Another month has rushed past, and we are almost into March already. We want to share the good progress we are making with the Dropula installations at schools, and also want to share some of the savings we have achieved.
Thankfully, the expected Day Zero has been moved out to the 9th of July since we sent out the last communique at the end of January. However, that must not lull us into a false sense of security, since the seasonal rainfall usually starts to taper off in August, leaving us with significant challenges towards the end of 2018.
For those who have recently joined us, the #SmartWaterMeterChallenge aims to save water at schools using the Dropula smart water meter through raising awareness and detecting anomalies. Our initial target was to reach 100 needy schools, sponsored by Shoprite’s Act For Change. Two-thirds of the funds allocated to each school was ring-fenced purely to provide often neglected plumbing maintenance, which immediately leads to significant savings. The rest was for the Dropula, notification services, and the costs associated with raising awareness. Since then, the target has grown to 358 schools, with the Western Cape Education Department and 93 other corporates pitching in. The list of sponsors, to whom we are extremely grateful, is listed here, along with their interviews on Cape Talk.
At the end of January, we had reached 60 installed Dropulas. During February we managed to get another 74 schools equipped and now sit at 134 schools with Dropulas installed. Although it has not been without issue, we are making progress. Our main challenge at the moment is the many faulty or old non-compatible municipal meters that need to be replaced or augmented with an additional meter. We have also not yet finalized the complete list of schools that we can help save water due to inadequate or unreliable usage data. We therefore still have funding available to help more schools, especially those with high water consumption. If you know of any schools (in Cape Town or beyond) with consumption of more than 400 kL/month, please ask them to sign up at www.schoolswater.co.za. We have started to reach out to schools in Stellenbosch, Drakenstein and Swartland too.
Thankfully, we have seen tremendous savings this month, which has come as a direct result of the Bridgiot team’s very hard work, and the efforts of our plumbing contractors through Pragma. At the time of writing, our cumulative savings stand at a staggering 24,616,121 litres of water saved (R 1,438,090). Almost eight million litres was saved in the first 26 days of February alone. Note that since 1 February, the cost per kLfor schools has doubled. These savings do not include the many times we detected and reported pipe bursts and open taps/toilets in the last month. We also managed to go beyond 500,000 litres saved per day for the first time this week, and hope to double the daily savings, since many schools will complete their baseline period soon. These savings are remarkable, considering our behavioural intervention is yet to start.
We started sending out the weekly reports to our first few schools in February, and hope to be rolling out the behavioural intervention with UCT, Stellenbosch University, and the Department of the Premier (WC) in March. We are excited about this, since we will be reaching out to the children at this stage, which we expect to make difference not only at the schools, but at their homes too.
Thank you once again for your fantastic support. We are privileged to be part of this amazing joint venture.
Thinus, on behalf of the Bridgiot team.