Durban may face a water crisis

2014-03-07 14:47

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Cape Town – Durban may be left with a water crisis in the next 10 years unless the city takes drastic action, even pursuing the “toilet to tap” proposal says Neil Macleod a sanitation chief.

The Toilet to Tap initiative basically means that sewage water will be purified through sophisticated treatments that would make the water drinkable.

The proposal to go ahead with the Toilet to Tap initiative was halted in its infancy due to a petition by 13 000 objectors, many of whom were Islamic residents according to the Mercury.

Macleod has called for a new paper that will extensively examine the objections made on religious grounds to re-use sewage water.

This study could then be used to lead and drive sewage purification.


Despite the completion of the new Mooi River Spring Grove dam Durban is still facing a water crisis says Macleod. Tough decisions need to be made to avert shortages of water in the future.

The Grove dam should be fill and ready for consumption within months but the growing capacity for water means that within two years the dam will not be able to fulfill the needs required for clean drinking water.

Water restrictions would be expected especially if the province had poor rain within that year.

A feasibility study that is still underway also suggests that a new dam near the uMkhomazi River (once given the green light) would only be able to supply water to residents in 2030.

Other proposals that have been suggested are desalination plants, but constructing these sites would cost double the current Umgeni Water tariff.

The department of water affairs has called for a study to discuss the conditions of Durban’s rivers, especially to determine the effect of growing sewage on the rivers.

It is possible that municipalities can release more semi-sewage into specific rivers but this has been averted as there is concern that there would be harsh and unacceptable environmental pollution.

Any plan that will be proposed has to include a solution for water supply and an effective solution for disposal of sewage effluent.

In order for expansion initiatives to continue major decisions need to be made within the next year to avert a water supply crisis.

Macleod made these recommendations to the city’s human settlements and infrastructure committee.

Read more on:    durban  |  water

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