KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has assured the community of Ugu District Municipality of improvement of water supply in the area.
The Premier made the commitment on Tuesday during an Imbizo in Port Shepstone.
The Premier’s Imbizo comes after a working session led by Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu, and District Executive Mayor Phumlile Mthiyane last week.
The main purpose of the meeting was to come up with solutions to address water supply challenges in the district.
During the imbizo, Zikalala identified the issues which are the main causes of lack of water supply in the District.
Issues raised include ageing infrastructure which has been neglected by the municipality in both rural and urban areas.
“Infrastructure is strained due to the demands of a growing population in the district. Illegal connections to water infrastructure and vandalism of Infrastructure were also identified as challenges, particularly at the Bhobhoyi Treatment Scheme,” said the Department of Water and Sanitation in a statement.
During his meeting with the Minister, Zikalala presented a turnaround plan to address water challenges in the area.
It was agreed by the Premier and the Minister that the municipality should reprioritise funds and these should be channelled to one crucial thing, which is the provision of water.
The Premier outlined several short-, medium- and long-term water projects. The major Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) projects that will be implemented by Umgeni Water are as follows:
The Lower uMkhomazi Bulk Water Supply Scheme (LUBWSS) project needs to be fast tracked and prioritised. It includes an off-channel storage dam, namely Ngwadini dam, and Water Treatment Works (WTW). This project is in design phase by Umgeni Water. It will feed the upper and middle coastal regions of Ugu with bulk water.
The above project is required as the source of raw water required to impact on the further upgrade of the St. Helen’s Rock abstraction system and the uMzimkhulu-Bhobhoyi WTW to meet the future water demands.
South Coast Pipeline Extension Phase 2b Kelso to Malangeni/Umdoni augmentation via Pennington Sezela Link. The construction of the South Coast Phase 2b pipelines will alleviate the pressure on the Umzinto and the Mtwalume WTWs and supply systems by supplying potable water directly to communities within the Umdoni Municipality.
South Coast Pipeline Extension Phase 3, Umdoni to Mtwalume/Hibberdene LUBWSS as the main source of supply to replace reliance on run off river abstraction and associated constraints. This project will provide water to both the Umdoni and Umzumbe LMs and is planned to supplement the potable water supply produced by the Mtwalume WTW and provide potable water access in Bazley, Elysium and Ifafa.
The department said the drilling of boreholes, particularly in Umzumbe and Umdoni areas, will assist to augment water supply in those areas because the capacity of the municipality is not enough.
In the meantime, water tankering services are also active within communities to augment water supply.
The Premier assured the community of Ugu District Municipality that the provincial government, together with the Department of Water and Sanitation, is working to bring a change in water supply in the district.
“We are mindful of the water challenges in this area and I would like to assure you that we are not here only to talk but there is work currently underway to address water supply issues. Water is life and a home cannot have dignity if there is no water.
“I am also appealing to the business sector to join us as we tackle the water challenges in Ugu district. Let us all work together to bring solutions to the problem of water supply challenges in the district,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala also appealed to provincial government departments, businesses, and the community to pay for the services rendered by the municipality so that the challenges in the district can be resolved with sufficient revenue collection assisting.