Promises of water supply to rural KZN communities

Verulam and surrounding suburbs gathered at the Mt View Civic Center to get feedback on the water crises facing the area. Picture: Roshan Lil-Ruthan

Verulam and surrounding suburbs gathered at the Mt View Civic Center to get feedback on the water crises facing the area. Picture: Roshan Lil-Ruthan

Published May 20, 2024


Durban — With the May 29 elections around the corner, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is promising approximately 250 000 households in rural KwaZulu-Natal drinkable water.

Minister Senzo Mchunu said households in the Ulundi Local Municipality and uMzinyathi District municipalities in Zululand will benefit from the Babanango/Inhlengile spring water project.

Mchunu said DSW was in the process of transforming water spewing from a natural spring in Inhlengile, Babanango, into quality drinkable water by the end of July 2024.

Mchunu said that from the water treatment works and the packing plant, purified water would be transferred by a 6km pipeline to a 500-kilolitre water storage tank, which will supply freshwater to the communities.

Part of the work includes the construction of a water treatment works and a packaging plant that will purify the spring water to be able to provide a clean drinking water supply that complies with SA National Standards (Sans) 241.

Mchunu stated that the community of Inhlengile, under Inkosi Mahlobo Ntombela, discovered the water springs that were always gushing water and developed a makeshift infrastructure that was assisting in augmenting water to their area.

Ntombela requested the intervention of the DWS, which then conducted scientific tests on the spring water. Mchunu said tests revealed that the spring water contained elements that were not suitable for human consumption.

The DWS then appointed uMngeni-uThukela Water as the implementing agent to upgrade the spring water project, initiated by the community, and a contractor was appointed.

“The Babanango/Inhlengile water project is 70% complete and will produce about 0.5 megalitres of purified water from the spring,” Mchunu said.

Mchunu said the water resource project was more sustainable in that it would be more reliable than water supply by means of water tankers as well as from the boreholes.

Meanwhile, Verulam, north of Durban, has been without water supply to their taps for 356 days. On Saturday, the Verulam water crisis committee held yet another meeting to find a way forward. Committee spokesperson Roshan Lil-Ruthan said the purpose of the meeting was to address the ongoing water crisis in Verulam and make critical decisions on how to resolve this pressing issue.

“Desperate communities from Verulam and surrounding suburbs gathered to get feedback on the continuous human rights violations against them. We are 356 days without water. While we are desperate, government leadership allegedly gives an instruction to fill up the Verulam swimming pool with 10 tankers, while we have not had a drop of water in our homes. All calls for assistance and answers have been ignored. Whoever says that there is no water, is a liar. This is manipulation. This is punishment. This is a water crime,” he said.

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