Non-revenue water reduction


Project background

Average NRW rate in SA is 39% - i.e. only 61% of water is charged for – lost via leaks or non-payment. NRW reduction projects have short pay-back periods but significant barriers are:

  • Municipal capacity to develop bankable project proposals to access funding for NRW projects (when off-budget financing is required)
  • Awareness of potential for NRW projects and their impact on municipal revenue
  • Lack of political will to prioritise NRW projects
  • Compliance and enforcement capabilities of authorities tasked to reduce water losses (commercial and physical)

Project Vision

This project aims to reduce the NRW rates in a Western Cape municipality – from above 30% to 20%. This will result in increased municipal revenue, decreased costs, deferment of capital expenditure, improved service delivery levels and preservation of our scarce water resources. The longer term vision of this project is to gather sufficient data on the efficacy of this approach so that a programme can be rolled out nationally. This vision would be for the national NRW rate to drop from 39% to 25%.

Project Approach

This initial stage of the project aims to develop a tool to assist municipalities in developing NRW programmes, initially scoped as a technical guide for NRW reduction potential assessment. This will be developed with a pilot municipality in the Western Cape. Once developed, the guide will be promoted, publicised and disseminated on this site and elsewhere. So watch this space!

For further information on the project, please contact Claire Pengelly.

Key reading

The resources listed here are essential reading, which provide a greater overview of the opportunities in this sector. For other related tools, resources and information see the Library. 

Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction Technical Guide: Concept Note 

News and events


GreenCape is recruiting a Water Sector Desk Analyst

The Western Cape is a water scarce region, and there is a growing need for technologies and solutions that improve the efficiency of water use and management of water quality. Read more

GreenCape is recruiting a GIS Analyst (initial 5-month contract)

GreenCape is currently running a 3-year project titled: “Towards Sustainable Economic Development in Water Constrained Catchments: Tools to Empower Decision Making”. Read more