Water-leak detection and control systems provider AquaTrip has been contracted by the Department of Public Works to supply about 8 000 Aquatrip leak-detection control valves to 1 500 schools and the public ablution facilities in the City of Cape Town, collectively valued at about R5-million.
The second phase of the project, which started this month and will be completed in August, will result in 2 000 units being installed at about 350 schools in the Mother City.
AquaTrip sales director Chris de Wet Steyn explains that the Aquatrip is a standalone and fully automated leak-detection system, which can be permanently installed on any water inlet. The system has a patented flow sensor with a built-in trip switch, which can be set to cut water flow anywhere between one minute and three hours. If water flows continuously past the flow sensor for longer than the stipulated time, the water is cut off.
“The Aquatrip monitors the flow of water into premises and, in the event of a burst pipe or taps being left open, the control valve will automatically close and prevent further unnecessary water loss. The system has several reset options, such as motion sensors, which will reinstate water supply once the sensor has been tripped,” he points out.
The first phase of the project, valued at about R1.5-million, and during which 100 schools received the system, was completed in November last year. De Wet Steyn highlights that the cost of water and sanitation at these schools has been reduced by between 34% and 86% since the installation of Aquatrip.
He points out that, on average, the monthly water and sanitation costs at the schools in Phase 1 were between R30 000 and R70 000, with one of the schools accumulating R2.8-million over a 19-month period. Since the installation the Aquatrip control valves were installed, the schools’ water and sanitation bills have dropped significantly to between R3 500 and R7 500.
During Phase 1, the system was installed on the main incoming water line at no inconvenience to the schools. It took between 30 minutes and an hour to install the system at each school.
Further, the ablution facilities at the schools have all been fitted with motion sensors, which are powered by a 9 V lithium battery that has a life expectancy of four years. “If a urinal or toilet flusher gets stuck or if a tap is left open, as soon as the facility is unoccupied, the motion sensors will cause the Aquatrip to shut off the water supply. Water supply is turned back on as soon as someone enters the facility,” De Wet Steyn explains, adding that the systems are also designed to automatically shut the water supply off at night.
Technical and vocational education and training plumbing graduates installed the systems and will continue to install the Aquatrip system until the project has been completed.