New dam to boost water security for PMB and Durban

2010-10-21 00:00

THE developers of Spring Grove Dam, to be located near Mooi River in the midlands, have called for tenders for the construction of the dam.

The dam will help to improve the security of water supply to the Msunduzi, uMgungundlovu and eThekwini regions.

So says Umgeni Water CEO Mzimkulu Msiwa, who told The Witness yesterday that the dam — which is expected to be operational by 2013 — will have implications for water tariffs applicable to municipalities and ultimately, consumers.

He said the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), the developer of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and Berg River Dam, will develop the dam.

Msiwa was speaking in Durban at the presentation of Umgeni Water’s annual report for 2009/2010.

It is understood that the project will be funded by the user-pay principle, through a special levy on the price of water.

Msiwa said this means that municipalities could eventually face a 14% tariff hike (an increase of 46 cents per cubic metre), adding that municipal affordability is an issue that needs to be managed properly.

Raising the issue of sustainable water pricing, Msiwa said the government needs to ramp up its grant funding to increase the supply of water to indigent communities.

The Spring Grove project will form part of phase two of the Mooi-Mgeni transfer scheme.

Msiwa said that the aim is to transfer water from the Mooi River to the Umgeni system to improve supply security to areas such as Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

The TCTA has been appointed by the Department of Water Affairs to develop the dam.

It is understood that the TCTA has budgeted about R1,6 billion for the project.

Msiwa said Spring Grove will have a capacity of about 60 million cubic metres — about a quarter of that of Midmar Dam.

“It’s a relatively small dam and our consumption [in the Msunduzi-eThekwini corridor] is very high, at 425 million cubic metres per annum. We’re draining Midmar Dam more and more every year.

“However, Spring Grove will assist in creating some assurance of water supply to the Msunduzi and eThekwini corridor, which is critically important.

It is also important from an economic growth perspective in KZN.”

Msiwa added that speedy planning and implementation of the Spring Grove Dam are being pursued.

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