Ugu water team wins award

2011-09-14 00:00

UGU District Municipality’s project, the Umzimkulu off-channel storage dam, was awarded the title of technical excellence at the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAIEC) annual awards in Pietermaritzburg recently.

Ugu saw a need for the construction of the dam as the greater Port Shepstone area was often left without a water supply during the peak holiday season.

Not wanting to jeopardise the local economy and lose its seasonal influx of holidaymakers, Ugu realised that its waterworks must be able to draw from a gravity storage supply.

Water was previously pumped directly from the Umzimkulu River.

Any hiccup in the pumping meant that the town’s reservoirs immediately started to empty.

The off-channel storage dam project involved the skills of local contractors Multicrop Construction, professional team Aurecon Engineers and environmental consultants Environmental Solutions.

Multicrop Construction was awarded the contract to build the dam and install the interlinking pipes in 2009.

There are many reasons why the project won the award, but the main one is that Port Shepstone areas now have a reliable bulk water supply.

Environmental sensitivity exercised during the project, and the fact that local companies were used and unskilled local residents were emplyed, also lead to the winning of the award.

What’s more, the dam was built on time and within budget.

Numerous challenges lay in the way of the engineering and design of the dam, but they were soon overcome after investigations by skilled professionals.

Municipal manager Luvuyo Mahlaka said the municipality was humbled by the recognition accorded this key strategic project, which had been successfully accomplished through powerful partnerships between the council, the community and professional engineers and contractors to realise the municipality’s dream.

He added, “This is a key milestone in the accomplishment of our integrated development plan to grow our infrastructure and economy.”

Mahlaka said that in order to serve the public better, it is important to create a stable water supply within the bulk infrastructure, and the dam will go a long way to achieve this goal.

“The engineering excellence award shows that we have set ourselves high goals as per our vision and mission statement for total quality management and this project will complement many other initiatives we are doing to improve the water supply and quality today and for the future,” Mahlaka added.

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