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Energy efficiency: the key to sustainable wastewater infrastructure

With no end in sight for load shedding, it’s important for municipalities to start engaging in energy efficient mechanisms in their water and wastewater infrastructure.

This infrastructure is one of the biggest consumers of energy within a municipalities’ operations and it is critical to start looking at ways to implement energy efficient measures within these operations. According to the guide compiled by Sustainable Energy Africa, Sustainable energy solutions for South African local government: a practical guide, in 2017, “the indications are that on average water and wastewater accounts for some 17% of energy consumption in a South African metro. In terms of electricity consumption alone (i.e. excluding liquid fuel use for vehicles), the proportion is far higher – often representing as much as 25% of the entire municipality’s electricity bill.”

Owing to the fact that this contributes so highly to the municipalities’ bill, it also means it has the greatest potential to be the starting point of electricity saving measures. By engaging in energy measures within the water and wastewater infrastructure cycle, municipalities stand not only be fiscally but also energy efficient going forward.

Aeration stage

“We have found that the aeration stage is one of the stages which consumes a lot of energy as it requires large pump systems and municipalities may not always pay attention to this aspect and may neglect to overhaul due to expensive nature of more energy efficient systems. However, what is important to remember is that although the expense may be high at the start, the benefits of cost saving in the long run will be worth it,” explains KSB Pumps and Valves’ Hugo du Plessis, senior project engineer.

He continues that the most energy consuming aspects within the water services system relate to the stages of water treatment and pumping. He reiterates the importance of how the implementation of energy efficient systems will not only help municipalities obtain, retain and improve their Green Drop and Blue Drop certification but will also eventually allow customers to see the difference in their rates and taxes bill.

“Inefficient pump systems will not be able to keep up with the ‘backlog’ of water when loadshedding occurs. KSB Pumps and Valves is willing to assist with site energy efficiency audits as we are a full solution provider. We have the expertise and experience to assist municipalities to make the transition to more energy efficient systems.”

“Reliable energy efficient pump systems will not only result in energy and cost saving, but there are also other benefits for the municipality which include: no spillages, a reliable uptime, decline in downtime as well as better water quality,” added Hugo.

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