, practices in water governance and leadership innovation in public water utilities and institutions by way of comparative and relevant case studies. </span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">The course, which is registered with SU and holds nine credits on level eight of the National Qualifications Framework, took place from 6 to 10 February 2017. </span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">Municipal officials from Hessequa, George, Knysna, Swellendam and the City of Cape Town attended, as well as educators and officials from Boland College, South Cape College, Northlink College and representatives from various non-governmental organizations and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the water sector. A representative of the policy and regulation division of the Department of Water and Sanitation attended as an observer.</span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">During the course, participants had to complete a class-based group project and an examination at the end of the program. Participants also have to submit an individual assignment by the end of February, after which the successful candidates will receive a Certificate of Competence. ​</span></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">During this week, they were also addressed by a panel of experts in the water industry. They were Dr. Thokozani Kanyerere, senior lecturer in hydrology at the Institute for Water Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Prof. Jaqui Goldin, extra-ordinary professor of anthropology and water sciences at UWC, Ms. B.D. Hene, director: policy and regulation in the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), and Mr. George Tsibane, consultant and former chief director in the DWS.  </span><br></p><p style="color:#333333;font-family:"noto sans", sans-serif;font-size:12px;background-color:#ffffff;text-align:justify;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Normal">The next course will take place between the 31st July and 4th August 2017 at Buffalo City TVET College in the Eastern Cape. The course participants include academic staff from TVET colleges Buffalo City, Lovedale, East Cape Midlands, Umfolozi (Kwazulu Natal), and senior officials from Amatola Water Board, Buffalo City Municipality, Nelson Mandela Metro, and the Department of Water and Sanitation (Eastern Cape).</span></p>