Course overview

The eThekwini Municipality has realised the need for a peer based learning intervention to support the emerging and changing needs of South African and sub Saharan municipalities.  eThekwini municipality has conceived its peer learning intervention under the auspices of the Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE), which they hope will position Durban as a Centre of Learning in South Africa and the African continent.

MILE is structured along four learning ‘pillars’: Capacity Building, Strategic Partnerships and Networks, Collaborating with Academia and Municipal Technical Support.  These programme ‘pillars’ are underpinned by an integrated knowledge management system.  The predominant focus of MILE is developing the capacity of local government professionals in Southern Africa.

One of the key learning mechanisms in achieving this goal is the MILE Master Class – which is essentially an experiential action learning engagement lead by an ‘expert’ drawn from either the eThekwini municipality or one of its learning partners across the continent

This course was developed by the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department (EWS) and the focus of this  course is on Getting the Basics Right with the aim of providing the participants with information and tools on how to manage water and sanitation challenges in rural and urban areas

The course will be divided into a number of modules, each of which will have sub-topics/sections and site visits or activities where applicable. Each module will contain a mix of power point presentations, discussions and worked activities. The aim of the modules is to provide practical information to guide the participants in applying a similar approach in their own municipalities.



Date: 30, 31 October to 1 November 2013

Who should attend?

  • Technical, operational and administrative personnel
  • The course is carried out in English

Course Aims

  • To provide information on the basic requirements for an effective and sustainable water and sanitation programme
  • To transfer the knowledge, information and lessons learnt from the eThekwini Water and Sanitation department’s experiences
  • To impart the necessary tools to assist in improving the quality of life with respect to the supply of water and sanitation

Learning Outcomes

Participants on the course will obtain an understanding of the following:

  • How to meet the challenges of rural and peri-urban water and sanitation supply
  • The aspects that need to be including when developing water and sanitation tariffs
  • The importance of continuous education and awareness programmes and how these are applied by EWS
  • How to identify water losses and corrective actions that can be taken
  • The role of a well trained maintenance and operations team
  • The use of GIS for storing information and how this is used in making decisions within a municipality
  • The aspects that need to be considered when operating waste water treatment works
  • The challenges they are going to meet and how these can be overcome
Course Summary

The course is made up of a number of modules covering topics relevant to the course aims.


The supply of basic water and sanitation services to rural settlements:

  • This module will focus on the supply of basic services to the rural areas. 
  • It will address aspects that need to be considered when determining which are the most suitable technologies to use to ensure water supply and sanitation services. 
  •  EWS will provide insight into how they developed the current systems that are used such as ground tanks and flow limiters for water supply, and urine diversion toilets for sanitation. 
  •   Results of these initiatives will be provided and lessons learnt during the process passed onto the participants
  •  A site visit will be arranged.


The supply of basic water and sanitation services to peri-urban settlements:
  • Similar aspects MODULE 1 but with an emphasis on the peri-urban and urban informal settlements. 
  • The use of water dispensers and ablutions for these settlements will be discussed
  •   A site visit to view the ablutions will be arranged


Non Revenue Water:

  • Non revenue water has been identified as the second most important issue in EWS. 
  • The department has developed new initiatives to carry out water balances to identify the losses and many initiatives have been launched and planned to reduce the non revenue water. 
  •  A description of how these water balances are prepared and the actions taken to date (together with financial and other benefits) will be provided 
  • Tips on where to start, how to overcome the problem and how to sustain the process will be provided.
  •    A case study of the pressure reduction valve project will be presented


Using GIS (Geographic Information System):

  • GIS is an important tool for supporting municipal operations and infrastructure management. 
  •  This section will explain the basic requirements for establishing a GIS system
  • The costs and benefits will be explained 
  • A demonstration of the EWS system will be given
  • A DVD on the process will be shown


Treatment Works:

  • There are 27 wastewater treatment works and 4 potable water treatment works in the eThekwini Municipal Area. 
  •  An overview of the wastewater treatment process will be given. 
  • A discussion around the differences between large and small treatment works will be provided 
  •    A site visit to a small wastewater treatment works will be undertaken


Operations and Maintenance:

  • This module will cover how EWS has developed sustainable operation and maintenance systems
  • The basic requirements for such systems will be explained which will cover aspects such as training, setting of key performance indicators, developing response plans and reporting
  • Case studies on how this department contributes to ensuring sustainable water supply will also be presented


Water policy:

  • The water policy guides all actions taken by EWS in terms of providing water and sanitation services. 
  • This section will cover the main aspects of the policy document such as the water tariff how to deal with non payment, and the development and results of the EWS debt relief scheme. 
  • The manner in which this document is handled by EWS staff will also be covered.



  • Education and community involvement are an essential part of the EWS function. 
  • Many initiatives are in place to ensure two way communication with all consumers such as the establishment of focus groups and the use of the Raising Citizens Voice system, both of which will be explained in this section. 
  • Participants will be provided with guidelines on how to approach communities and the most appropriate methods of interacting with consumers on water and sanitation issues. 
  • Lessons learnt and results of the various initiatives will be provided.


Domestic tariff development:

  • The module will cover, in detail, the development of domestic tariffs for water and sanitation. 
  • Aspects that will be discussed includes how the basic free water supply volume was determined, how the different levels of service were developed, and the aspects that need to be taken into account when developing a water or sanitation tariff. 
  • The experience of the EWS in implementing these tariffs will also be discussed.


Call centre:

  • The EWS has developed a successful call centre that deals with complaints related to water and sanitation aspects throughout the EMA. 
  • Participants will be provided with information on how the centre was developed, its operation and the lessons learnt by EWS in establishing and managing the system.
  •  A visit to the call centre will be undertaken

Fundamental Concepts, Course Organization and Learning Methodologies

  • Power point presentations
  • DVDs
  • Discussions and expert panel
  • Case study discussions
  •  Field Trips
Duration of a Course

The course will take place over a period of at least 3 days starting at 08h00 and finishing at 16h30.

Texts and Supporting Material/ Recommended Reading List
Handouts to be supplied include:

  • DVD on eThekwini Rural Water and Sanitation Programme
  • Booklet on the Rural water and sanitation programme 
  • Toolkit guide booklet
  • Water policy document
  • Tariff documents
  • Summary information on projects
  • CD containing all presentations 
Master Class Course Funding

In this Pilot phase, MILE will pay for morning and afternoon teas and all lunches during the Master Class, the cost of the venue, the time for
all facilitators and contributors and for all the materials produced for the Course.

Participant municipality to pay for: All accommodation, travel (air and ground) and subsistence allowances.

Contact Us

For more information contact Masingita Khandlhela on 031 3224525 
or via email: