Water and energy solutions for Sub-Saharan Africa

Bore holes field supply scheme
Bore holes field works supply scheme, Akaki
The region below the Sahara desert is known as the sub-saharan region. The cities of the sub-saharan region are facing a serious environmental crisis. Deforestation, desertification, depletion of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity, and air and water pollution are few of the challenges. Other than these, inadequate water for consumption as well as sanitation is a chronic problem. If we look at the statistics, about 40% of the urban population lacks access to clean drinking water and 70% lack water for sanitation in the region. A tremendous disparity is evident among the different cities in terms of water supply. The ground water is constantly depleting and the municipalities are highly undercapitalized.
Booster water works scheme
Accra booster water works supply scheme

The UN-HABITAT, known for its initiatives to promote healthy and safe living for the masses, approached TERI to carry out a study in the sub-saharan region and come up with a plan of action to improve water and sanitation facilities. This is part of UN-HABITAT’s initiative to carry out studies related to energy footprint for water and sanitation services, including energy audit of water utilities throughout the developing world.

Accra, Old Kpong water works
Old Kpong water works supply scheme
– Accra

It is necessary to realize the importance of strengthening cities in order to sustain the growing demands of the rising population. This project laid emphasis on three cities of Sub Saharan Africa- namely, Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Jos City, Nigeria.

One of the reasons for this deteriorating energy and water conditions of these cities is the inefficiency of the municipal corporations in the region. There is discrepancy in the utilization of resources and energy consumption patterns. It was found out that by focusing on the elimination of energy-related inefficiencies in water utility operations, the quality and quantity of water services to the sub-saharan cities could be dramatically increased.

Power measurement at Mexico Booster works
Electrical power measurements at Mexico
Booster works – Addis Ababa

The project was mainly targeted at identifying practical, sustainable, and economically viable energy saving opportunities in all pumping stations, resulting from a detailed study and analyses of technical parameters. TERI first established benchmarks for measuring improved energy efficiency in local water utility operations in all the three cities. Various types of data was collected and analyzed in detail. This included energy consumption data, energy audit data, calculation of energy balances, energy efficiencies in water utility operations etc. An elaborate mapping of the existing water system was conducted, with the cooperation of the water supply organizations.

Use of ultrasonic flow meter for demonstration of flow measurements
Demonstration of flow measurements
using ultrasonic flow meter

The energy audit comprised energy assessment of water pumps, pump performance parameters, piping system characteristics, and also selecting the appropriate pump with respect to the system, identifying energy efficiency opportunities for water pumps, computing projected energy savings, and most importantly, implementing these measures by the relevant water supply companies. The audit involved use of wide range of sophisticated, portable, diagnostic, and measuring instruments to generate refined data and facilitate complex analysis to provide a reliable basis for evaluation of energy saving potential and economic viability.

In the city of Accra, which is the largest city of Ghana, the energy saving potential was quite significant. Identified savings potential of as much as GH¢.722,299 can be achieved by an investment of about GH¢. 1,481,863. The total annual energy cost saving potential is calculated to be 18% of the annual energy cost in Accra, which will improve the situation a great deal. In Addis Ababa, the energy saving potential is about 200kW of the total estimated pumping load of 3.27 MW. It works out to be 6% of the annual energy consumption. This is equal to a saving of Birr.1.12 million which can be achieved by an investment of about Birr.3.2 million. The audit found out that a cost saving of Naira.6.12million could be achieved by an investment of about Naira 33.5 million in Jos city. The total annual energy cost saving potential is 10.2% of the annual energy cost.

An important aspect of this project was to strengthen the technical capacity of the local staff for carrying out energy audits of water and sanitation service providers. The energy audit helped in increasing awareness on energy issues at various levels of staff in most of the pumping installations. Majority of the pumping installations were appropriately sized, based on the quantities at which they operate and the number of headers they serve. Water and electricity tariff were understood at various levels, and corrective actions were taken for the same. TERI recommended that it was necessary to form an ‘Energy Management Group’ among the staff members to deal, review, and manage the energy issues.

During the study, there was continuous interaction with the pumping station personnel. All the recommendations were thoroughly discussed with the concerned officials and also in group meetings. There was close involvement of senior officials, which ensured the necessary co-ordination required to complete the study effectively. TERI helped realize energy savings in the target cities by the successful implementation of these activities. The team prepared a guidebook on `How to do Energy Audits in Sub-Saharan African water utilities.’ In fact‚ a course module was prepared on the same to successfully carry out energy audits in future.

Duration: 4 months
Key Stakeholder / Beneficiaries: The water supply companies and urban utilities of Accra, Addis Ababa, and Jos City, Ghana Water Company (GWC), Greater Accra; Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority; Plateau State Water Board (PSWD), Jos city
  • To improve system efficiency in municipal water systems, reducing costs, and adverse environmental impacts, while expanding water and wastewater services to the region's poor populations, specifically targeting the three cities, Jos, Accra, and Addis Ababa.
  • To build capacity of municipalities, water utilities, private sector companies, and NGOs in the three cities focused on urban infrastructure development.
  • To create efficiency models based on capacity building partnerships with local water and wastewater municipal entities to ensure sustainability in the cities of Jos, Accra, and Addis Ababa.
What is an energy audit?

An energy audit seeks to find out potential areas of energy conservation in an establishment. It increases awareness of energy issues and aids in increasing the productivity of a plant.An energy saving programme can be developed for an establishment/organization only after a thorough energy audit. Energy, cost, time, and money are the foremost benefits of an energy audit.

Why is safeguarding water and energy facilities important?

Improvement of water and sanitation facilities is extremely necessary for sustaining growth and development of a nation. An economy can progress only when the fundamentals are correct. Safeguarding water and energy facilities is important for a stable economy.

Regions that suffer from inadequate water facilities, directly impact the health of the population. United Nations warns the world that about 80% diseases and about 30% deaths in developing countries are attributed to water. The numbers are alarmingly high for Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is exposed to extreme climatic conditions as compared to other regions and hence needs strengthening at the earliest. Improved water-storage facilities and operations of water municipalities, along with an efficient plant functioning can together lead to a positive change for the region.

Tema Booster water works supply scheme
Tema Booster water works supply scheme - Accra
Posted on: 29 August 2011  |   Project status: Completed