Water is Life

CD Anderson
CEO Magazine, vol 9, no 7
November 2010

Water management is becoming increasingly complex as water becomes an increasingly scarce commodity in a semi-arid country like South Africa

Water management companies like WRP Engineering are working hard to develop viable methods of sustainable service delivery and they are contributing to the economic growth of South Africa by meeting present and future need for potable water.

Water Resource Planning and Conservation (WRP) Engineering is a specialist engineering consultancy of international standing in the field of Water Resources Planning and Management, as well as Water Conservation and Environmental Management. WRP provides professional services to ensure the sustainability of projects and maintain the integrity of the environment. Through the diverse talents of its staff, dedicated leadership and international alliances, WRP focuses on the development of innovative and cost effective solutions to promote efficient management of water related services. WRP is partly owned by the Miya Group of Luxembourg and is a world renowned company in water conservation projects. WRP is responsible for the design and building of the three largest water pressure management installations in the world, winning the company many awards and accolades, including the prestigious Africa Energy Award for Best Demand Side Management Project 2010.

Managing Director of WRP, Dr Robbie McKenzie is proud of the work the company does, but mostly of its employees, who form the backbone of the company and strive to ensure the company performs at the highest level. "We're a small company, consisting of 30 to 40 employees," he says. "We're a dedicated group of people, having some of the best people in water resource projects and providing specialist services in almost 20 countries around the world, including projects in Australia, Europe and the Americas.

"Our company, though small, has a fully representative workforce," says McKenzie. Being a privately owned company, the shareholders, including four women, are actively involved in the management of the company. "It's part of our vision to create employment and advancement within the company. Effectively, any employee at WRP, black or white, shares in any profits. That's how we have managed to retain our key staff over the past 11 years," he says. An example of this diversity and WRP's belief in its own people is shareholder Ms Zama Siqaba. "Zama," explains McKenzie, "has been with the company for many years, and we have supported her in her university studies. Now we have created a section in the company around her psychology expertise that addresses community awareness and the education needs in our various projects."

Of the more than 250 water resource and management projects that WRP has completed, the proudest and most recent include two advanced water pressure management projects in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain in the Western Cape. This innovative management system is based on reducing pressure on water pipes, consequently reducing the occurrences of burst pipes and preventing water wastage. WRP is involved in the entire design, installation, testing and maintenance of the systems, which McKenzie says, "results in massive water savings through reduced leakage and improved service delivery to the residents."

Another project, completed in June 2010, was the Sebokeng/Evaton Leakage Reduction Public Private Partnership. Despite the stress of sourcing the initial funds to build the project, the project achieved water savings of over R150-million over its five year operational period and helped to reduce the frequent spillages of sewage into the local rivers. "That's been our most successful project," McKenzie states confidently.

WRP offers a range of specialist services that are essential for the efficient operation of the water industry, including Water Resource Planning and Operation, Water Conservation and its associated training as well as Transfer of Technology.