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Support for small water treatment plants

The performance of small (and some medium-sized) water treatment plants in terms of the provision of a potable standard of drinking water to the end consumer is a major problem, mostly due to inadequate management. Various studies and programmes in South Africa have shown that in non-metropolitan communities still need support in achieving adequate water supply services .Effective water treatment is accepted as a necessity, but the need for monitoring and management of water quality from raw water supply to the point of use should be carried out with great efficiency. The Water Research Commission (WRC) has funded the development of an effective and user-friendly spreadsheet-based system to assist plant owners and operators to manage their information flow logically and efficiently and in a standardised way nationwide.

The sheets are in electronic format, but also available in hard copies for plants without computer facilities. It is possible to enter all categories of information that require immediate action or storage for later manipulation and use, such as flows, levels, qualities, chemicals, assets, human resources, finances, stock, maintenance schedules, etc. The performance of distribution systems has been included in order to ensure that all factors up to the point of consumption are captured.

The management system includes monitoring, operation, and maintenance and asset management. The WRC Research Manager, Dr Jo Burgess, emphasized that the tool was designed to fit into present municipal systems, and the information tool was developed to be integrated with the information systems that have been developed by DWAF such as the Drinking Water Quality Framework and Management Tool. The information tool is also integrated with the eWQMS.

“Technology transfer workshops were held in different provinces during which members of the project team presented the Guidelines Document to managers and supervisors of the water boards, district municipalities and local municipalities in the respective provinces” says Jo Burges . The Training Aids were also presented and provided to the managers and supervisors during these workshops. The guidelines document and training aids were packaged in Small Water Treatment Plants Operation and Maintenance Training Toolboxes which were given to each of the attendees at the workshops.

Training aids comprising interactive media and wall-posters indicating step-by-step processes for using the tool are available on CD as well as on the Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) website. The toolkit is a unique and valuable resource which if used properly by the water services authorities will make an enormous contribution to South African drinking water quality.

Compiled by : Hlengiwe Cele

Knowledge Dissemination Officer

+27 12 330 9006



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