Help 1 million South Africans Save Water & Energy

by Alliance to Save Energy

Thank You for Your Support!

The Alliance to Save Energy would like to thank YOU for donating to our water and energy saving project in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in South Africa.

When we embarked on GlobalGiving, we did not know what to expect and were happy to see the initial interest our project generated from people like you.  It served as a great platform to tell the story of saving water and energy in Nelson Mandela Bay’s water utility. Many cities across the world face similar issues: water leaks, high energy bills to distribute water to everyone in the system, and aging equipment and infrastructure, coupled with limited budget or technical capacity to fix these problems. Through this campaign, we aimed to raise awareness about these issues and illustrate potential solutions and benefits to cities and the citizens.

As a result of our project so far:

  • Data for 37 pump and motor sets was collected from 11 pump stations.
  • Twelve water and wastewater pump stations were inspected.
  • Eleven pump stations were identified for greater efficiency potential.
  • Five specialized testing equipment for measuring flows and recording electricity usage was purchased.

We are strategically focusing our efforts on continuing implementation of the project and want to inform you that we are closing down our GlobalGiving page. This does not mean our project is ending. On the contrary, we still have more energy and water saving work to do.  We sincerely thank the donors and have applied the money we received to acquire some of the testing equipment needed to measure energy use and detect failing components in utility facilities. 

We would love to stay in touch, and there are a number of ways you can stay involved.  First, we invite you to visit our website to learn about more projects like this one. Second, you can continue to follow the Alliance to Save Energy’s work by signing up for our newsletter. Thank you again for your support!


Your Friends at the Alliance to Save Energy

The Alliance to Save Energy continues to work to secure more funds to further support our project in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Last month, in honor of South Africa Water Week, the Alliance sent out an email solicitation to supporters seeking donations. We produced a video that is currently on our web site ( that we hope will continue to promote this important project.

Specialized Equipment Used for Testing

We continue to work on inspecting and assessing pump stations throughout the Municipality. The team uses the specialized testing equipment that was purchased last year for measuring flows and recording electricity usage at selected pump stations.  We are in the process of drafting more assessment reports.

As more funding comes in we will be able to expand our inspections of all pipelines and pump stations.  We look forward to implementing our proposed efficiency interventions that would include optimizing pumping operations and supply zones, replacing plant and equipment, redesigning and replacing switchgear, rescheduling pumping operations, and returning pumps to best efficiency point.

Help 1 million South Africans Save Water & Energy #10159

Since the last report, the Alliance to Save Energy was awarded additional funds from the Energy Efficiency Partnership (EEP) to further support our project in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The EEP promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology investments. Out of the 148 project concept papers EEP received, the Alliance’s concept note was one of 28 chosen to complete a full proposal.

While this additional funding will offset some of the costs of the project, the Alliance team is in need of continued financial support in order to complete the project. After successful implementation in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, this model could be used to expand into other municipalities in South Africa – reaching far more than the original 1 million people in the NMBMM.

Overview of Proposal submitted to EEP

The Alliance proposes to implement a municipal pumping efficiency project that would involve the detailed assessment, measurement and calculation of potential energy savings, design of remedial work and partial implementation of efficiency interventions in water and sewer pump stations using a performance contracting approach in which accrued savings over an agreed to period are used to finance the required intervention measures; this contracting mechanism would also include an operations and maintenance period. The project would initially be implemented in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in order to refine the methodology and demonstrate success, thereafter with potential to expand and scale up to the other metropolitan municipalities in South Africa.

Proposed efficiency interventions could include optimizing pumping operations and supply zones, replacing plant and equipment, redesigning and replacing switchgear, rescheduling pumping operations, and returning pumps to best efficiency point.

This project will lead to far-reaching, fundamental changes in the operation and maintenance of pump stations at the local government level, with benefits to the economy, local government, demand for electricity, and also measurable mitigation of international concerns relating to greenhouse gas emissions. Due to improved maintenance of the pumping infrastructure, downtime and failure of pump stations will be minimized and thus additional environmental benefits relating to the avoidance of sewage spillage and water quality of natural watercourses will also be achieved.


Pump Station Inspections

Eight additional pump stations were inspected and assessed since our last quarterly report.  The team has worked to capture electrical usage data for each of the selected pump stations, aiming to secure 10 years of historical electrical consumption at each pump station. The length of time is considered important in in order to establish long term trends.


Equipment Purchases and Training

Specialized testing equipment was purchased for measuring flows and recording electricity usage at the selected pump stations.

  • Fluke Power Monitor (Model 1735 Power Logger)
  • Khrone Ultrasonic Flow Meter (Model Optisonic 6400)
  • Sensus Loggers (Cosmos Data Loggers Model CDL – 2U))
  • High Pressure Pressure Transducers
  • Time Ultrasonic Pipe wall thickness gauge (Model  TT 100)

New Equipment Makes a Difference

Using the new equipment, five pump stations were assessed, measuring instantaneous flows and electrical consumption to establish operating efficiency levels. Thanks to the purchase of the equipment, the team was able to finalize the measurement of flows and electrical usage at the water pump stations, and obtain the necessary data for each pump station. Assessment reports can now be drafted.

Difficulties are being experienced in measuring flows at the sewer pump stations due to the lack of Magnetic Flow meters at these pump stations. A contingency plan has been put in place to measure flows using the purchased ultrasonic meter. This involves digging holes at appropriate points to expose the pipe to enable the portable ultrasonic meter to be strapped to the pipes. 

Representatives of Sensus, Khrone and Fluke trained staff members in using the purchased equipment. The team then visited actual pump stations and used the equipment to measure flow and electrical consumption under normal operating conditions. 

An initial assessment with findings for one of the water pump stations shows that there is opportunity for improving the efficiency of that pump station, but perhaps even more importantly how and when the pump station should operate. Unnecessary operation of the pump station during peak periods has a significant impact on the cost of electricity purchased by the municipality from the bulk national supplier, being Eskom.


Water Supply and Sanitation in Nelson Mandela Bay

Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality (NMBMM) provides water and sanitation services to one million people in the Despatch, Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth areas. Water comes from the nearby Kouga Mountain Range as well from the Orange River, which are both located more than 500 kilometers away.   It takes a lot of energy to pump and transfer potable water to the city due to the large distances it must travel via large dams, tunnels, pipelines, secondary rivers and rugged undulating terrain. 

Municipality Support

The Alliance to Save Energy team has met with more than 10 municipal officials from both the water and sanitation units of the Technical Services Directorate, as well as operations and maintenance staff. Senior management officially endorsed the project, allowing implementation to proceed.  The team is building relationships with officials in both water and waste water management, as well as third party goods and service providers who are contracted to provide related services to the municipality to acquire more data.  During the course of these meetings, the Alliance team discussed the purpose and objectives of the project, planned approach and implementation strategy, data requirement needs, as well as how to overcome some potential challenges.    

Data Collection

The Alliance team has made numerous trips to NMBMM to collect data on electric use, meter readings, system configuration, maintenance history, pump efficiency curves, suction and discharge pressures, layout drawings and locality for approximately 70 pump and motor sets located in 20 water pump stations. In addition, the team has inspected 20 water pump stations in the region and one large waste water pump station.

Flow rates, electrical consumption, pump curves and suction and discharge pressures will be used to establish the efficiency of each pump and motor set which will provide the basis for informing potential efficiency interventions. 

Based on site visit inspections the Alliance team identified at least five pump stations showing the greatest potential for efficiency improvements. At one pump station there is an opportunity to improve time-of-use of electricity, which would avoid pumping during peak demand periods when costs are higher.  Based on initial information provided by the municipality, at least eight waste water pump stations may also be good candidates for efficiency interventions.

Where Do We Get Our Data?

ESKOM, the national electrical utility supplier, released some electricity information on pump station energy use. Munilek, the internal Business Unit of NMBM responsible for supplying and distributing electricity across the city, supplies the remaining pump stations with electricity. The Alliance team is in the process of securing historical electrical usage data for the pump stations supplied by Munilek.  

Measuring Water Flows

Measuring the flows at both the water and waste water pump stations is critical in order to establish the current efficiency level of the pumps. Some of the water pump stations are equipped with electro-magnetic meters, but no flow meters are installed at the waste water pump stations. With funds made available via the GlobalGiving Campaign, specialized metering equipment, including components for an ultra-sonic flow meter, pressure transducer and power monitor, will be purchased to measure flows emanating from individual pump and motor sets. Metering equipment is currently on order from Krohne Instrumentation. 

Thank you for your support and we look forward to continuing this project so that 1 million South Africans are able to save water and energy!



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Organization Information

Alliance to Save Energy

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lindsey O'Hern
Washington, DC United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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