Article

04/19/12

Watergy Project on GlobalGiving.org to Improve Lives of 1 Million in South Africa

For nearly two decades, the Alliance to Save Energy’s Watergy program has been helping communities in developing countries to overcome water shortages and related unsanitary conditions that affect families, neighborhoods, businesses and schools.   Now is your chance to help us.

On April 1, the Alliance launched its GlobalGiving.org campaign to help deliver safe and clean water to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), a drought-prone area in South Africa.  In order to become permanent members of GlobalGiving and to continue advancing the NMBM project, the Alliance needs at least 50 donors to provide a collective total of $4,000 by April 30.  Please consider giving today.

The Alliance to Save Energy in South Africa

watergyUsing its “Watergy” approach in South Africa since 2003, the Alliance has worked in partnership with municipalities to bring down the cost of providing clean water to residents by taking advantage of tremendous efficiency opportunities in municipal water supply and wastewater treatment facilities.  The term “Watergy” was coined by the Alliance to describe the strong link between water and energy in municipal water distribution systems. The Alliance establishes working relationships with municipalities to develop practical, holistic solutions to improve service delivery and provide quality water service while saving water and energy.

Plumbing infrastructure throughout parts of South Africa is dilapidated due to age, overuse, inadequate maintenance and vandalism.  A net result is gross wastage of potable water, the cost of which often defaults back to the municipality and is exacerbated due to broken meters, poor metering and billing procedures, and disputes over payments.

Saving Energy and Water in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

watergy

The Alliance is working with one local community in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), to help make their pumping systems more efficient.  Pumps consume a lot of energy to distribute water to the masses.  Over time, an inefficient pump requires more energy to move water and increases the utility’s energy costs. 

Pumping optimization presents one of the largest opportunities to save energy, water and money.  In addition to assessing NMBM’s pumping operations, the Alliance team will map out an energy management strategy for the water and wastewater system and train local “caretakers” with mechanical, electrical and plumbing skills to maintain pump stations. 

 

Potential Long-Term Impact

In order to carry out these activities, proper equipment to assess energy consumption and detect energy losses or breaks in pipelines and meters are needed to evaluate energy saving opportunities.   Funding is necessary to train staff members on pumping efficiencies and hire young apprentices to help monitor and verify energy and water savings. The GlobalGiving campaign is a chance for the Alliance to raise money for these capital and support costs.

The donations to the GlobalGiving campaign will ultimately help the team bring immediate energy, cost and water savings to NMBM.  The energy savings will reduce the base load on the electric grid, thereby achieving measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  Efficiency measures will improve the delivery of water and sanitation services and increase access of this scarce resource to the population of NMBM.  

To read more about the NMBM project and to donate, visit the project page on GlobalGiving.org