New facility to avert Durban water crisis

2011-03-21 07:21

The Department of Water Affairs is to build a dam and expand water infrastructure in eThekwini to avert water shortage in Durban and its surrounding areas.

The water facility has been funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa for R250 million and European Investment Bank, the Agence Francaise de Developpement and Germany’s KfW for just under R2 billion.

Mzimkulu Msiwa, the chief executive of the area’s bulk water supplier Umgeni Water, said the investment came at a time when water supply to eThekwini had become “precarious” because of increasing demand.

The water agency would have had to impose restrictions were it not for good rainfall this rainy season, he said.

The investment will increase the yield capacity of the Umgeni river system – which supplies water to industry and five million people – to 394 cubic metres per year when when it is running full steam in 2014.

Water Affairs minister Edna Molewa said the project was in line with President Jacob Zuma’s instruction to her department to increase water supply in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

“This is a multi-year project which will have long-term effects for South Africa’s economic development and it will contribute a great deal to our New Economic Growth Path imperatives,” she said.

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