Sabie residents are being subjected to frequent interruptions to our water supply. The reasons include the poor maintenance of our pumps, reservoirs and water reticulation infrastructure, as well as power failures due to faults and Eskom’s load shedding.
After every interruption, our faucets and showers gurgle and spew air for an extended period of time before it settles into a normal, steady flow. The air in the water pipes could not possibly have entered the system on your side of the water meter. This means that the air trapped in the Municipal water reticulation system passes through our water meters.
So, would air passing through a water meter register false, inflated water usage?
The answer is a very definite YES! Compressed air passing through our (old, out-dated technology) water meters spin the meter even faster than just water without any trapped air.
Sabie residents can, therefore, expect excessive water-usage accounts for the foreseeable future.
There are a number of options to fix this problem:
Complain to our Municipality and request a discount – to be determined by the average water-usage during previous months. This implies that residents need to record the dates of water interruptions. A number of Municipalities are aware of this problem – e.g. eMalahleni (Witbank), and Kimberley Municipalities.
Convince our Municipality to install air relief valves at strategic positions in their water reticulation system. Although, given our Municipality’s financial woes, this may well be a fruitless request.
Residents to install their own air relief valves. Air tends to accumulate in the high spots of every reticulation sub-section. It is, therefore, only necessary to install one valve in the top (higher elevation) position of each street, depending on the topography. The optimum placement of these valves is best determined by an irrigation engineer.
Most types of air relief valves have to be installed before (Municipal side of) water meters. This implies permission from the Municipality (as the water mains needs to be shut off during the installation), as well as the services of suitably qualified plumbers – or the Municipality’s own plumbers.
Written and researched by Willie Jacobs, Tripssa.