City taps into global network to improve water services using technology

23 Jun 2022 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation Directorate has joined the non-profit global Smart Water Network Forum (SWAN) where its members share lessons that they have learned by using new technology to improve water-related service delivery. This is a key step in Cape Town’s journey to becoming a leading utility of the world.

Council recently approved the Water and Sanitation Directorate’s request to join SWAN.

The City has been registered as the first large utility in Africa to sign up with SWAN.

This international forum connects the City to a wider network of leading utilities, which creates a platform for knowledge to be shared around adopting new ways of working to improve water-related service delivery using emerging technology.

‘As a City, we need to be innovative and move with the times so that we can continue to improve how our services are delivered to our communities. Having access and learning about the latest technology is one way of doing this.

‘Being part of the SWAN community of practice, we have the opportunity to collaborate with utilities with similar challenges and aspirations. During the recent travels, the City’s delegates visited DC Water to learn more about their Advanced Metering Project which they started in 2002. Our team learnt about their implementation processes and risks to mitigate any challenges, which will help improve our plans to implement advanced metering. We are confident and ready to learn as much as we can from other members during our three-year membership, to help us in our smart-water journey.

‘With a goal of being true to the City’s Water Strategy Commitment of “Shared benefits and Managed Risks”, in the next couple of years, the City is planning to be an example for other Regional, National and African utilities to pursue overcoming the challenges that Municipalities/Utilities face by looking at which emerging technologies best solve our specific needs,’ said Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

The City recently attended the SWAN global conference in Washington DC to share Cape Town’s water story. This ranged from the experience with the drought to our aspiration towards becoming a water sensitive city, which was of interest with the challenges the US – West Coast is experiencing. Members were also interested in the regulatory environment within which South African Municipalities operate and how innovation is introduced into such a context.

‘The City of Cape Town wants to engage with other Utilities that are on a similar journey and be part of the community of practice to expedite the implementation of projects and our response to challenges. Going forward, the City is looking to become a more prominent participant within the SWAN group by leading relevant discussions and also formulating an Africa Alliance,’ said Councillor Badroodien.