Surplus for Umgeni

2013-10-25 00:00

UMGENI Water remained in a sound financial position in the 2012-13 year after reporting a R583 million surplus, and completing three major projects.

The bulk water supply utility supplies water to local authorities, servicing some six million people from the Thukela River in the north of KwaZulu-Natal to the Mtamvuna River in the south, the Indian Ocean in the east and the Drakensberg Mountains in the West.

Board member Thabani Zulu said yesterday that the utility spent R643 million on water projects in the year, R308 million of which went to projects that will contribute towards rural development.

The three projects completed are the R171 million Maphumulo Bulk Water Supply Scheme Phase 1 rural development project in iLembe District, the R76 million South Coast booster pump station and the R66 million Hazelmere to Bifurcation pipeline to increase the water supply to Ballito and surrounding areas. Business people in fast growing iLembe District have in the past complained that a lack of water has slowed development.

Zulu said the financial surplus would be used to repay debt, maintain affordable potable water tariffs and fund investment in infrastructure to assist municipalities and eliminate backlogs.

Umgeni Water chief executive Cyril Gamede said there had been “no undesirable water quality incidents” during the year. He said more than R150 million was spent on maintenance and renewal projects.

During the 2012-13 financial year, six new projects were started that have a total capital cost of R3 billion.

Gamede said water resource planning included more small dams, waste water facilities, desalienation on the East Coast, construction of large dams and river abstraction.

He said Umgeni relies on the international markets to fund its capital expenditure programme, so it was essential that the utility was soundly administered.

Some 49% of Umgeni Water’s total capital expenditure programme over the next five years will be spent on projects to support rural sustainability. The utility says it allocates at least 30% of the total value of each project to targeted black-owned businesses and co-operatives.

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