Greytown pipeline pipe dream

2016-05-03 09:39
With KZN in the midst of a crippling drought a water project outside Greytown that could feed water from Craigieburn dam to the town appears to be at a standstill with hundreds of water pipes gathering dust on the side of the R622.

With KZN in the midst of a crippling drought a water project outside Greytown that could feed water from Craigieburn dam to the town appears to be at a standstill with hundreds of water pipes gathering dust on the side of the R622. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The deadline for the Greytown pipeline that will see much needed water being pumped from Craigieburn dam has been pushed to July next year — three years later than originally planned.

When operational, the pipeline is ­expected to pipe water from the ­Craigieburn dam, halfway towards Mooi River, and it is expected to give the town, with an anticipated growth of three ­percent per annum, water security for at least the next 40 years.

In the meantime The Witness has been told that Greytown’s boreholes, which are the main source of water for the town, are “dropping dramatically”.

This presents a whole new set of ­challenges to the bustling town’s frustrated inhabitants who survive on boreholes and water brought in by tankers.

A source, who requested anonymity, said it was essential that the pipeline is finished as soon as possible in order to save the town.

An article by The Witness in ­November reported that “the completion time frame has moved repeatedly from March 2014 and even on its adjusted timeline, which anticipated the project be completed by May 2016, will not be met, with authorities believing September is the most likely date”.

Last month, The Witness travelled to Greytown and came across kilometres of abandoned, half-dug trenches, ­hundreds of pipes lying out in the open and an abandoned, unfinished reservoir, with muddied plans strewn across an abandoned work station.

In 2008, the Umzinyathi District started a project that would see 36 km of pipeline run from Craigieburn dam to Greytown due to the limited supply of water from Lake Merthley.

While the building and work for the project was supposed to have started in 2008, landowner meetings were ­reportedly only held in 2014 with water licences allegedly being signed in 2014.

The project finally got off the ground in early 2015 but a local source, who would not be named, said inspections conducted on the line last year presented a number of issues.

“Incomplete sections on the line, no air valves, trenches left open for ­unacceptably lengthy periods and ­bedding material washed away” could lead to double the money having to be spent on the project, said the source.

“The fact that we have been told that the completion of the project is near, is misleading.

“From almost R290 million in 2008 funding has almost doubled to close to R500 million in 2014/2015.

“It would appear that the project is only at 30% of its installation, which has taken over 12 months. Based on this, the project is going to take another two years until it is complete,” said the source.

However, Water and Sanitation Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said, although the project had been delayed, orders to accelerate the scheme had been given to the contractors.

“Three contractors are only working at specific spots along the 36 km route, which gives the false impression that the contractors have abandoned the sites yet in effect the work is on-going. The total cost of the project is ­expected to be R500 million. To date ­approximately R220 million has been spent.”

He said Umzinyathi Municipality had undertaken to expedite the construction by holding fortnightly meetings on site to monitor progress.

The department will also be assisting in monitoring this programme.

“The project is currently 48% ­complete. All pipes will be buried by ­December 2016 and water delivery to Greytown will start in July 2017.”

uMzinyathi District Municipality deputy municipal manager Thami ­Malunga said the first phase of the project was complete, which involved ­remedial work on the water pipeline from Lake Merthley and minor upgrades to the Greytown water treatment facility to stabilise a supply of water to Greytown and immediate surrounds.

“Phase two is partly completed and this involves some upgrades and ­improvements within Greytown,” said Malunga.

“The municipality is confident that with closer engagement with the ­contractors work can be accelerated.

“Progress has been affected due to the recent rains, however as little or no rain is expected in winter construction work is expected to be accelerated.”


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

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