eThekwini allocates R30m to upgrade damaged water pump station

A total of R35 million has been allocated towards the upgrading of an entire pump station, which was destroyed by a fire in Ntuzuma, north of Durban. The Ntuzuma Reservoir 2 pump station was destroyed by a fire in April last year and resulted in additional strain on the already challenged infrastructure. This was revealed in a joint statement issued following a multi-stakeholder technical team meeting to resolve eThekwini Metro water challenges. The stakeholders acknowledged that the Ntuzuma water supply system has been experiencing challenges as a result of the damage to the pump station, with the station currently operating at 50% capacity. 'The project [upgrade] will commence in March this year and is planned to be completed by the 2025/26 financial year. This project will start improving water supply to Inanda, Lindelani and KwaMashu by July 2024,' the statement said. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) Director-General, Dr Sean Philips, attended a multi-stakeholder technical meeting, held between the department, eThekwini Metro and uMngeni-uThukela Water to resolve the current water challenges in eThekwini. This follows a directive by Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, that the eThekwini Metro, working with uMngeni-uThukela Water, should urgently come up with long lasting interventions in response to ongoing water and sanitation services in the municipality. The team noted that water demand in eThekwini has grown rapidly, mostly due to population growth and partly due to increasing leaks in the municipality's water distribution systems. 'The planners in DWS anticipated this growth in demand and put in place plans to transfer water from the uMkhomazi River to augment uMngeni Water Supply System (uMWS), through the Umkhomazi Water Project, as well as a project to raise the wall of the Hazelmere Dam,' the statement read. The team also noted the raising of the Hazelmere Dam wall, which was completed in 2023 and has doubled the amount of water that can be stored in the Dam at a cost o f R820 million. To enable additional stored water to be treated, the team said, Umgeni-uThukela has completed a project to increase the capacity of the Hazelmere Water Treatment Works from 55 to 75 ML (megalitres) per day, at a cost of R135 million. 'Umgeni-uThukela will further increase the capacity of the treatment works to 90 ML per day within the next three years, at a cost of R25 million,' the statement read. The meeting also emphasised that eThekwini water challenges must be addressed by the municipality by decreasing non-revenue water collection in its water distribution system, and water users using water more sparingly to reduce the average consumption of water per capita per day. The No Drop audit report, which was released by DWS in December 2023, found that the water user in eThekwini was 298 litres per capita per day (l/c/d), compared to the international average of 173 l/c/d. Non-revenue water also increased from 37% in 2013 to 58% in 2023. Some of the municipality measures currently being implemented to increase the supply of water, include groundwater, water re-use and desalination, amongst others. The municipality is also implementing a range of interventions to drastically reduce its non-revenue water, including the implementation of a pipeline replacement programme, with a number of projects under the programme being in the final phases of procurement. According to the statement, the programme is scheduled to commence by the end of March 2024, and will continue for the foreseeable future. 'The municipality is implementing projects to replace parts of its old infrastructure on which high levels of water losses are being experienced, including replacing pumping mains on major water distribution systems such as Tongaat, Waterloo, Grange and Hazelmere water distribution systems. 'The municipality has budgeted approximately R1 billion per annum for these projects, which will continue every year for the foreseeable future. Some of these projects started in the 2022/23 municipal financial yea r and are being funded from the infrastructure levy which was recently introduced by the municipality,' the statement said. The municipality has also constructed 12 new reservoirs in the past two years to the value of R500 million to enhance water supply and implemented an active leak detection and repair programme. 'Procurement processes for a performance-based contract to detect and repair leaks are currently being concluded and it is envisaged that the contract will commence at the beginning of April 2024. This contract will be funded from the savings resulting from reducing leaks. 'The municipality is implementing a pressure management programme through installing 108 pressure management valves, in addition to the 3000 that already exist. The purpose of this programme is to reduce water pressures in water distribution systems which reduces the frequency of pipe bursts and extends the useful life of the infrastructure,' the statement highlighted. In addition, the procurement process for pressure manage ment valves has been finalised and installation of the valves is expected to commence in March 2024. Source: South African Government News Agency