25 February 2021: A country-changing water technology management service is now being offered by Motheo, the largest black women-managed and lead construction company in South Africa. Ranked the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa remains water-scarce, which means that water needs to be conserved as a precious natural resource.

In order to demonstrate the type of savings that can be achieved in terms of effective water management, Motheo is celebrating a milestone achievement: A billion litres of water saved in 24 months for the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure in the Free State, reports Director Chris Cudmore.

It forms part of a seven-year Shared Savings Contract awarded to Motheo, covering a range of buildings in the Bloemfontein area. These include a massive 5 ha psychiatric facility, where the individual buildings themselves range from 20 to 100 years’ old. Motheo was tasked to install logging technology to enable remote water-use monitoring.

The secret to Motheo’s incredible water-savings, barely a couple of years into the contract, is largely due to its systematic and thorough approach to, firstly, ascertaining the baseline and then, secondly, implementing an appropriate loss-mitigation strategy.

In order to fine-tune its water management service for specific clients, Motheo has developed different water-use profiles for institutions such as hospitals and schools. Peak water use in a school is during the day, whereas a hospital operates on a 24/7 basis. The logging and monitoring equipment deployed by Motheo is state-of-the-art, and locally developed and manufactured, while the software itself was developed by a Pretoria-based consulting engineering firm.

What is particularly impressive is that it represents far more than a cumulative saving. “If you take into account the energy expended to treat and purify that water, which is a precious resource itself in South Africa, only then can the full significance of the number be appreciated,” comments Cudmore.

Motheo is touting this as a value-added service for facilities managers, property owners and, in fact, anyone with high water usage. Once the monitoring and logging technology is in place, clients can embark on proactive water management. The system can also be tweaked to reduce water pressure at night so as to minimise water loss in those areas where it is not viable to repair any leaks, for example.

The next goal is to extend the service to other government departments such as the Department of Basic Education, where the potential savings can easily be used to build hundreds of new schools. Motheo is already carrying out similar work for several major universities, in addition to other private hospitals and corporate clients.