[FEATURE STORY] A proactive approach to life cycle costing | Infrastructure news

Climate change, population growth and urbanisation are placing increasing pressure on South Africa’s water and wastewater infrastructure. Finding sustainable solutions requires a value-engineered approach that looks beyond conventional design, says Dr Michele Kruger, functional general manager: Water Infrastructure, SMEC South Africa.

The introduction of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a turning point for the world by placing the emphasis on people and the environment first, rather than pure economic gain. Participating SDG countries, which include South Africa, as well as member firms, are required to effect meaningful change.

“In many respects, the SDGs are a race against time and, from SMEC’s perspective, our responsibility is to design and execute positive outcomes, based on engineered solutions,” says Kruger, who prior to joining SMEC was an advisor to South Africa’s Minister of Water and Sanitation.

Kruger’s passion for this field has been recognised both at home and abroad. In 2007, she won the Young Engineer of the Year Award at the SAACE Glenrand MIB Engineering Excellence Awards. Internationally, her doctoral research in water treatment was honoured by the UK’s Federation for Water Research as the best paper by a young South African in the field of water science and technology.

“My key mandate is to make practical and implementable connections between water security and life-cycle costing,” Kruger explains. “That’s because our problems and challenges are heavily weighted towards treatment, or the lack thereof, where there’s minimal room for error.”

From previous experience and working as a Green Drop auditor in 2021, Kruger has a clear understanding of the current performance status of South Africa’s water and wastewater treatment plants.

As defined by the Department of Water and Sanitation, “The Green Drop process measures and compares the results of the performance of water services authorities and their providers, and subsequently rewards (as incentive-based regulation) the municipality upon evidence of their excellence (or failures) according to the criteria that have been defined.”

Read More: https://issuu.com/glen.t/docs/imiesa_march_2022

Imiesa Mar/Apr 2022

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