New Leak Reduction Plan In South Africa Centers On Data
By Sara Jerome
South Africa unveiled a plan this month to reduce leaks in its water infrastructure by collecting new data from the ground.
The data will be gathered together in the "No Drop Assessment Report" and released next year and every two years after that.
The aim of establishing new reporting standards is to "provide the public and the water sector with audited and verified information on water use, water loss and efficiency of water used and managed within a municipality," according to Engineering News.
The nation's Department of Water Affairs spokeswoman Mava Scott said in a News 24 statement that the results will be "audited and verified."
"[The report] will publish values pertaining to water use and management thereof in each local municipality, and will report such figures as part of the Blue Drop scorecard," she said.
The "Blue Drop Scorecard" rates how well municipal tap water authorities are functioning.
The data in the reports is considered verified. "Assessments are conducted by a panel consisting of a qualified drinking water quality professional as Lead Inspector, 2-4 Inspectors (Assessors) and a Learner Assessor who also coordinates the logistical arrangements of the assessments," the 2012 Blue Drop Report said.
The county also has a "Green Drop Scorecard" to grade wastewater utilities.
For instance, Green Drop scores are determined by such factors as "effluent quality, process control and maintenance, wastewater quality failure response management, wastewater sample analysis and monitoring program, bylaws and asset management," according to the South African Cities Network, a nonprofit group.
In the U.S., collecting data on water loss falls to the states and localities.
"There are no national requirements for auditing and reporting water loss from public water systems, but some states have taken it upon themselves to begin regulating and assessing water loss from systems in their jurisdictions," the EPA said in a report.
For instance, some states have regulations mandating audits or have standards for non-revenue water, according to a report by the EPA and the American Water Works Association.
Water audits are a "foundation and critical first step in water loss control," the report said.
The EPA provides informational resources to utilities about implementing "water loss control programs." Such programs "help to identify real or physical losses of water from the water system and apparent losses, the water that is consumed but not accounted for," the EPA said.
Image description: Lake in Oyster Bay Lodge, South Africa.
Image credit: "100_5559," © 2006 damien_farrell, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/