Project to ‘solve’ water crisis in the pipeline

2015-05-06 09:28

THE uMkhomazi Water Project, being hailed as the solution to providing adequate water supply for the Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, including Durban, is estimated to cost R18 billion.

The Department of Water Affairs said that once the project has been completed it will be the largest water transfer scheme in South Africa and will also assist with hydro power, slightly solving the current power grid.

Water services authority’s Mike Greatwood told the executive council that an environmental impact assessment is complete and the national minister of the water affairs department, Nomvula Mokonyane, will have to make a decision to go ahead with this project probably sometime this year.

“We are looking a large amount of money for this project - R18 billion. That is a lot of money. Construction will start in 2018 running through to 2023. The timelines are tight, but it can be done. We want the assurance of supply. We want to never resort to drastic water restrictions so this is a plan ahead and for many years to come. There is no dam on the Umkomazi River so this will be the first dam on the river.”

The name of the proposed dam, Smithfield Dam, which will be built along Umkomazi River, can be changed, Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said.

“Obviously council, as the major shareholder of the project, can enter into negotiations with the national minister of water affairs to change the name of the dam from Smithfield to another name,” he said

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