The 2014 finals of AQUALIBRIUM is sponsored by Rand Water, the naming-rights sponsor, without which this competition would not have been possible! This worthwhile competition never fails to excite the teams, spectators and everybody involved!

The finals will be held:

Date: Friday 25 July 2014

Time: 09:30

Venue: Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Miriam Makeba Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

The interesting water distribution network competition started in 2003 when the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and Rand Water both turned one hundred years and decided to launch a joint water competition as part of their centenary celebrations. The success of the competition on a regional and national level has ensured its continuation.

It is worthy to note that AQUALIBRIUM as a project has once again been chosen as one of four finalists in the annual 2013/2014 BHP Billiton-National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Awards, the oldest and most prestigious in South Africa, which recognise, celebrate and reward excellence in science, engineering, technology and innovation. It was entered in the category where an individual or team is recognised for their outstanding contribution to SETI through science communication and through creating science awareness. The Awards event will take place on 3 July at Emperors Palace.

As for the finals of AQUALIBRIUM, the winning teams from SAICE branches across the country travel to Johannesburg to battle the local winners for top honours. For most this is a first experience of flying in an aeroplane and the ‘big city’. Without the valued naming-rights sponsorship of Rand Water, and other sponsors such as Marley Pipe Systems, the Water Research Commission (WRC), SMEC, the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), and DPI Plastics, this event would of course, be impossible to host.

Water distribution networks

Water distribution systems are important to supply safe and clean drinking water to people. The teams are tasked to design a model water distribution network to distribute three litres of water equally between three points on the grid using two different diameter pipes and connection pieces. They are then judged on how well they execute the task – working on a penalty points system. They have a period of about an hour in which to design, build and operate their network.

This competition exposes learners to the practical application of processes that influence their daily lives, which is how water gets to their homes. They are made aware of the intricacies involved in the design of water distribution networks and the actual water delivery to households.

As part of the competition the water cycle is explained to the learners. Issues such as why we have to pay for water, explaining the building of dams, distribution of water through water boards to municipalities and then to users, as well as the conservation of our water resources are discussed.

The grid used for the water distribution network is on a background that depicts the entire water cycle. It intrigues learners, as well as educators, who find it a very helpful educational tool. 

As a direct result of this competition there are presently three students studying civil engineering. These young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are determined to go MAD, i.e. Make A Difference in their communities.  We just have to continue with these kinds of projects in order to make a difference to the scarce skills situation and the lives of many people!

For more information or enquiries, please contact 

Marie Ashpole

Tel: 011 805 5947

Fax: 011 805 5971

Cell: 082 870 9229



Leave a Reply