Our Planet
    16 March 2021


    How technology can help SA’s water infrastructure

    To mark National Water Week, we’re calling on South Africans to join us in valuing and conserving the country’s water resources by using water sparingly.

    To mark National Water Week, we’re calling on South Africans to join us in valuing and conserving the country’s water resources by using water sparingly.

    Since 2015, we have reduced our water usage by over 63% and are aiming to increase this through an Internet of Things (IoT) technology solution that will improve water resource management in communities. This solution will provide real-time monitoring of meters and consumption in order to immediately alert maintenance teams and ensure that faults can be corrected quickly.

    On our properties, we’ve taken additional measures to reduce our consumption and re-use greywater or other sources. These are just some of the initiatives we’ve implemented that have had an impact:

    • Installed timed aerators in taps to reduce the water flow. 
    • Replaced purchased water with a plumbed-in solution. 
    • Installed 1 000 000l rainwater harvesting tank at our Midrand campus to collect runoff water during the rainy seasons.
    • Installed a 5000l water tank for uninterrupted water supply in Polokwane.
    • Installed 2 x 5000l water tank for uninterrupted water supply in Mpumalanga.
    • Installed a water monitoring solution nationally, for leak detection or low supply to tanks.
    • Waterless urinals and chemical flushing toilets. 
    • Waterless hand sanitising stations.

     What steps can be taken to alleviate some of the pressure posed by SA’s ageing water infrastructure? Technology has the potential to reduce operating costs while improving operational and energy efficiency, saving both water and energy. Technology also has the ability to reduce both energy and water usage, while also recovering and reusing water when utilised in wastewater, consumer packaged goods (CPG) plants and mining operations. 

    Saving water and energy with intelligence

    There is a myriad of smart solutions available that has the potential to establish a water infrastructure that benefits from asset protection, cost savings, performance benchmarking, energy savings and increased safety.  Technologies that enable these include sensors, intelligent motor protection, variable frequency drives, and advanced process controllers.

    Intelligent pumping, for example, can take operations to a whole new level by capturing and analysing large amounts of data. These applications often communicate across multiple systems within a utility and enable the convergence of operational and business systems, which empowers operations, maintenance and management to make more intelligent decisions.  

    Technology realises ROI

    With the right solutions in place, water infrastructure operators can save as much as 30% on energy consumption. At a typical wastewater plant, power represents 35% of operational costs with 65% used in aeration processes. Experience shows that energy costs can be reduced by 3 to 5% if effective plant automation and control systems are implemented. 

    Effective application of instrumentation and control systems can help increase the capacity of a wastewater treatment plant by up to 15%.

    Red loves Green

    We believe that urgent and sustained action is required to address climate change and that business success should not come at a cost to the environment. We are positive and optimistic that together we can create a future where good business and doing good are the same thing. Through our investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, our water-wise initiatives, and activities to reduce waste, Vodacom is working to halve our environmental impact by 2025

    Click here to find out more about our sustainability efforts.