Sasol in Society

Water leak prevention realises savings

The name of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality in the Free State, South Africa, means (in the Sesotho language) “big water”. It’s an apt name because the municipal area borders the Vaal Dam and Vaal River, the large bodies of water on which the citizens of the Free State, Gauteng and Mpumalanga depend.

But until recently Metsimaholo had a severe problem with water. A big problem: it was losing large amounts of underground water and, with it, large amounts of money. Together with the municipality, we implemented a diagnostics project, leveraging the expertise of our water and project management specialists, to understand the root cause of this problem.

Water meters, consumption loggers and pressure reducing valves were installed in Sasolburg and Zamdela. This provided information that saw night-time water consumption reaching as high as 85% of daytime water consumption, which clearly indicated that water was leaking and being lost in vast quantities. The meters were able to transmit data readings to a central office at the municipality.

With detailed, location-specific information at their fingertips and with the tools to adjust water pressure in real time, council officials were able to remedy Metsimaholo’s “big water” problem. The results were profound and they were quickly realised. Within just a year of the project going live the council had saved R12 million – more than three times the amount Sasol spent on the programme. Savings which Metsimaholo continues to make. In 2018 the municipality reported that it had cut its water maintenance budget in half – to just R25 million a year.

Sasol have been wonderful partners with Metsimaholo. We really appreciate all the help they have given us and look forward to working with them for many years to come.


Over and above this intervention, we donated three mobile maintenance units to Metsimaholo to unblock sewerage and water lines. In 2018 Sasol spent a further R2 million on critical remedial upgrades at 11 sewerage pump stations.