Progress on shaft pump failure at Durban Heights Water Works

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In an attempt to bring relief to consumers affected by water shortages caused by a pump failure at Umgeni Water’s Durban Heights Water Works, a number of interventions are underway.

The board of Umgeni Water has initiated various actions, some in conjunction with eThekwini Water and Sanitation, Umgeni said in a statement on Monday.

“This shaft pump conveys raw water to the Durban Heights Water Works. Its failure has resulted in reduced volumes of raw water reaching the plant and a decrease in potable water production.”

The full board of Umgeni Water has taken leadership in Umgeni Water’s efforts to minimise the impact of below-normal volumes of potable water that are being supplied to eThekwini Water and Sanitation from the Durban Heights Water Works since the malfunction of the shaft pump on November 11, Umgeni said.

“The board of Umgeni Water has already held a series of meetings to examine strategies that will strengthen the resolve of Umgeni Water’s operations division to augment raw water resources to the plant and, at the same time, strategically manage outflows so that the customers of eThekwini Water and Sanitation are able to receive some water daily,” the statement said.

The most recent meeting was held on Saturday night. “It was resolved at this meeting that in order to provide additional capacity and support to the operations division and strengthen its functionality, the current acting chief executive Sandile Bonga Dube, will return as executive of operations with immediate effect. Dube was executive of operations at the time of his secondment as acting chief executive.”

Umgeni believes Dube will give added impetus, through his leadership skills, to initiatives aimed at ensuring that maintenance, repair and refurbishment of ancillary infrastructure at the Durban Heights Water Works are carried out without further delay. “These actions, together with refurbishment of pump one, will restore Durban Heights Water Works to full operational capacity.”

Dube will be replaced by Mboniseni Dlamini, who is managing director of Umgeni Water subsidiary Msinsi Holdings SOC Ltd.

Dlamini has vast experience in the water sector, having previously worked at Umgeni Water as general manager of operations before joining Magalies Water as chief executive.

Dlamini will serve as acting executive of Umgeni Water until a permanent chief executive is appointed.

“The board also wishes to assure stakeholders that the process for filling vacant executive positions at Umgeni Water, that of chief executive, chief financial officer as well as company secretary, is expected to be finalised early in the new year.”

A visit to Durban Heights Water Works by members of the Capex Committee took place separately to inspect reservoir three and the aftermath of the failure of pump one.

“The board continues to be briefed on a regular basis about progress towards refurbishment of pump one, which was dismantled and taken to the workshop of the contractor appointed to conduct the work. The board is pleased that the contractor is on schedule to complete the work as per timelines given.”

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