The City of uMhlathuze in South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal province has been nominated as one of the five finalists for the “Green Economy Change Champions within Local Government Award” for the initiative on the use of drone technology to improve water management and assess non-revenue water. The aim of the awards is to showcase successful sustainability initiatives that have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented by municipalities across South Africa. The awards are jointly hosted by GreenCape, a non -for-profit organization that drives the widespread adoption of economically viable green economy solutions, and the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
The city was concerned about high unaccounted for water losses recorded for two suburbs within their water supply network. To this end, the leveraging of drone technology proved to be a viable and innovative solution to help the municipality assess the cause of the increased water demand and losses. Through financial support from NatuReS as part of a contribution to the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP), the city received a drone and had three of their municipal officials trained to obtain a drone license to operate it.
The use of drone technology in the two pilot suburbs revealed that the increase in population was the main driver for increased water demand, and that illegal and unbilled connections were the reason for the high unaccounted water losses. With the information obtained, the municipality can now understand the extent of water losses and improve water supply planning in the respective areas. Similarly, this allows them to deploy the right interventions for reducing demand and upgrading infrastructure to address unbilled consumption. Finally, water supply for communities can be improved.
The award ceremony will be showcased during an online event on the 12th October 2022 at 10:00, where the winning initiative will be announced. To join the event live, register here. To learn more about the Green Economy Change Champions within Local Government, click here.
We wish the City of uMhlathuze all the best!