Tshwane taps into hydropower

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 02 Dec 2011

The City of Tshwane has made history by being the first municipality in South Africa to use hydropower. This huge project was launched on 29 November 2011. This has realised the objectives of the study that was done by the University of Pretoria through funding from the Water Research Commission, which explored the use of water to generate power that could assist in supplementing the existing supply within a municipality. With this new source of energy, the country could start looking into providing such a service to other areas while reducing the problematic carbon emissions from coal that poses a threat to the environment.

Hydropower is still an untapped resource of energy within the African continent

The ‘Pressure Hydropower System’ has been installed and integrated at the new site, Pierre van Ryneveld reservoir located in the south-eastern part of the City of Tshwane. When operational, the system will generate about 16 Kilowatts of electricity per hour.

The acting Executive Mayor, Councillor Terence Mashego congratulated the team of experts and applauded the excellent work done by the University of Pretoria and its students and the Water Research Commission for funding such an initiative.

“The fact that somebody was employed to take part in the project by working on it or supplying stock for it, the project assisted in putting food on the table for those families’. I also appreciate that the project involved students who should be promoted based on their contribution towards this big initiative’’ says councillor Mashego.

“Nearly 20 percent of the world’s electrical energy is used for the pumping of water ,while 60 percent of energy in plant operations is used for the pumping of water’’ says Mr Jay Bhagwan, Director for Water Use and Waste Management at Water Research Commission.

Hydropower is still an untapped resource of energy within the African continent since only six percent of it has been used so far. The WRC studies indicate that pressure hydropower has a huge potential for complementing the energy needs of municipalities. Scoping studies conservatively indicate that by introducing Pressure Hydropower into the reservoir outlets of the Metros in South Africa, some 26 000 MW/h can be generated immediately. Says Bhagwan, “if this was expanded on a wide scale to large pressurised transfer pipes and reticulation systems, a significant amount of clean energy can be generated to complement the municipalities and country’s needs”. Further demonstrations of hydropower generation are planned for Bloemwater, eThekwini Metro Water Services and Rand Water in the coming months.

By: Hlengiwe Cele
Source: SA Water Research Commission

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