Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu has outlined multiple interventions being implemented in KwaZulu-Natal to improve water supply in the province.
Mchunu addressed members of the media this morning (03 October 2023) along with eThekwini Municipality Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Also present at the briefing were members of the newly formed Umngeni-Uthukela board, which came about after minister Mchunu dissolved the previous board due to a variety of issues.
Minister Mchunu said he was excited about the R23 billion Umkhomazi water project that’s currently in the works to increase water security to Umngeni, Ugu, Harry Gwala and Msunduzi Municipalities.
“We are pleased to announce that the R23 billion Umkhomazi Water Project has been resuscitated after being stalled for several years.”
“This project will increase water project will increase water security in the Umngeni water supply system, which supplies eThekwini, Umgungundlovu district, Ilembe district, Ugu district, Harry Gwala district and Msunduzi Municipality,” added Mchunu.
He urged the eThekwini Municipality to conduct the necessary consultations in order for the project to commence speedily.
“This means that now the ball is in eThekwini’s court t start consultations and complete them as soon as possible, so that the project can start without any further delays. These consultations will also enable the TCTA to start raising the 50% of the finance required for the project.”
Mchunu further stated additional interventions in place to increase water supply in KwaZulu-Natal. The minister says the Hazelmere dam wall has been raised which resulted in eThekwini having sufficient water.
The refurbishment of waste water infrastructure was also mentioned as a priority. Mchunu announced that 10 water treatment plants are on the list to be refurbished and stated that eThekwini Municipality has to sign a service level agreement to kick start the project.
Mayor Kaunda for his part assured the minister that the city was on course in implementing the inventions put forth by the Department of Water and Sanitation in collaboration with the city.
“We are already conducting section 33 of public consultations, and all stakeholders on the project that is envisaged. This process will take us up to November this year, then in December the council will approve and sign the agreement on the continuation of the project….So we are on course in terms of the plans that we have put in place as a city.”
Interestingly the mayor says that the tariffs implemented will assist in kick starting some of the projects that are in the pipeline. He says more that R2 billion has been invested in Northern and Western aqueducts to ensure that there are operational by the time the Umkhomazi Water Project is in force in order to provide sufficient water supply.