The leakages resulted in very high water use in most properties and high levels of non-payment, since the customers couldn’t afford to pay for new taps and toilet fittings, let alone their high water bills. The Khayelitsha Pressure Management Project was therefore commissioned in 2001 to improve the level of service to the community by reducing the excessive water pressure and pressure fluctuations in the reticulation system, particularly during the off-peak periods of low demand. This specifically involved measuring night flows to estimate leakage levels, extensive community consultations, locally available labor construction, and advanced pressure management techniques.
At a program cost of US$700,000, funded by the municipality, water savings were immediate, sustainable and exceeded the most optimistic projections, amounting to almost 40% of the original supply. Awareness and education helped create consumer support for water efficiency, and the 9,000,000m3/year savings achieved represent US$5,000,000 per annum of bulk water purchases.