One of the key fundamentals of Government’s development strategy is the vision of a better life for all. At Rand Water, we are committed to helping to realise this vision through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This has to be balanced against our commitment, as a public entity, to responsibly use the funds under our control.
Our Community Based Projects Department (CBPD) is the implementing agent for all our community development initiatives. CSI is focused on water- and non-water related CSI. The latter is focused on helping marginalised sectors of the community including the aged, the disabled, people with special needs, the empowerment of women and HIV/ Aids projects.
· Our water-related CSI projects focus mainly at:
· Improving access to water services including improved sanitation
· Conserving and enhancing water security
· Providing management support to water sector initiatives
In its approach to its work, the Community Based Projects Department seeks:
· To maximize economic and employment opportunities through development of emerging contractors and the use of labour construction methodologies
· To build capacity of community and newly created local government structures to ensure sustainable management of water and sanitation systems
· To promote the integration of water and sanitation projects into broader development initiatives
· To focus on underprivileged communities and under serviced areas giving priority to Rand Water area of supply.
Community Education Programme
The Rand Water community education programme entails taking people (including councilors, schools, and community organizations) from various areas within our areas of water supply to tour Zuikerbosch Pumping Station to learn about the potable water processing, and why and how to conserve water.
An amount of R840 000 was allocated for this programme. Other community members are exposed to water education through community road shows and presentations within various forums/seminars at their respective areas. A total of 7 104 people were exposed to the programme. The programme is also showing a positive impact with regard to the level of awareness on water saving.
Domestic Leaks Repairs Projects
Water wastage through leaking pipes is one of the most pressing challenges facing the municipalities. Pipes leakage has a domino effect as services become unaffordable to the poorer communities with subsequent minimal collection of service revenue by the municipalities. In response to this challenge, CBPD has over the past ten years partnered with various municipalities to implement projects aimed at reducing water losses from leaking plumbing installations. This entails fixing and retrofitting of leaking pipes, toilets and taps to the households identified by the municipalities.
In the past two years, leaks repairs projects were implemented in Mamelodi, and Eersterus in Tshwane, and Bophelong in Emfuleni. Local communities received accredited training on plumbing including leaks detection before commencing with actual repair work. These workers were encouraged to set up their own companies and register with municipalities as service providers to assist in water demand management initiatives.
Rand Water servitude management – Encroachment projects
Rapid urbanization in Rand Water’s area of operation has meant a concomitant growth in development and informal settlement. The problems created by encroachment include potential danger should a pipe burst; restricted access to infrastructure, making if difficult to detect and remediate and unauthorized connections to bulk water pipelines. . The encroachment project entails the following:
· Installation of beacons, using local labour, to indicate or mark the position of the Rand Water pipeline,
· Construction of concrete sign walls to warn people of danger associated with settling on Rand Water servitudes, and
· Conduct community workshops and awareness campaigns.
The key success of this project lies in the strong partnership between Rand Water and community stakeholders. Project Advisory Committee consisting of community representatives are formed to ensure community buy-in and enhance sustainability of the project.
A labour intensive approach was adopted to ensure optimal creation of employment opportunities. Ongoing discussions are taking place with the relevant municipalities to remove informal houses that are currently being erected within the Rand Water servitude.