Keeping water flowing

2013-09-10 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality has allocated an additional R580 million over the next three years to accelerate construction of the Western Aqueduct (WA) bulk water pipeline.

The aim is to provide Durban with a sustainable supply of water. This is particularly critical if development of the key northern coastal corridor is to continue.

There have already been incidents of water shortages in Ballito. Other critical infrastructure projects such as the Dube Tradeport and Cornubia are being held back by a lack of water.

Neil Macleod, head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS), said the construction of the second phase of the western aqueduct was well under way, even though it had initially been dogged by delays.

Cycad Pipelines, which was awarded the first contract for the seven-kilometre stretch between Inchanga station and Alverstone Nek in March, had cleared some of the pipeline corridors and begun to excavate trenches near Inchanga station.

Project manager Martin Bright said that the second contract, for the segment of the pipeline that begins at Alverstone Nek and continues to Ashley Drive in Hillcrest, had been awarded to local company WK SA Construction last week.

Construction was expected to begin within the next month.

An additional contract along the 55 km pipeline route, which stretches from Inchanga station to Ntuzuma, was expected to be awarded shortly.

“This means that the full length of the main spine of the western aqueduct will be under construction by next year,” said Macleod in a statement.

The western aqueduct project has been designed and is being monitored by the Knight Piesold/Naidu Consulting/Royal Haskoning DHV Joint Venture.

The first phase of the western aqueduct, which covered 19 km from Umlaas Road to Inchanga station, was commissioned in June 2011.

The second phase of Durban’s largest ever water pipeline project has been dogged by delays. As a result, at the beginning of 2013, EWS decided to unbundle the mega project into individual contracts that could be rolled out over a seven-year period.

The release of additional funds would accelerate this, allowing the pipeline to be completed as early as 2017.

Bright said the additional funding had enabled EWS to link the next two contracts together so that the pipeline reaching from Ashley Drive to the NR5 reservoir at Ntuzuma, could be completed in one.

The tender for this contract as well as one for a 20-megalitre break pressure tank at Ashley Drive, were expected to be awarded during the last quarter of 2013.

Macleod said this infrastructure was critical for the further development of Durban to the west or the north-west.

The second phase of the western aqueduct is expected to significantly strengthen the capacity of bulk water supply to the western regions of eThekwini, injecting up to 400Mâ„“/day.

It will also feed into the northern aqueduct to take water to the north. This was expected to get under way at the start of next year.

“We have enough water to meet the current demand, but we don’t have the infrastructure to deliver it to where it is needed. We don’t have the network capacity to supply water,” he said.

Currently, water outages in areas such as Ntuzuma and Inanda were common, and EWS would be purchasing an additional 30 tankers to ferry water to these areas, Macleod said.

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