The Nooitgedacht Low Level water scheme in Port Elizabeth PHOTO: ANA file

Port Elizabeth - The Nooitgedagt Water Treatment Works Phase 3 budget has been restored to R93 million by the National Department of Water and Sanitation, bringing the project back to life, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Athol Trollip said in a statement on Thursday. 

Work on phase three stopped last week when a health and safety contractor was not paid. 

The Department of Water and Sanitation slashed the budget by R34 million, which would have amounted to a R23 million shortfall for contractors who needed to be paid, DA MP Leon Basson said at the time.

"The drought-stricken Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had appealed to the DWS to reconsider this decision. Thus, we welcome the commitment to recommence work from Monday," said Trollip.

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"This is an important development, confirmed verbally today [Thursday] by senior national water officials. Once Phase 3 comes online, the low level scheme will provide approximately 210 million litres of water to our Metro." 

Nelson Mandela Bay still faces a critical water crisis with its western supply dams now at 25.67% capacity. The Nooitgedagt Water Treatment Works was crucial in preventing the city from running out of bulk water supply and currently treats 140 million litres of water per day, securing a flow to almost half the city's residents. 

The project which started over 25 years ago as a National Government water scheme, controlled by the municipality, treats water from an alternative source, the Gariep Dam. This water then flows via the Orange-Fish River tunnel and a series of connected rivers to the Sundays River Irrigation Scheme. From there it is piped, via the treatment works, to areas which include Port Elizabeth. 

African News Agency/ANA