Creating efficiencies in the municipal water system in Nelson Mandela Bay


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) in South Africa covers Port Elizabeth as well as the towns of Uitenhage and Despatch. The area experiences serious drought conditions, so there is an urgent need to save water and reduce the base load on the grid through technical and institutional improvements.



To increase energy and water efficiencies in the municipal water and sanitation systems of the metropolitan area of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) by improving pumping efficiencies through various technical interventions. The project also drew on replicable projects from other major South African cities.


Photo (right): Re-Solve Consulting


Main Activities

  • Collect pump-station data and create database; assess pump stations; design and cost out needed interventions
  • Compile operational manuals for the pumped water and wastewater system
  • Enhance municipal capacity through selection and training (including mechanical, electrical, plumbing skills) of local “caretakers” to maintain pump stations
  • Develop a performance based contracting model for efficiency interventions in municipalities, which included a five year “operate and maintain” requirement and commitment to carry out the recommended efficiency improvements
  • Establish a measurement and verification programme
  • Highlight project results and promote replication of the methodology in other South African metropolitan areas

Expected Impact

  • Reduction in the total annual energy consumption for the total cycle from raw water to wastewater in NMBM’s 74 pump stations by at least 10%; in 2011 totalling 77,117 MWh per annum.
  • Annual CO2 reduction equivalent to 7,542 tonnes /year (using electricity/CO2 emission factor of 0.978 Kg CO2/kWh) on a continuous energy savings of 0.88 MW
  • Improved financial standing for the municipality
  • Possible replication in other metropolitan areas such as Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Tshwane and eThekwini, for national-level benefits to South Africa
South Africa
Programme sector
Energy Efficiency / Policy and Regulation
2012 - 2012
€ 250,000 including co-funding from South African National Energy Development Institute
Implementing agency
Alliance to Save Energy
REEEP grant funded by
United Kingdom
REEEP grant funded by