Water supply scheme on track

2016-05-18 06:00
Photo: Makhosandile ZuluRepresentatives from the various role players involved in the project which are the Department of Water Affairs, Umgeni Water, Aurecon, Bigen Africa/MSA, Henwood & Nxumalo, NM Environmental, Stefanutti Stocks, Group Five Coastal, Veolia Water, Esor and Consolidated Power Projects (CONCO). From left: Shami Harichunder, Suhayl Rawhanio, Julius Katzke, Willie Marias, Nonkululeko Chiliza, Krish Govender, Mbalenhle Mahaye and Fiona Ellis.

Photo: Makhosandile ZuluRepresentatives from the various role players involved in the project which are the Department of Water Affairs, Umgeni Water, Aurecon, Bigen Africa/MSA, Henwood & Nxumalo, NM Environmental, Stefanutti Stocks, Group Five Coastal, Veolia Water, Esor and Consolidated Power Projects (CONCO). From left: Shami Harichunder, Suhayl Rawhanio, Julius Katzke, Willie Marias, Nonkululeko Chiliza, Krish Govender, Mbalenhle Mahaye and Fiona Ellis.

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MEMBERS of the media were invited to a tour of the Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme last Thursday to view and report on the progress that has been made on the project.

Once complete, the project will have a water treatment works providing 55 mega-litres (Ml) of water per day, a weir abstraction works, a rising main reservoir and 30km of gravity pipeline.

The scheme was deemed necessary to ensure the iLembe District Municipality met its increasing supply demands brought on by the growth of the district.

The Department of Water and Sanitation found that the scheme would be less costly, would have the least impact on the environment and would be the quickest to implement out of two options that had been identified.

Phase One of the project will supply 55 Ml of water per day to all the areas between Tugela Village and Groutville. Phase Two of the project will supply water to Mandeni and Ballito. However, this will not be implemented as yet because the recently upgraded Sundumbili Waterworks has sufficient capacity for the next 10 years providing 10 Ml of water per day.

The project is funded by the Department of Water and Sanitation and Umgeni Water with the latter being the implementing agent.

Work on the scheme has undergone substantial delays, but more than half of the plant is expected to be commissioned by mid June 2016 and the entire project should be completed by mid September 2016.

Locals benefit from the construction of the scheme through the jobs created, among other things, and will benefit through long term security of water supply.

Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said the total budget for the scheme is an estimated R1.4 billion making it one of the largest projects of its kind in the province.

He said roughly 340 000 people stand to be served by the scheme.

With regards to the drought, he said he hopes experts are correct that by the end of this year normal rainfall will be received.

He said no rainfall was received in the inland catchment area during the rains of the weekend of 7 May meaning areas within iLembe did not benefit and are still severely affected by the drought.

Harichunder said the scheme is not labour intensive, estimating that 15 people will be employed on the scheme once it is complete.

“The scheme was not intended to be labour intensive in the first place. We will employ some local people, but also highly skilled operators will be required,” he said.

He said a meeting has been held with locals to clarify that the main purpose of the scheme is to supply water.

Project manager Krish Govender said: “Due to the severe drought conditions at the moment we have actually earmarked this as a drought relief project currently in order to take water all the way up to Ballito as opposed to KwaDukuza which was initially planned.”

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