COVID-19: The Impact on Water, Sanitation and Water Resources

COVID-19: The Impact on Water, Sanitation and Water Resources

On 31st December, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of several cases of the viral pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The outbreak evolved rapidly, affecting many countries worldwide. On 30th January, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Uganda confirmed its first COVID-19 case on 22nd March 2020, a number that has risen to over 300 cases to date. In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the president of the Republic of Uganda on the 30th of March, 2020 declared a nationwide lockdown for 14 days, which has since been extended by more 21 days, then 14 days and finally 14 days, totaling to 63 days, which is due on 2nd June, 2020.

Like many other developing countries, Uganda was taken by surprise and was ill equipped on all fronts. The Ministry of Health (MoH) emphasized basic sanitation and hygiene practices, mainly through hand washing, which has been our first line of defence, and a frontline weapon in preventing the transmission of corona virus. Water, sanitation and hygiene have been prioritized in all national and global response plans, with some governments calling for non-disconnection of water users e.g. Uganda, while others opted to provide free water to their people for 2-3 months, with notable examples being Ghana, Burkina Faso and Democratic Republic of Congo. In this blog, our experts weigh in on the short, medium and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on water, sanitation and water resources.

Increased sanitation adoption:

COVID-19 has transformed everyday life so significantly and hand washing is yet the new normal. The period has seen rapid installation of hand washing facilities in homes, public places and institutions and hand washing is now fully etched in people’s daily cultures. This serves as a barrier not only to the transmission of corona virus, but to other sanitation related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. The widespread adoption of sanitation facilities is not only essential but also “life-saving” as cleaning hands reduces transmission of disease agents that contributes to improved people’s health. Our commendable progress in the fight against the virus can be partly attributed to having put water and sanitation at the front and centre of fighting the disease spread.

Recognition of water and sanitation as essentials:

The Government of Uganda has been awakened and recognized the role of water and sanitation in the wake of the pandemic. This was through suspending of any water disconnections for water users during the pandemic. Another clear example was government’s support to the sanitation sector through negotiations with several companies, previously manufacturing waragi to start manufacturing hand sanitizers, through provision of an incentive framework. If carefully upscaled with support of private sector, these will in the long term contribute to efforts of preventing numerous sanitation related diseases. Treated water continues to play a pivotal role in prevention of COVID-19, through its use in process manufacture of key protectives, masks, sprays, hand sanitizers and the significant role in hand washing. COVID-19 has been a loud call that sanitation is a basic human necessity.

Reduced environmental pollution:

With the onset of the national lockdown, malls closed, car movement reduced drastically and the number of production industries reduced, which reduced on the volume of industrial effluent discharge to water bodies. As regular activities ground to a halt, there has been stark reduction on the volumes of polyethene and plastic disposed in the environment, achieving high water quality since most of these normally find their way into drainage channels. This is definitely good news for the environment, but sadly could be only temporary.

Water demand:

Generally, there has been a slump in the demand and consumption of water. As such, utilities are billing a mere fraction of the revenues, if compared before the pandemic. With advice to wash hands more frequently, preferably every 15 minutes and for at least 20 seconds, this has led to significant increase in residential water demand. The decline in general water demand is a result of the fact that with implementation of lockdowns, this resulted into temporary closures of majority businesses, institutions and workplaces. These are among major consumers of water during day, which is no longer the case. Moreover most of these malls and workplaces in towns use improved sanitation facilities of flush toilets, than majority homes of those people who work in towns that use pit latrines, which does account and partly explain the reduction in overall water demand. Another major change with regards to the water demand patterns has been a shift in peak water demand time. Previously, peak water demands have been early morning before work; typically between 6:00AM and 8:00AM and late evening after work, typically between 6:00PM and 8:00PM. During the pandemic, there has been reorientation of the day’s peak demand to 8:00AM-7:00PM (At domestic level).

Reduction in waste recycling:

Recycling is a common and effective way to prevent pollution, save energy, and conserve natural resources. However, countries as in the USA, some cities have suspended recycling programs because authorities have been concerned about the risk of spreading the virus in recycling centers. On the other hand, some industries have seized the opportunity to repeal disposable bag bans. Companies that once encouraged consumers to bring their bags have increasingly switched to single-use packaging. These developments are resulting in the increase of inorganic domestic waste.

Increased waste:

The use of disposable and reusable face masks will result into significant amounts of litter entering the natural environment, especially after the lockdown is lifted, since it will be mandatory for every citizen to wear a face mask. Government of Uganda is yet to distribute over 30 million face masks to every citizen aged 6 years and above.

Medical waste is on the rise such as contaminated masks, gloves and used test kits. This becomes worse if these items are mixed with domestic waste, yet should be treated as hazardous waste and disposed off separately. In fact, this type of waste must be collected by specialized municipal operators or waste management operators.

Notwithstanding, most of all this medical waste and used face masks by the masses will be disposed into the environment, which could lead to possible health and environmental effects as the discarded masks clutter drainage channels and will be worse in high density settlements such as slums and refugee camps. Such environmental problems brought by COVID-19 may last longer and will be more challenging to manage if we neglect the impact of the epidemic on the environment. Therefore, there is need for waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces, and healthcare facilities to avoid secondary environmental impacts.

Going forward post the pandemic:

While water and sanitation have been at the center of fighting the spread of the pandemic, 2.2 billion people do not have access to drinking water, while 4.2 billion; more than half of the world’s population is deprived of safe sanitation systems and 3 billion people lack access to basic hand washing facilities in their homes. In Uganda, more than 21 million people of the estimated population of 42 million people; do not have clean water.

Let’s ensure this threat is not a missed opportunity to achieve our vision of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. COVID-19 is not the first or last pandemic that countries will face. We need to supercharge investment in clean water access and sanitation. It is undoubtable that COVID-19 has made a sufficient convincing case that water and sanitation are essential to our lifeline. Water has been a key resource in the entire process.

As we emerge from the 63 days lockdown, institutional settings such as health care centres, schools and markets risk serving as hot spots for increased transmission. These will necessitate being equipped with adequate hand washing stations and waste management facilities. The same holds true for overcrowded settings such as refugee settlements and slums, which tend to be densely populated. Overcrowding could lend itself to the rapid spread COVID-19, hence the need for adequate WASH infrastructure, waste disposal facilities, hand washing stations, water harvest and supply systems and rehabilitation of non-functional water supply schemes in these settlements.

Considering how water has been vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the water sector must come out of the pandemic with sustainable measures of increasing access, supply reliability, availability and service coverage of portable water and that’s the reason entities like Hydro Concepts (U) Ltd exist.

Now in service for one year, Hydro Concepts (U) Ltd implements projects in technical areas as small scale water supplies, institutional water, sanitation and hygiene, storm-water harvesting, advanced water treatment and reuse, plumbing services, wastewater management and WASH technical consultancy.

How You Can Avoid A High Water Bill

Experiencing A High-water Bill? Here Is Why And How You Can Avoid It

Most of the water connections in the developing countries which are managed by some water utility are metered. Universal metering is good as it plays well in the dimension of water use efficiency, ultimately contributing to sustainability of water resources. On the other hand, universal metering brings about equity. This is done by billing exactly what a particular customer has consumed and not based on guess work or mere estimation. The billing is normally done routinely, say monthly. However, sometimes the billing is over and above the usual average for a particular customer. In this article, I discuss the possible causes and how sustainably going forward; this can be avoided or timely managed.

High billing can be caused by different factors. These include:

  1. Leakages on direct, transmission or distribution pipes after a utility meter;
  2. Faulty fixture, and;
  3. Customer tank

Leakages On Direct, Transmission Or Distribution Main After A Utility Meter

It should be noted that a customer has a mini supply system composed of pipes, tank(s) and water use points. These are all connected and supplied by a network of pipes. Direct pipes can be defined as those that supply water use points e.g. kitchen sink, sprinklers without first drawing their water from a customer tank. On the other hand, the distribution pipes are those that draw their water from the customer overhead tank. On the other hand, the distribution pipes are those that draw their water from the customer overhead tank.piscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

It should be noted that all water supply systems, in this case inclusive of the mini supply system of customers, are susceptible to develop leakages.

However, in the absence of smart water metering, the responsibility of operation and maintenance of these systems is up-to a customer’s utility meter. This is rightly so because the design, choice of pipe and plumbing material and installation of fixtures is to the customer’s preference.

The most obvious cause of leakages on the pipe network after the meter is the use of poor-quality pipes not fit for the purpose. Pipes are classified according to the maximum pressure they can withstand depending on their wall thickness. As such, we have Pressure Nominal (PN) of 4, 6, 10, etc. pipes. In view of the recommended standard for utilities to deliver water to customers at a pressure of at least 2.5 bars (or approximately 25m head of water), it is advisable that the selection of the pipes to be used for the mini water system at the customer’s premises match the prevailing pressure from the supplying utility.

However, because most water supply systems in developing countries have not installed pressure monitoring and pressure regulating systems, this makes it very hard to properly ascertain the prevailing pressures in their water supply networks. As a consequence, therefore, pressure variations reaching a customer’s meter point are expected periodically. Considering the above, experience has shown that PN 10 pipes, which are designed to withstand maximum pressures of up to 10 bars or approximately 100m head of water are the most suited for this purpose. Therefore, the use of pipes with lower pressure nominal than 10 is not encouraged, as it is more susceptible to develop leakages.

Since it is advisable to lay these pipes underground, usually when they develop leakages the water lost via those leaking pores percolates into the ground and rarely rises to the surface for customers to immediately notice.

Overflowing Customer Tanks

Most customers store water in overhead tanks for use in case water supply is off from the water utility. These tanks, owing to wear and tear can become faulty and consequently begin to overflow. These tanks are controlled by ball valves from overflowing. These tanks are controlled by ball valves from overflowing. However, when these ball valves become faulty, they no longer can control the filling of water into the tanks, resulting into overflows.

The good thing, however, is that the tank overflows can easily be noticed and when noticed, water into the tank can be regulated, usually by closing a stop cork or gate valve installed either before or after a utility water meter before or after a utility meter.

Faulty Fixtures

In the modern home, the use of various plumbing appliances has been adopted to improve sanitation, in some cases to also ease work. As such, appliances such as water heaters, dish washers, flushing toilets, washing machines etc. These appliances too are susceptible to wear and tear and can become faulty. Most of the appliances when they become faulty can easily be noticed, e.g. a tap or shower will keep releasing water and upon noticing this, immediate remediation or replacement should be done.

On the other hand, when toilets become faulty, they are not easy to notice but keep flushing a certain amount of water, constantly until this is noticed. If the self-flushing of the toilets proceeds unnoticed for a long time, it leads to high billing. However, a simple experiment can be done to confirm if a flushing toilet is overflowing or not. Simply put a dye in the toilet sink and if the dye appears in the cistern without using the toilet, such a toilet is faulty. The most common faults in toilets are due to breakages of ball valves.

On the other hand, it is also important to note that sometimes the careless use of water is the cause of high billing. Furthermore, sometimes when supply from a utility is off and upon opening a tap it this is noticed, some water users usually forget to close those taps and in case one stays away from home for a long time and water returns and finds the tap open, a lot of water is lost in the process leading to high billing. This should be avoided.

So Then, How Can We Manage Our Water Billing?

The first and most important way of preventing high billing is through the use of pipes and fixtures fit for the purpose. This author recommends the use of water and energy efficient fixtures while selection of the right pipes depending on the water pressure reaching the customer meter as the best guiding principles. This, however, may require consultation from an expert. And we do exactly that at HYDRO CONCEPTS (U) LTD.

On the other hand, the most appropriate way of easily managing high billing is through deployment of smart water metering which, upon notice of any fault after the meter immediately sends warning to both the water utility and customer. That way, faults are noticed immediately they occur and remedial actions can too be implemented thereby ensuring very minimal loss.  In this regard, it is also important to note that even some of the existing water meters can be smartened through installation of data capturing and transmission technological aspects such as loggers.

Furthermore, the development and deployment of sensors that monitor the customers’ pipe network and/or fixtures with enabled warning systems can be helpful. However, more focussed research and development is still needed in this area.

However, in the absence of smart water metering, these steps below can be useful.

Most times customers notice high billing upon receipt of a bill from a water utility. However, this is sometimes very late, after a substantial loss. And yet, this can be avoided by routinely monitoring your meter performance, say twice every week.

The first step to notice if there is any fault after a utility water meter is by temporarily halting the use of water downstream of a meter and noticing its behaviour. If the water meter stops registering, this indicates no problem after the meter. However, if the meter continues to count, then it indicates a problem after the meter.

To understand which particular cause it is, start by ruling out over head tank overflow since this is obvious. Secondly, do the toilets test and if the toislets are ok, then it must be a leakage on the pipe network.

Pinpointing the exact point of leakage on the pipes requires specialised knowledge and equipment if costs are to remain minimal. The use of specialised equipment, the geophones or ground penetrating radar is the most recommended as these assists in pin pointing the exact point of leakage and consequently exposing around that point can be done and repaired. Else, excavation following the pipes would be the other remaining option. However, this too ought to be done in presence and guidance of an expert.

High Billing Vs. Equity

Many questions have to date been raised in the area of high billing and how it relates to equity. For instance, in rented apartments or single houses, if the cause of high billing is fault on fixtures, tank overflows or leakages on pipes, who should bear this extra cost? Is it the land lord or the tenant?

These questions will be answered in our next episode on this topic.

How Can We Achieve Sustainable Water Use Efficiency

Hydrology teaches us that the amount of water on earth is constant. However, its geographical and temporal distribution is not. Also, the water’s quality is not the same world-wide, often presenting self in a non-portable state. The reasons for this uneven distribution are both natural and man-made. Ultimately, therefore, the available resource must be used sparingly. This makes Sustainable Water Use Efficiency (SWUE) a fundamental and critical area requiring attention.

Sustainable Water Use Efficiency (SWUE) can be defined as a perpetual resolute involving the careful utilisation of the available water in a manner that achieves the best possible benefit per unit of water.

The careful utilisation of water can be as a result of mere behavioural change such as turning off the water while you brush your teeth, adoption of new and improved technology e.g. water-efficient fixtures such as toilets and washing machines or could encompass mandatory legal requirements.

In this article, I propose two major objectives to guide actions if we are to achieve SWUE.

  1. Ensure unwavering conservation of the natural vegetation on one hand, and undertaking robust afforestation on the other.
  2. The abstraction, treatment and usage of water should be done in such a way that the best possible benefit per unit of water is achieved while conserving aquatic ecosystems.

Firstly, it is important to appreciate the undisputable significant role played by the natural environment especially the trees and aquatic animals in the water cycle. The trees and plants, together with water surfaces such as oceans, lakes, and rivers are responsible for evapotranspiration which in turn is responsible for rainfall formation. On the other hand, the aquatic ecosystems (plants and animals therein) are regulators of water quality and quantity.

Without conservation of these important aspects of the environment, the hydrological cycle is likely to be affected with possible adverse effects such as the drying up of rivers, substantial reduction in area and depths of lakes while replenishing of underground water might greatly reduce or cease. On the other hand, severe events such as floods and droughts, and consequential destruction could result.

It, therefore, follows that for any water use efficiency measures to function; the primary sources of water MUST first be conserved or even improved through such measures e.g. appropriate afforestation. The term appropriate is here emphasised because over time, experience has shown that certain tree species are more suited for certain environments if sustainability of water is to be achieved.

So then, how can we achieve sustainable water use efficiency? To achieve SWUE, I propose five major pathways which play interlinked roles. These are:

  1. Work toward and promotion of currently under-exploited sources of water
  2. Policy and advocacy
  3. Behavioural change
  4. Use of technology
  5. Application of scientific knowledge

Work toward and promotion of currently under-exploited sources of water

World over, the most exploited sources of water are freshwater sources-lakes, rivers, and groundwater largely owing to the ease of abstraction and treatment. The other sources of rainwater harvesting, seawater and fossil groundwater are largely ignored for varied reasons. For fossil groundwater and seawater, their abstraction and/or treatment is very expensive, understandably so. However, rainwater harvesting; which is affordable has largely been ignored. Yet, if implemented could help relieve a lot of pressure on the surface freshwater sources.

Going forward, advanced technology-driven by application of scientific principles should be pursued to make the abstraction and treatment of seawater and very deep groundwater more affordable.

Rain water harvesting

Rainwater harvesting can be defined as the process of collecting, conveying and storing rainwater for later use. This rainwater can be collected from such surfaces as rooftops, paved surfaces or rocky catchments. It can be stored in ground-level tanks, underground constructed tanks as well as used to recharge aquifers.

Although rainwater is used to replenish aquifers through subsequent percolation and infiltration processes, contributes to the river/stream flow consequently contributing to the volume of water in lakes, seas and oceans, it should be noted that a lot of it collects in aquifers that are not readily exploited for human use. If this portion that is stored in those not-readily exploitable aquifers was obstructed, harvested, stored and used, it would relieve the freshwater sources of a lot of pressure. It is worth noting that while rainwater harvesting is relatively cheap it is largely ignored.

Therefore, a deliberate effort aimed at the promotion of rainwater harvesting encompassing policy and advocacy, aspects of behaviour change and technology is needed.

Waste-water treatment for re-use

Waste water is increasing being viewed as a resource rather than a waste! In this regard, treatment of waste-water is now focussed at resource (energy and water) recovery. In this regard, scientist are on a discovery course aimed at the development of relevant technologies that can ably treat waste water generated when water is used for various purposes to suitability for re-use without fist releasing it to the environment. This way, a cycle is maintained and this ultimately relieves fresh water bodies of pressure. Also, where the technology involved in the abstraction and treatment of water is quite expensive, say sea water, money can be saved and devoted to other needs. But this is very key where alternative sources are either expensive or non existent.

The technologies involved can either be remote, say used at household or institutional level but can also be centralised where waste water is collected and treated at a single treatment facility and re-channneled to the system for various uses. While research into this area is still ongoing, in some countries e.g. Singapore and Israel the level of deployment of the already tested systems is very commendable.

On the other hand however, it is also important to note that when universal collection of waste water and its subsequent treatment to acceptable standards and is then released to the environment it contributes to environmental flow which is equally good. Howevr, collection and subsequent treatment of waste water in most of the developing countries is still very wanting. And neither have they embrased remote waste water treatment for re-use. This needs to be eorked if sustainable water use efficiency is to be achieved.

Sustainable physical water loss management

Physical water loss is defined as the water lost in various water distribution networks world over as leakages, bursts and tank overflows up-to a customer’s utility meter. However, in light of sustainable water use efficiency, we necessarily have to add to this volume the amount of water lost after a customer’s water utility meter as leakages, over head tank overflows and through the leakage of faulty toilets.

This is an already treated resource to standards that is lost, and yet could have been used to supply customers who currently lack supply in intermittent systems but could also releieve fresh water bodies of additional pressure. Although technology innovations aimed at curbing this loss such as geophones, ground penetrating rader, deployment of sensors and smart metering are already deployed to play a key role in reducing this loss, their universal deployment needs to fast be tracked. Additional, further technological development in this area is still needed. On the other hand, the regulation around this area especially aimed at compelling water supply utilities to reduce this physical loss to the acceptable and economically viable volumes is needed in countries where it is currently absent while strengthening of the same is needed where feasible.


Considering the two set objectives, technology will play a key role in assessment, monitoring and regulating water usage. In the effort to ensure sustained environmental protection, technology will be needed to monitor and give fast feedback regarding the status of such aspects of the environment as wetlands, swamps, gazetted forests among others. In this regard, remote sensing should be used to achieve this goal. For instance, through the integration of software tools with capability of mapping, programming and relaying information, deforestation, swamp reclamation and wetland destruction attempts can be quickly thwarted through a signal warning and consequent immediate deployment.

On the other hand, technology is already playing its role in the monitoring of water resources, for instance, the depth/width of lakes and oceans, flow of rivers and aquifer recharge trends as well as monitoring of other properties of these water bodies/resources. Going forward, universal deployment of these technological packages and tools should be fast-tracked to ensure all water bodies/resources are monitored. The processing and analysis of the data collected, its dissemination, further analysis and research and consequent decision making should be done very fast.

Furthermore, technological packages and tools are already being deployed in the management of water’s end-use. As an example, the amount of water used for domestic uses e.g. flushing of toilets and handwashing is being regulated while water supplied to crops too is being regulated through analytical and trigger systems, aimed at achieving the possible benefit per unit of water.

This is being done through automation of water supply and irrigation systems as well as other uses. With this, demand analysis and management of water for all uses is being done. This is a commendable step thus far. While more fine-tuning is still needed, the universal application of the already tested systems should be explored. Examples of these systems include smart water metering, use of sensors in the management of water supply systems, leakage detection equipment such as geophones and ground-penetrating radar, etc.

Policy and advocacy

Considering the above objectives, a conclusion can be made that a lot of focus has been put on the policy and advocacy of objective one which is good. However, more studies need to be made and if there are any gaps in this regard, they be filled especially in the quality of laws and guidelines but also their enforcement.

However, as regards aspects of abstraction, treatment and usage of water in such a way that the best possible benefit per unit of water is achieved while taking care of water needs of other water users other than humans, more is still needed in as far regulation and advocacy are concerned.

For instance, although many countries have incorporated the aspect of minimum environmental flows, this needs further popularisation and universal consideration. Considering the current gap, going forward, there is a need for formulation of area-specific regulation and guidelines at all levels i.e. international, regional and national.

On the other hand, although contamination of and encroachment on water resources is punishable in almost all countries, serious gaps exist between policy and implementation and this needs serious review.

As regards advocacy towards sustainable water use efficiency, the area has largely been left to well-wishers with main-stream government and government agencies playing a dormant role. In my view, the mainstream government needs to take it up as a serious issue that forms part of its day to day business especially regarding the education of masses on the promotion of water use efficiency.

Application of scientific knowledge and Behaviour change

The above three aspects will largely be guided and enabled by the use of scientific principles and ensuring behaviour change.

For instance, scientific principles will be needed to guide every future endeavour aimed at achieving sustainable water use efficiency, be it research, technology and regulation.

On the other hand, unless human behaviour is adjusted and aligned to the tenets of sustainable water use efficiency, the endeavour is likely to remain futile.

From the foregoing, it can be concluded that more dedicated effort is still needed if we are to achieve sustainable water use efficiency. And yet, this is not optional but rather a MUST. For if timely interventions are not sought and implemented, going by the current trends, over-exploitation of freshwater sources to the extent of drying up in some parts of the world, while the causing of severe events such as floods and droughts is very likely.

Sustainable Water Use Efficiency

Seventy one per cent of the worlds’ surface is water. 4% of it exists as fresh water-a more easy and less costly form to treat for suitability to the various water needs of domestic, industrial or agricultural (irrigation and livestock). Startlingly, of the 4% only 5% is safe for human consumption. Whereas fresh water is a renewable resource, it is also finite. The other forms of water include sea water and fossil ground water (very deep ground water).

Water demand can be defined as the total volume of water required to satisfactorily meet the water needs of particular society at a specific time. In the context of water use efficiency, water demand can be defined as the total volume of water that can be precisely used through careful optimisation in such a way that the best possible productivity per unit of water (e.g. cubic meter) is achieved.

As noted above, water is mainly required for industrial, domestic and agricultural purposes. A careful analysis will reveal that the total amount of water required to meet these needs since time immemorial to-date has been on the increase. And this demand is projected to soar in the future. Why? In the past, using the Stone Age error for example, owing to less sophisticated way of living and less population then, man only needed a few litres of water to meet all his daily water needs.

However, as man has been growing more sophisticated in all aspects, including the invention of various methods/ways or technologies such as dish washers, washing machines, flushing toilet, etc., of exploiting and using water, most of which aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene, so has the demand for more water to meet those needs.

On the other hand, as the current developing countries inevitably transition into developed ones, more factories that need water for various uses will be set up while the surface area for irrigation will increase. Furthermore, human population is only projected to increase. These will further add additional demand for water.

From the above discussion, it is also important to note that the per capita water demand has been increasing over time. Per capita water demand is the volume of water required by an individual to meet all their life and hygienic needs in a given time span e.g. daily. This is largely influenced by level of economic development and ease of accessibility of water. For instance, an urban dweller that uses a flashing toilet surely needs more water than his rural counterpart who uses a pit latrine. However, accessibility to safe drinking water is now rightly viewed as a fundamental human right. Therefore, as rural people develop through well focussed commercial farming, for example, and as issue of accessibility is addressed, this disparity may not be anymore, bringing with it more demand for water.

There is no more readily available water now than there was centuries ago when the world population was only a small fraction of its current size. Unsurprisingly, according World Resources 2000, the availability of fresh water, has dropped from 17000m/person in 1950 to 7044m in 2000.

Worryingly as the situation seems to be, and projected to deteriorate further if well thought multidisciplinary decisions aimed at achieving sustainable water use efficiency are not implemented, it is important to note that the Homo sapiens (human beings) are not the only species who need water.

A Substantial amount of the readily available fresh water is also required to sustain natural aquatic ecosystems. It is important to note that inadvertently, the survival of human beings directly or indirectly depends on the health of these natural ecosystems. These systems are regulators of water quality and quantity. On the other hand, species such as fish are now economic goods, directly fending incomes for very many people along the fishing-eating value chain.

Therefore, the abstraction of water for such uses as domestic, industrial or agriculture must be carefully and properly done in order to ensure water needed to sustain the health of the aquatic systems is not compromised. On the other hand, pollution of aquatic ecosystems as well as encroachment and reclamation on those systems should be checked.


Plumbing Services

Are you planning to install plumbing works for your building, apartment or commercial plaza? Do you know there are a wide range of products on the market that serve different needs and outputs achieving different water-use and energy efficiencies? And do you know that there are numerous safety features that must be considered to incorporate safety in the plumbing systems, especially bathrooms in order to minimize bathroom injuries and deaths? Have you heard about accessible toilets that enhance inclusiveness and accessibility of such facilities by the elderly, and persons with disabilities (PWDs)? HYDRO Concepts (U) Ltd is your trusted partner to guide you through and implement the right plumbing decisions

We develop a schematic layout of your outdoor plumbing to guide you in case of future investigations and maintenance, or in case of property transfer as an after sale service

Reach out to us for a wide range of plumbing services including:
  1. Advisory on the right choice of plumbing equipment and pipes basing on the prevailing surrounding pressures from the water utility serving you or based on your own independent sources
  2. Because saving both Energy and Water matters, we will guide you on the right pipes and fixtures fit for the purpose
  3. We offer guidance on sub-metering and/or meter separation in case of commercial plazas and apartments including meter quality selection, billing systems and meters management
  4. We undertake implementation and offer Operations and Maintenance of all plumbing works for institutional, Residential and commercial buildings
  5. We undertake high billing investigations including leakage detection and inspection of all plumbing fixtures
  6. We undertake the detection and repair of leaks and bursts  
  7. We install and repair plumbing systems for homes or businesses 
  8. We clear blocked drains and sewer networks
Subsurface Utility Locators (Subsurface Utility Engineering)

Everyday construction needs a detailed mapping of underground or buried utilities and support infrastructure. Depth and location are critical in new structure designs. Our subsurface engineering avails a comprehensive mapping of all buried structures. Our distinctive high-end equipment is very effective in locating plastic conduits, concrete storm and sanitary sewers. Thus its ability to respond to both metallic and non-metallic features gives it a unique capability for pipe and cable locating, for subsurface infrastructure made of plastic, asbestos, metallic, and concrete structures 

With our equipment, we are able to identify buried pipe material with minimal disruption. Both plastic and metallic pipes can be easily located for repair of leaks or any other works without necessitating excavation or disruption to the flow or quality of water. The current approach of identifying underground pipes is labour intensive, disruptive to customers, time consuming, and expensive. At Hydro Concepts (U) Ltd, we rapidly and cost effectively identify the location of the pipes without disrupting the flow, taste, appearance, or odour of customer’s water. Our approach does not require the water supply to be shut off or any section of the pipework, nor require excavation to access the surface of the pipe. It accurately locates various pipe materials as plastic, lead, galvanized iron, copper, and concrete storm and sanitary sewers. Our sensors are able to determine the presence as well as confirm the absence of any of the pipe types in the customer supply network, and they relay the results in real time, on site. That is quite interesting!



We deliver on the most appropriate irrigation technologies based on suitability to terrain and crop type drawing from a pool of most recognised methods of sprinkler, drip, or flood

Our Engineers help you to select and design the most suitable irrigation type and equipment fit for the purpose keeping in mind to achieve the highest water use efficiency while saving/conserving energy

We also help you design and implement combined irrigation systems that also deliver fertilisers-a process known as fertigation and chemigation

Smart irrigation:

We deploy smart irrigation systems that offer “water on demand irrigation”. In essence, they monitor weather, soil conditions, evaporation and plant water use to automatically adjust the watering schedule to actual conditions of the site

This helps save both water and money (water efficiency). Our smart irrigation improves water use efficiencies as it tailors watering schedules to meet specific landscape needs. We fit your system with smart irrigation controllers that adjust sprinkler application rate based on site-specific variables such as outdoor temperature and soil type, so plants get water when they really need it

We also implement and provide the following under our irrigation plan
  • Solar water pumping
  • Supply of irrigation kits and accessories
  • Design and construction of irrigation schemes 
  • Construction of greenhouses 
  • Supply of surface and submersible water pumps
Fish Pond Construction

Fish rearing (aquaculture) has emerged as a lucrative business lately, done at both subsistence and commercial levels. It is imperative to note that any successful aquaculture practice with a good harvesting is a direct result of proper construction, preparation and maintenance of the fishpond 

Different types of fishponds exist, which can be earthen or concrete in nature. The exact type for a particular fish farm is dependent on factors such as terrain, water source, and quality of the soil at the proposed site, among others

We also supply dam liners and pond liners (geomembrane products) for all shapes and sizes of fishponds 

At Hydro Concepts (U) Ltd, we undertake fish farm design and pond construction; guide you in managing water quality and pond dynamics for both earthen and concrete types of ponds

Research & Development

Research & Development

As a dynamic company, we strive to design, meet, and exceed our client’s expectations by constantly searching for new, innovative, and novel engineering solutions for our clients 

In fulfilment of the same, HYDRO CONCEPTS (U) LTD encourages, collaborates and coordinates researches in the water, sanitation and environment aspects, enabling us to consistently deliver unmatched superior technical solutions

We believe in creation of new knowledge and it is through research that this can be made possible. Also, our team of developers is also ready to work with you to develop smart systems and applications in the water, environmental and sanitation sectors. Every year, we develop, test, trial, and scale up a number of product prototypes (MVPs) relevant to the WASH industry

Our research team undertakes painstaking research with care of every detail, to ensure efficient and human centred design innovations, which has enabled us constantly produce and implement highly customized state of the art technologies and customer solutions. Our focus is leveraging research to design efficient and affordable sanitation and water technologies and services, and for creation and dissemination of functional knowledge to the sector. We are laser focused on developing efficient and impactful solutions, which address current and future client needs, and hence will stand the test of time 

As a company at the frontline of research and engineering innovation, we regularly present papers and innovations at numerous industry conferences and innovation forums. Our R & D department is a wellspring of WASH sector knowledge, facts, statistics, and cutting edge research and innovation, which it consistently disseminates via technical reports, fact sheets, newsletters, conference discussion papers, media articles, blogs, and WASH symposia

Policy and Advocacy

Our team of well-read deep thinkers and seasoned researchers undertakes independent research and analysis of policy gaps in the existing water, sanitation and environmental related laws, regulations, and their implementation. Once our studies with other research institutes, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and think-tank bodies identify certain policy gaps, we make judicious recommendations on policy changes, which we incorporate in policy briefs, reports, and white papers to advocate improvement of both the quality of WASH industry laws and guidelines and their enforcement

Our R & D team delivers actionable recommendations, based on anecdotal evidence and high quality data gathered whilst undertaking our researches, and thorough understanding of the industry. Through our evidence based research, we advance empirical evidence of loose ends in water legislation and concrete recommendations, which facilitates informed decision making. Once adopted and implemented, this provides a good atmosphere that serves as a catalyst for innovation, as well as best and sustainable practices in the WASH and environmental sectors

Waste Water Management

Waste Water Management

It is common knowledge that WATER IS LIFE! AND WATER IS KEY FOR INDUSTRIAL GROWTH AS BASIC RAW MATERIAL. And where there is use of water for domestic or industrial purposes, there is also mixing of water with other compounds to generate waste water. This waste water is required to be appropriately treated to acceptable standards before it is discharged back to the environment 

At HYDRO CONCEPTS (U) LTD, we help you select the most suited treatment method/process chain, optimally design it and undertake its construction. 

We focus on systems that achieve both water and energy recovery. Thus, our major emphasis is on anaerobic wastewater treatment processes for tropical regions.

We design for and undertake implementation of Residential, Commercial, Industrial or Municipal wastewater treatment systems. Our selection of the processes is guided by thorough characterisation of the type of wastewater at hand while we emphasise process control

We design and deliver fit-for-purpose design industrial wastewater and effluent treatment equipment. Our range of industrial wastewater treatment equipment includes up flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors (UASB), anaerobic baffled reactors (ABR), clarifiers, industrial oil separators, solids separators, dissolved air flotation (DAF) sludge thickening units, hydro cyclones among others. Our effluent systems are fit for brewery, dairy, textile, wet coffee processing, sugar, abattoir, food processing, leather, plastics recycling, pulp and paper, chemical, beverages and battery recycling industrial wastewater 

We help you choose the right wastewater treatment equipment to best suit your plant’s operation. We also design and implement natural biological wastewater treatment facilities such as sewage lagoons and constructed wetlands



What you need to know about drainage and the works the company does

Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of a surface’s water and sub-surface water from an area with excess of water. Drainage works is critical to the efficient installation and design of below ground sanitary and storm water systems within and from a building, road, or concrete surface (street).

As experts on the topic, we do the following work (and more):

  • Prepare trenches and laying of stormwater and sanitary drains
  • Installing, connecting and testing underground sewerage treatments systems such as septic tanks and pressurized treatment systems
  • Installing grease traps
  • Installing drains, while ensuring the use of adequate support systems
  • Cutting and sealing disused underground drains
  • Repairing and replacing below ground drains
  • Installing onsite disposal systems such as above ground grease interceptors, bio digesters and septic tanks 
  • Installing overflow provisions, including overflow relief gullies and reflux valves
  • Installing drainage vents and inspection shafts
  • Construction of road side drains, culverts, stone pitching and installation of pavements on walkways
  • Clearing of blocked sewer networks 
  • Clearing of blocked or flooded drains 
  • Installation of french drains
  • Laying of geotextiles in roads and drainage works
  • Setting up of embankment dams to store excess water from rivers during wet seasons 
  • Construction of retaining walls  
  • Construction of gabion boxes to control water flow and for erosion control
  • Design and construction of drainage channels 
  • Installation of box culverts for bridge works
  • Technical consultancy to design urban drainage master plans 
  • Technical consultancy to design flood risk management plans 
  • Research and implementation of initiatives such as sponge cities, urban storm water parks, storm water harvesting, bio retention systems, porous roads and pavements, permeable pavers, green rooftops and nature based flood prevention measures and resilience initiatives 


Hydrology is the study of water
This is a branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth’s water, and especially its movement in relation to land.
Hydrology has evolved as a science in response to the need to understand the complex water systems of the Earth and help solve water problems. Hydrologists play a vital role in finding solutions to water problems.

What does HYDRO CONCEPTS (U) LTD do in hydrology?

  1. We apply scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water-related problems in society: problems of quantity, quality and availability
  2. We undertake installation of weather data capturing equipment and systems and undertake their operations and maintenance to ensure reliable data capturing and dissemination
  3. We undertake the supply and installation  of hydrometric equipment such as automatic weather stations, dry deposition monitoring stations, digital water level recording stations, ground water level recording stations, and meteorological stations
  4. Work in environmental protection: preventing or cleaning up pollution or locating sites for safe disposal of hazardous wastes. Design of proper disposal systems right from the source to eventual dumping sites in a controlled manner to ensure no harm to the environment
  5. As far as desk work is concern, we carry out interpreting hydrologic data and performing analyses for such uses as guiding water harvesting and treatment, hydro power development, informing better catchment management practices

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