Publication of Drinking Water Quality results is the requirement of Blue Drop Certificate process requirements to communicate and publish performance results pertaining to drinking water services. This include the disclosure of water quality results to the general public in a manner that is informative, simple, efficient, understandable and honest to the layperson and allows that person to understand the level of performance and impact of non-performance on public health.
The Water Services Institutions (Provider) like Bloem Water are required to provide the evidence of the various media used to communicate their results to the public.The Water Service Act No.108 of 1997 of Sections 23 provides any client or potential client the right to access to information on the affairs and financial position of the Water Services Authority that strive towards excellence in drinking water system management, thus lead to Water Service Provider to communicate relevant information like water quality results in an accessible manner to its stakeholders. The Blue Drop Assessment process will acknowledge this and score that WSI accordingly.
The Water Research Commission’s project on Energy Generation from Distribution Systems which the University of Pretoria executed in collaboration with Bloem Water was recently completed. The feedback thus far is very positive with numerous hydropower projects now being investigated throughout the country. Bloem Water played an integral part in this successful research project. Bloem Water is also now in a fortunate position to be ahead in this development. Some positive outcomes from this collaborating endeavor are summarized below:
Compilation of numerous research reports and other products on the development of hydropower utilizing existing infrastructure:
General interest articles and journal papers have also been compiled as part of this research endeavor to further transfer knowledge and information on the hydropower opportunities which exist.
As part of this research project pilot plants were constructed to showcase the application of available hydropower generation technologies (Figure 1). The flagship pilot plant is with out-a-doubt the Brandkop installation. It is the largest installation and the best equipped. The benefits for Bloem Water are:
The WRC mandate includes the promoting of effective transfer of information and technology as well as enhancing knowledge and capacity-building. With this research project this has been achieved by disseminating the research reports freely, financially supporting numerous students in their undergraduate and postgraduate studies, presenting at conferences as well as holding workshops and training courses for the past three years.
The CEO of the British Hydropower, Prof David Williams was invited to SA together with other local experts presenting a successful training course in Bloemfontein with the support of Bloem Water. All these activities have stimulated the market.
The initiatives which Bloem Water has undertaken has also been widely published, in general interest articles, workshops and at such events as the 14thAnnual African Utility Week Conference in Cape Town where a paper entitled: Conduit hydropower potential in Bloemwater's bulk supply pipelines (Van Dijk, Kgwale and Bhagwan) was presented. It is believed that there are many positive spinoffs that have occurred thus far from the WRC research project and Bloemwater’s involvement as a collaborating organization.
For the WRC the success of the pilot projects heralded the start of a journey that would potentially result in the provision of renewable and low-cost energy to many areas of the country. This WRC’s conduit hydropower project was recognized earlier this year when it won the Community Renewable Energy Award at the Mail & Guardian Greening the Future awards. As long as people use water, renewable electricity can be generated!
The current energy crisis in South Africa is going to persist for the next couple of years. Eskom nowadays regularly indicate high risks of load shedding, for various reasons. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has warned that there are tough times ahead for South Africans hit by load shedding, indicating that things might only get better by 2018, if the right steps are taken.
It is believed that the development of the conduit hydropower plant is the right step. The civil, mechanical and part of the electrical work at Brandkop HPP is complete. The project team has had three successful runs with the hydropower plant. The design generating capacity was achieved on Thursday 27 November 2014 as show in Figure 3. The pressure was 4.1 bar, flow was 290 l/s and it produced ±96 kW of clean renewable energy.
The recent load shedding experienced by all in the country is just a reminder again of how critical the energy crisis is.
In March 2015 during the National Water Week there will be an opportunity to have the big launch of the Brandkop HPP and if possible it should be aimed to have all of the outstanding work completed by then.