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Midvaal Water Company

Midvaal Water is flowing into new territories

Ella Copeland

Non-profit water provider Midvaal has invested R1 billion into the refurbishment and extension of its pipe infrastructure
Midvaal Water is flowing into new territories

 

Midvaal Water Company is awash with the tides of change as it completes a R1 billion investment project into the refurbishment and extension of its infrastructure.

Having invested more than R47 million to increase filtration capacity and improve water quality over the last year, the company is planning to refurbish its entire water distribution system by adding a waste recycling system and extending the existing supply capabilities to include new territories.

Established in the 1950s, the South African, non-profit company aims to offer its services at the most affordable price possible. Chief Executive Rafat Khan is proud of the company’s successful track record in raising the funds to cover all operating costs and investments in the business.

“All the surpluses generated are ploughed back and reinvested to improve the infrastructure of the company and create a buffer for meeting eventualities for unforeseen circumstances,” he said. “We expect to generate funds internally to meet the investment programme.  In case there will be problems of raising money, the plan will be adjusted accordingly; we do not borrow the money from outside sources.”

Increasing capacity

Midvaal has completed an extensive infrastructure refurbishment plan following a detailed inspection and condition monitoring assessment which identified the key areas for development.

Having already increased its filtration capacity, the company is making progress with the refurbishment of its water distribution system, which is expected to cost R414 million over a ten year period. In the past two years, R 100 million has already been spent in the refurbishment of sections of the old pipelines.

Originally founded to supply potable water to the mining and industrial sectors, Midvaal also supplies water in bulk to the Greater Municipality of Matlosana (Klerksdorp). The company currently serves an area of over 900km², yet has plans to increase its area of supply in other parts of the North West Province as well as Free State Province due to a decrease in demand as mining downscaled in the KOSH region.

“The Department of Public Works has funded a pipeline to Vierfontein which will be completed in March 2013. The company has invested in a pump station and other infrastructure necessary to connect to that pipeline, with the water supply expected to begin flowing in April 2013.  This will open opportunities to supply other parts of the Free State Province,” explained Khan.

With services including a South African Nationally Accredited laboratory, Midvaal provides consultation and analysis services in addition to drawing on its vast experience in water engineering, metering, operating radio telemetry systems, as well as the maintenance and refurbishment of potable water treatment plants and wastewater purification plants.

In the future, the company hopes to expand into the indigent areas of the North West Province to supplement ground water supply with surface water, and is currently working on achieving government adoption of its project to achieve support from the National Treasury.

Keeping costs low

Midvaal currently employs 130 people, and keeps employee levels at a minimum in order to keep staff costs down. With the water industry currently facing a skills shortage in Sub-Saharan Africa, the company focuses its resources on retention and succession strategies to minimise the requirement for outside recruitment.

“Our leadership programme is a combination of internal and external resources. We use consultants based on their expertise and track record for specific leadership development programmes. We outsource all non-core services such as security to minimise employment costs,” said Khan.

Midvaal is an industry leader due to its non-profit business model, which ensures that the company operates in the most lean and efficient manner. As the only public company in the region which supplies bulk water, Midvaal ensures it operates in the best interest of the communities it serves, and Khan is confident the company will maintain its place at the heart of the community for years to come.  

“Water being a basic necessity, there is no doubt about the continuation of the business. The company is well organised and the relevance of its vision and mission is verified regularly to ensure it is making decisions in the best interest of the communities being served,” Khan concluded.

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