Ageing infrastructure, poor maintenance and and salinity issues are plaguing the delivery of bulk water on the KZN South Coast.
Ageing infrastructure, poor maintenance and and salinity issues are plaguing the delivery of bulk water on the KZN South Coast.

South Coast water disruption threatens tourism

By Tanya Waterworth, Duncan Guy Time of article published Sep 19, 2020

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Durban - Highlighting KwaZulu-Natal South Coast’s tourism industry as a hot spot under threat because of taps running dry, the DA yesterday called on the president to create a tourism and infrastructure inter-ministerial task team.

South Coast residents vented their frustration on social media platforms about constant water disruptions along the lower South Coast during lockdown.

Yesterday, Ugu Municipality said the water supply was stable, but DA constituency head for the Ugu District and KZN MPL Dr Rishigen Viranna said the stability of the water supply constantly fluctuated.

“We could have water in the morning, but that can change within hours,” said Viranna, adding that unless the water supply issue was tackled, it would add to the already severe damage caused to the tourism economy by the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said that the primary challenges were “an ageing infrastructure, a chronic lack of maintenance and poor capacity within the municipality” to manage bulk water, and salt water seeping into the water supply. The DA had previously requested that Ugu Municipality be placed under administration.

“The South Coast is dependent on tourism and in the past couple of years, we have run out of water in December and July and, as a result, the number of tourists has dropped.

“Between 30 000 to 50 000 jobs have been lost directly and indirectly from 2018 and with Covid, this will be worse.

“Tourism is the biggest job driver and we need a task team to focus on water delivery.

“Tourism and business cannot plan with water disruptions and it ends in job losses,” said Viranna.

Responding to a request for comment on water delivery problems, spokesperson for Ugu Municipality, France Zama, said: “Our water systems in the district are currently stable.”

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) DA member Tim Brauteseth said the party called on President

Cyril Ramaphosa to form “an inter-ministerial task team of concerned ministers to urgently formulate and implement interventions that will fix basic infrastructure in local government and allow tourism to play a vital role in the country’s economic recovery”.

He said the KwaZulu-Natal tourism industry could provide much-needed employment post-Covid, adding “the tourism mecca of the lower South Coast of KZN has become completely dysfunctional with continuous water and electricity woes.

“The simple truth is that tourists, whether domestic or international, will simply not spend their cash in areas that have a record of unstable water and electricity supply.

“Hundreds of tourism establishments are closing and thousands

are losing their jobs due to the massive failure of local government to create an environment that they need to operate.”

The national spokesperson for the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, said it was working to find long-term solutions for the South Coast.

He added that the department was on course in the implementation of bulk water projects to ensure water supply in KwaZulu-Natal.

This included the implementation of the Greytown Bulk Water Supply which is set to supply emergency water relief and long term water supply to Greytown and Enhlalakahle.

The Greytown Bulk Water Supply is one of the department’s Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant projects and Ratau said: “We are committing to be as transparent as possible with work that is being done on the ground.

“This as we are working to ensure water supply, especially in communities still experiencing the negative impact of drought.”

Another bulk water project currently under way is the Driefontein Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme to increase potable bulk water supply in the uThukela District Municipality (Ladysmith).

The project aims to supply potable water to more than 200 000 residents in two local municipalities which fall under uThukela.

The Independent on Saturday

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