Water challenges tackled north of Durban

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Itumeleng English /Independent Newspapers

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Itumeleng English /Independent Newspapers

Published May 13, 2024


In a bid to alleviate water disruptions in the north of Durban, eThekwini Municipality has appointed a contractor to commence with the R56 million upgrade of the Ogunjini Water Treatment Works.

The unveiling of the contractor took place on Sunday at Osindisweni Sports Ground near Verulam as part of a joint project led by Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu and eThekwini Municipality.

Areas north of Durban such as Verulam, Inanda, Amaoti, Ntuzuma and Phoenix have been plagued with water shortages for a long period; this prompted the Water and Sanitation Department to address the challenges.

Mchunu said the completion of upgrades will improve water supply to the area. “The area is currently experiencing supply shortages caused by the facility’s inability to sufficiently manage the growing demand from the community. Once this R56m project is complete, the treatment works will have a design capacity of 3 megalitres per day.”

Mchunu said the uMdloti River is one of the key areas supplying eThekwini Municipality. “The Ogunjini is presently a small waterworks, but it will be upgraded soon. Adjacent communities such as Osindisweni which is part of Verulam and ward 59 residents have been complaining directly to me about water.”

Mchunu said: “As the department we are chasing these projects. This will significantly reduce the pressure on the municipality in terms of supply.

“The completion of the upgrade of the waterworks will be sooner than it had been anticipated,” he said. “We initially said the beginning of next year but now we are hoping by the end of 2024.

eThekwini Municipality needs to keep the contractor under watch and make sure things progress as they should.

“As we promise communities that water will be coming, we can‘t keep letting them down and changing dates.

Overall, I am still concerned about the water situation but at least there is some progress,” said Mchunu.

“A number of projects are currently under way, including the upgrade of the Southern Aqueduct which will improve water supply in the southern areas. We have also increased the capacity of Hazelmere Dam which will alleviate water challenges.”

Roshan Lil-Ruthan, Verulam Water Crisis Committee spokesperson, said they had requested the minister to meet them during his visit on Sunday.

“Despite the community’s eagerness to engage with the minister and address the water crisis, it is deeply concerning that the minister failed to arrive at the scheduled meeting even after the attendees, had waited for over an hour.”

The Verulam Water Crisis Committee views this as a clear indication of the minister’s lack of commitment to addressing Verulam residents’ concerns, he said.

“It was reported to us that since Friday, uMngeni-uThukela has not supplied any water to the Northern Aqueduct. We wanted the minister to intervene.”

The Mercury