Eskom paid R14m, but no power upgrade for Ugu yet
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DURBAN - DESPITE making a R14 million payment to Eskom, the Ugu District Municipality’s power infrastructure upgrade that would increase water supply at the Umtamvuna Water Treatment Works, was still stalling.
Ugu spokesperson France Zama said Umtamvuna was one of their major plants with power upgrades still pending despite the payment made.
“And this has an adverse effect on water supply to thousands of households and businesses under the Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality,” he said.
In February, the Daily News reported that the upgrade of electricity supply to the Umtamvuna Water Treatment Works from the Eastern Cape would bring relief to the coastal villages of Port Edward, Leisure Bay, Glenmore, Munster, Palm Beach, Trafalgar, Marina Beach and Southbroom, as well as a vast area inland of these villages in the Ingonyama Trust. At the time the municipality said progress would have been made by April 2021.
“Our water systems are highly reliant on Eskom power supply to function effectively. The recent blackouts have increased a risk of constant disruption of water supply in most areas across the district,” Zama said.
Water tankers were bringing water relief to highly affected areas, he said.
“We are also implementing borehole water projects in most areas across the district as an alternative source of water supply while we explore other forms of power supply.”
On Friday, Eskom had requested an extension before responding to the Daily News queries and had not responded by the time of publication.
“We are also falling behind schedule with upgrades in other areas due to Eskom delays. Despite having paid about R14 million to Eskom for the upgrade of the Umtamvuna power station, this process is still stalling.”
Zama said only a few plants were not affected – those that had alternative power supply through generators, but this was not sustainable. “This is due to the high escalation of operating costs, hence most of our major plants in the district are on Eskom power.”
There was currently a high risk of water supply interruptions in most areas, he said. The municipality would continue monitoring its systems to minimise the impact.
Meanwhile, Umgeni Water said it was awaiting a response from the eThekwini Municipality electricity department for the exclusion of the Wiggins pump station from load shedding. Spokesperson Shami Harichunder said while they awaited a response, it would be beyond the powers of Umgeni Water if the water supply was disrupted in the northern parts of Durban.
The transfer of water occurred when the power supply was restored, he said, while during power outages and, if required, augmentation from the Durban Heights Water Works occurred. “However, power supply interruptions continue to affect the pumping of raw water for treatment at some water treatment plants.”
Affected systems on the South Coast were at Umzinto, Mtwalume and Mhlabatshane. “Production of potable water decreases by between 40% and 50% during load shedding. This means that the full demand of municipalities cannot be met.” Harichunder said the Durban Heights Water Works in Reservoir Hills and Inanda Dam had already been exempt from load shedding as was Howick’s Midmar pump station.