Rand Water’s operates a pipeline network some 3 056 km long, two big combined pumping and purification stations (at Vereeniging and Zuikerbosch), four booster pumping stations (Zwartkopjes, Palmiet, Mapleton and Eikenhof) and a number of enclosed reservoirs. Twothirds
of the value of this infrastructure, estimated to be worth about R30 billion, lies in the pipelines.
Rand Water’s current infrastructure is adequate to meet customers’ needs in the regions it serves until 2012. In 1965, Rand Water was supplying 1 000 megalitres a day (Ml/d). Demand is expected to increase four-fold to 4 000 Ml/d by 2012.
Rand Water is ensuring that it is ready for the demands of 2020 and beyond by focusing on infrastructure refurbishment and development
Some of Rand Water’s pipelines are approaching 70 years of age, although the majority are between 15 and 50 years old. In the previous financial year (2007), Rand Water announced its intention to spend more than R3 billion over the next five years on upgrading and refurbishing its distribution infrastructure. Of this amount, 57% was allocated to augmentation schemes. The remaining 43% was allocated to renovations and upgrades of existing infrastructure. Details of this are set out in the 2008 Annual Report on page 27.
To this end, Rand Water commissioned Rand Water Services in 2005 to conduct an aerial survey of the Rand Water pipeline network, using thermal remote scanning technology.
Through thermal remote sensing, leaks in large diameter pipes are detected. This enables early repairs and helps reduce water wastage. During the survey, digital seamless maps are produced and geographically modified for use in government or council geographic information systems (GISs). High-resolution infrared images are produced, as well as high definition video output linked with global positioning system (GPS) information.
Priority has been given to scanning high-density, built-up areas. To date, 95% of Rand Water’s service area has been surveyed. The project is expected to be completed by July 2009. Only 10% of Rand Water’s 3 056-km pipeline network consists of concrete structures. The rest of the pipelines are manufactured from steel.
Over the next five years, all of the concrete pipelines (about 200 km) will be renovated or replaced with steel pipes where their condition is not acceptable in terms of risk. Thereafter, constant, repetitive condition assessment will be carried out and renovations or replacements will take place where required. Replacement of concrete pipes with steel pipes is preferable, as steel pipes tend to develop leaks, rather than to rupture. Concrete pipes are more likely to rupture, potentially causing harm to people and property.