How to Save Water with Corrugated Stainless-Steel Piping

How many times have you turned on the tap only to have a tiny dribble of water come out; the result of another burst water pipe a few blocks from your home! An ageing water infrastructure in various parts of South Africa means many burst pipes – and lots of wasted water.  However, the good news is that an excellent solution has been found to combat this problem in the form of corrugated stainless-steel piping.

How Does Corrugated Stainless Steel Piping Save Water?

An article in July 2017 from the International Molybdenum Association cites Tokyo as a thrilling example of near-zero leakage.

It says, “Tokyo uses a lot of water, in fact, more than 1.5 billion m3 was distributed in 2013. The potential for leakage in a network with more than two million connections in one of the seismic hotbeds of the world is massive, yet water loss is only a little over 2%. The reason is that in the early 1980s, the water authority began a water loss reduction program to replace all the lead service piping in the network, first with Type 316L stainless steel straight pipe, and since 1998, with corrugated Type 316L stainless steel pipe.

“They also replaced the cast iron water mains with seismic-resistant ductile iron piping, reducing the vulnerability of the transmission infrastructure to earthquakes. The authority furthermore introduced a comprehensive leak detection and fast repair regime, using a variety of new technologies to detect and fix leaks very quickly, often before they become apparent. This increased vigilance, coupled with the replacement program, saw Tokyo’s lost water rate fall from 15.4% in 1980 to 2.2% in 2013.”

Here in South Africa, a water-scarce country, we are all encouraged to save water in our homes and businesses. However, old pipes, loose connections, damage from seismic activity or construction work, or ageing fittings all contribute to most of the water loss before it even gets to the consumer.

Corrugated stainless steel pipes have no need for the many fittings, bends and connectors that traditional straight pipe requires which automatically decreases the risk of leakage.

However, saving water is just one of the cost savings that this product offers. Fewer water pipe breakages mean less replacement and repair – costs which can add up to shocking figures for local municipalities. Lost revenue for water departments, as well as businesses all add to the argument for corrugated stainless-steel piping.

John Tarboton, SASSDA Executive Director comments, “With the price of stainless steel corrugated pipe now cost comparable with other metals such as copper; this type of piping provides a number of advantages when compared with ‘conventional’ pipes as they are lightweight, flexible, require fewer connections and fittings, are self-cleaning and are less susceptible to extreme temperature and corrosive environments.

“In addition, they have far lower lifecycle costs. For example, a higher range of stainless steel such as Grade 316 has an average lifecycle of 100 years as does one slightly below that, for example, Grade 304. It all depends on the correct grade being specified for the specific environment. For example, soils high in chlorides or sulphurous compounds would require 316, while in more benign corrosive environments, 304 is more than adequate.”

Available locally in South Africa, it’s clear that corrugated stainless steel pipes offer a cost-effective and robust long-term solution to our water issues.