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Press Release 
Jay Bhagwan  
Water metering reference guide for municipalities 

There is currently a lack of proper water meter management in South Africa, with many bulk water suppliers and municipalities without optimal and integrated meter calibration, replacement, reading, and information management systems. Often the divided responsibility between billing and meter management results in poor billing, incorrect information capture, and poor maintenance. This is further compounded by the fact that where initiatives of water demand management and conservation are required, the data is not easily accessible to the departments responsible for this task, and there is a frequent lack of integration between domestic and bulk water metering.   

A newly published WRC report entitled ‘Introduction to Integrated Water Meter Management -Edition 1’ covers all aspects of water meters and water metering in municipalities. It covers the theoretical principles of meters, legal and metrological requirements, meter types, best practice guidelines as well as practical aspects of water meter management. The guide book will serve as a training aid and a valuable tool for water utility managers, engineering technical staff, operations and maintenance and meter-reading personnel and researchers.

This project was initiated by the WRC and led by Prof Fred van Zyl of the University of Cape Town, with administrative support provided by the University of Johannesburg. Van Zyl says ‘‘Water metering is particularly important for municipalities since it forms the basis for much of their income through the sale of water to their consumers’. ‘In South Africa, like in many other countries, there is a legal imperative on municipalities to meter consumers and manage water losses in compliance with legislation and standards’’.

Mr Jay Bhagwan, Director of Water Use and Waste Management at the WRC, states that reliable supply of clean and healthy water is undoubtedly the most important service that people need. South Africa has made great strides in addressing the inequalities of the past in the provision of water, but unfortunately the focus on providing more people with water has caused many distribution systems to be neglected, resulting in increased levels of leakage and non-revenue water, poor billing practices and a loss of income to municipalities. It is vital to maximize the volume of water metered in the utility, at the minimum possible cost. To achieve this goal, the proper selection, management and maintenance of meters are critical.

‘‘This informative book is easy to read and places the basics of water meter management at the fingertips of both professionals and novices alike’’ comments Simon Scruton, Manager of eThekwini Water and Sanitation. ‘’I highly recommend that this book is read by all water practitioners as it succinctly covers all aspects of meter management from selection, to installation, to operation and maintenance and finally to replacement’’.

WRC Report Number: TT 490/11

Contact: Mr Jay Bhagwan

Director :  Water Use and Waste Management

Email: jayb@wrc.org.za

A water meter
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