Aerial view of the Mpophomeni Water Treatment plant in Howick. Picture supplied.
Aerial view of the Mpophomeni Water Treatment plant in Howick. Picture supplied.

Multimillion rand Mpophomeni and N3 Hilton corridor wastewater projects set to be completed next year

By Xolile Bhengu Time of article published Oct 7, 2021

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DURBAN - The Mpophomeni and N3 Hilton corridor wastewater projects, which are expected to cost over R330 million, are set to be completed by the second quarter of 2022.

In a briefing with the media yesterday, the uMgungundlovu Municipality and Umgeni Water conceded that there had been inadequate capacity for water treatment in the area and they hoped these projects would help tackle the problem.

Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said the two intervention projects followed significant effluent spills in 2019 into Midmar Dam from the Mpophomeni pump station.

Harichunder said the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the South African Human Rights Commission were contacted by water sports participants regarding the spills and, in turn, they requested action plans from Umgeni Water and the uMgungundlovu District Municipality.

“Once completed, they (the projects) will increase sewage treatment, resulting in potential for greater commercial development activity.”

Umgeni Water executive for infrastructure development Sibusiso Mjwara said the completion of both projects had been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent unrest.

Mjwara said of the budgeted R275m for the Mpophomeni project, R105m had already been spent and the N3 Hilton’s two-phase project was at an advanced stage and had a collective cost of over R58m.

He added that there were plans to also upgrade the Vulindlela bulk water supply system, with a budget of R500m set aside, which would be completed by 2024.

“We are continually making plans with the uMgungundlovu District and Msunduzi Local Municipality to respond to the demands for water and sewage and sanitation facilities as people move closer to the areas in search for employment,” said Mjwara.

Bheki Mbambo, previously the department head for technical services for uMgungundlovu Municipality and now Umgeni Water project leader for bulk infrastructure, said the biggest threat for the municipality for expansion of water and ablution facilities maintenance was to inculcate a culture of payment for services in communities.

Mbambo said although he was encouraged by progress made by uMgungundlovu regarding revenue collection as well as non-revenue water management, there was still room for improvement.

He said it was concerning that between 2018/19 there was a R5 billion non-revenue water amount in KZN and that was detrimental to the survival of all municipalities.

He said illegal connections and unbilled customers further strained the existing water infrastructure resulting in demand for water being greater than the supply.

He added that Umgeni Water received a ministerial directive to implement the Umkomaas Project at a cost of an estimated R30 billion, which will supply in excess of 625 mega litres per day to supplement the water shortages shortfall.

“The delay in the implementation of the projects is the final signing of agreements with affected municipalities. We need buy-in from local leadership to support a revenue collection culture.”


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