General

Mchunu implores KZN to work together to improve water security

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has implored the KwaZulu-Natal provincial and local government, Umgeni Water Board and the private sector to work together to ensure water security in the province.

Minister Mchunu was speaking during an event on recommissioning of aqueduct 1 and reservoir 3 at the Durban Heights’ Umgeni Water Treatment Works in the eThekwini Municipality.

Mchunu was joined by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government delegation led by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and the Umgeni Water delegation.

The engagement follows the meeting that took place in December last year, where a multi-disciplinary team were set up to deal with water services issues in the eThekwini Metro and the rest of the province.

“This will provide us with an opportunity to get an update on the progress made in activating some of the decisions taken during those meetings. A technical team was also set to conduct assessments on the needs of the city and will enable us to come up with a way forward on what needs an urgent priority,” said Mchunu.

On the recommissioned repaired infrastructure, the Minister expressed satisfaction towards Umgeni Water for completing the refurbishment of aqueduct 1 on time, which will now bring back up to 350 ml/d of potable water to the residents of Durban North and surroundings who have been experiencing intermittent water cuts since last year’s floods and the subsequent refurbishment.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Umgeni for a job well done, aqueduct 1 is fully repaired, and we are excited to be commissioning it.”

This means that 90 ml/d of raw water will now flow from the dam through to the reservoir.

“This is good news as it means the water supply will be restored. Now we are looking forward to the completion of Aqueduct 2 at the end of June as per your schedule so that it also increases the volume of the much-needed water to the communities,” Mchunu said.

The Minister has also urged the leaders to caution residents to refrain from building infrastructure on servitudes and riverbanks to prevent future tragedies experienced during the floods.

“What we witnessed in April last year was sheer horror, it is something that we do not want to see ever again in our lifetime. Therefore, we would like to urge you as leaders of these communities to engage with the residents to move away from building on top of pipes and near floodplains, as this will endanger their lives and also prevent us from carrying out our work of repairs effectively in cases like now,” Mchunu added.

Dube-Ncube expressed her appreciation to the teams that worked on the repairs led by Umgeni Water under the guidance of the Department of Water and Sanitation for working tirelessly to make this day a reality.

“We appeal to residents, industries, and businesses to play their part by paying for water provision so that we can maintain and expand our water infrastructure. Let us repair leaks in our homes and report those that need to be attended by the municipality, conserve and use water sparingly, understanding that water is a critical but scarce resource,” said Dube-Ncube.

The infrastructure was recently refurbished by Umgeni Water, as the implementing agent.

The aqueduct 1 and 2 were severely damaged by rock falls on six sites due to torrential rains that caused flooding and massive landslides.

In his closing remarks, Mchunu spoke about the Hazelmere Dam wall expansion project that is nearing its completion, the construction of Smithfield and Ngwadini dams in the upper uMkhomazi, as part of the bigger Umkhomazi Bulk Water Supply Scheme to further augment the current supply of water.

Source: South African Government News Agency