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Washington – Following the launch event in autumn 2011, the German Water Partnership (GWP) continued the dialogue at a symposium in mid-September attended by representatives of more than 40 international organisations and delegates from GWP member companies.
The theme of both events was “Water and Innovation, Solutions for Development – The German Experience”.
In front of this distinguished audience, Ingo Matlachowski – who has worked for the Gütersloh-based company Hermann Sewerin GmbH since 1987 and was appointed Export Manager in 1999 – reported on the public-private partnership project that SEWERIN has been running in the Peruvian province of San Martin since 2010.
Five cities in this province, which were selected for the project on the basis of various criteria relating to water losses in their drinking water networks (see for example blue facts 2011, page 122 ff), were each given a complete set of water leak detection equipment. As part of the National System for Capacity Development in the Water Sector, local employees of the water supply companies underwent six months of practical training to enable them to pinpoint leaks quickly and successfully.
In his presentation, Ingo Matlachowski identified the four elements of a successful leak management strategy:
1. Maintaining a constant water pressure in the pipe network
2. Active monitoring of the distribution network for leaks
3. Prompt repair of located leaks
4. Active network and resource management
Through the systematic implementation of this four-point strategy, water losses in the five selected cities have fallen below 40%. As of April 2012, a total of 1766 leak sites had been located and 60 managers and pipe technicians had been trained in water leak detection. Over the course of this project, the five water supply companies have so far reduced their economic losses by around 1 million US dollars.
In conclusion, Ingo Matlachowski said: “The vision behind this project fits in well with the shift in strategy taking place within the water department of the World Bank. While until recently the focus was on developing water sources, the emphasis is now switching to preventing water losses in settlements that already have a water supply.”
The SEWERIN group of companies has been involved since 2008 both in projects organised by the Dresden-based charitable foundation arche noVa – Initiative für Menschen in Not e.V. and in its own projects, like the one in Peru, to secure a safe drinking water supply throughout the world.