Durban - The Umgeni Water infrastructure, which was damaged in the April and May floods, is estimated to cost about R850 million to repair, with the first phase expected to be completed just before Christmas.
The water utility said the money would come from its current year’s budget which it would then claim from insurance.
Two of the four pipelines that convey raw water from Nagle Dam to the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant (WTP) remain decommissioned after they were damaged in rock falls in Inanda. The damage has left Umgeni Water unable to obtain the required amount of raw water for treatment and supply as potable water to eThekwini Municipality.
This has led the city to implement a water-rationing schedule for large parts of the city this week. The rationing schedule is expected to remain in place for 10 to 12 months.
Umgeni said a contractor had been appointed to repair and refurbish aqueduct (pipeline) 1 and 2.
Umgeni Water Board chairperson Gabsie Mathenjwa said to mitigate the dire supply situation, they began using a stand-by shaft pump at Durban Heights WTP last week which will increase supply to eThekwini Metro.
Speaking on the water rationing, Mathenjwa said: “I am aware that water rationing implemented in Durban from Monday this week has been attributed to reduced volumes being supplied by Umgeni Water. Umgeni Water has consistently stated its position upfront
that it is operating in an environment of business unusual due to the consequences of flood damage.”
Apart from flood-related damage, Umgeni said it was in a process of repairing floor waterproofing on reservoir 3 at the Durban Heights WTP. This had been delayed by a legal dispute over the decision to award the contract to a particular company.
Mathenjwa said a losing bidder went to court in November 2021, and that held up essential repairs for almost seven months, however, the legal matter had been resolved.
Repairs on reservoir 3 were expected to be completed in four months and costs were expected to reach R51m.
Mathenjwa added that once reservoir 3 was up and running, it would increase water supply.
The repairs to aqueduct 1 would run in conjunction with the repairs to reservoir 3 and completion was expected by December.
The next phase of repairs, on aqueduct 2, was set to be completed at the end of June 2023.