Nearly 40% of South Africa’s municipal water is lost before ever reaching customers, according to the Water Research Commission (WRC). This equates to approximately 1,580-million cubic metres of lost water per annum in a country considered “water-scarce”, or an estimated R7 billion in lost revenue.
Says Roger Rusch, CEO of Industrial Water Cooling (IWC), “Over 25% of the 36.8% in municipal water loss is due to pipe leakages caused by corrosion or poor jointing. For this reason, local governments should consider replacing old steel or asbestos cement pipes with ones constructed out of glass fibre reinforced plastic (GRP). Unlike steel or asbestos, GRP does not corrode and the joints are leak-proof when installed correctly.
“GRP pipes not only minimize the chances of leaks, but also deliver better energy savings on pumping due to their minimal pressure losses and optimal flowrates.”
Municipal pipeline routes frequently follow roads and are often located in the vicinity of power lines, which significantly corrodes steel or ductile iron pipes unless adequate protection measures, such as costly cathodic protection systems, are installed. Steel and ductile iron pipelines constructed parallel to power lines require ground mats to be installed during construction to prevent the development of dangerously high voltages and currents.
“GRP is a non-conductive composite material, meaning GRP pipelines can be installed almost anywhere, alongside roads or power lines. In contrast to steel and iron, with GRP, municipalities don’t need to worry about costly maintenance and corrosion-prevention measures.” concludes Rusch.