South Africa is experiencing tough water restrictions following its worst drought in decades, which means top infrastructure experts are looking at the country's water security in the future..

Stainless steel piping and joiunts will provide secutiry in the long term according to the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA), which has gained strong media coverage this week after stating stainless will reduce future leaks.

A report, stated that up to 40 per cent ofJohannesburg's water is lost, which cost the city R1.16bn ($880m) in a year and about three quarters of that was down to leaks.

These high losses are, says the SASSDA, in part to the use of inferior or inappropriate (system) metals in pipe jointsand other fittings being used by municipalities including flanges, tee-pieces, reducers,and bolts and nuts all bearing short lifespans further compounded by highpressure systems and high corrosion levels in South African soils and resultantchallenges in leak detection.

Southern Africa Stainless SteelDevelopment Association (SASSDA) Executive Director John Tarboton (pictured above left) says; “There is high value potential of using stainless steel material for service piping and all fittings in the service delivery of municipal water.

“With the use of corrugated stainlesssteel piping, the need for joints in the system is reduced, allowing the corrugatedstainless steel pipes to maintain their strength, improve workability andextend the piping systems service life. Stainless steel is an optimalmaterial in water system applications and while it comes at a price, it is aninvestment in the country’s infrastructure, the benefits and cost-savings whichwill still be seen 100 years from now.”

With the Newcastle area inKwaZulu-Natal, representing some of the worst cases of water waste, where threemunicipalities see as much as 65 per cent of treated water leaking away or beingused illegally. On the other end of the scale, the Drakenstein Municipality inthe Western Cape is just one of a handful of municipalities which has thewisdom to ensure its water wise future, sasy the SASSDA.

When asked why his municipality is a frontrunner in the use of stainless steel applications, Drakenstein MunicipalitySenior Engineer: Water Services Andre Kowaleski who has 33 years’ experience as a technical official in the municipality comments: “Since 2002 we have applied grade 316 stainless steel in all the metal we use in our underground network or grade 304 in above-ground applications. We also use stainless steel in all our refurbishments, including the recent refurbishment of the Meulwater Reservoir, Paarl Mountain and Van Blerk Reservoir in Wellington."

The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association, one of the most active stainless steel industry associations in the world, provides a platform for members to collectively promote the sustainable growth and development of the industry. “We exist to promote the local manufacture of finished products in stainless steel, to grow the conversion of primary product in South Africa and to grow market awareness and demand for finished stainless steel products,” says Tarboton