Mayor says they are dealing with water challenges

EThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda says the City is seeking a lasting solution to the water challenges. | Leon Lestrade/ Independent Newspapers

EThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda says the City is seeking a lasting solution to the water challenges. | Leon Lestrade/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 28, 2024


Durban — The Mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda, has reassured residents that they were hard at work ensuring that water challenges throughout Durban were being addressed.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Durban City Hall on Thursday, Kaunda said water supply was at 95% in the inner region. Areas that remained affected included Nagina, Birchwood, and Marrianridge.

He said that in the outer west region, supply was at 75% and the areas with no water supply included parts of KwaXimba, Sankontshe, Shongweni, Zwelibombvu, Hammarsdale, Inwabi and Ngonyameni, while the Central Region sat at 100%.

In the south region, the supply was at 80% and areas still affected with no water supply included KwaMakhutha, Adams Mission, Athlone Park, the Mfume system and Folweni.

Supply in the northern region was at 80% and areas affected were Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Verulam, Trenance, Parkgate, Phoenix and Mt Edgecombe.

Kaunda said these issues could be attributed to, among others, damage caused by the recent floods, ageing infrastructure and vandalism.

Speaking about interventions, Kaunda said that in the south, the short to medium-term solution was to fix the 24km Southern Aqueduct previously decommissioned due to major leaks.

He said a detailed plan had been developed to implement this project within 12 months and R1.2 billion was set aside for it.

Kaunda said that in the northern areas, Ntuzuma, Inanda, Lindelani and KwaMashu were experiencing water challenges as a result of damage to a pump station after it caught fire. It would be upgraded at a cost of R35 million with the project set to begin in March.

Addressing issues in Phoenix and Verulam, the mayor said that a constraint in the water supply had been experienced in areas such as Verulam, Tongaat and Phoenix due to the Northern Aqueduct not performing optimally, resulting in constrained input volumes into the Mount View Reservoir which impacted downstream reservoirs.

“Various interventions are being implemented which include checking possible leaks and blockages on the 32km-long trunk main. Other interventions include replacement of all air valves in the trunk main and changeover of the bulk supply,” said Kaunda.

He said these interventions were expected to have been completed by the second week of February.

Kaunda said they had restored water through an alternate supply from the Tongaat Water Treatment Works to the Belvedere Reservoir to supply the Tongaat South Reservoir.

He said that residents in the area had already begun receiving intermittent supply through this intervention, but this was a temporary measure while they fixed the Metcalf Bulk Pipeline and another water pipeline that carried water from the Tongaat South Reservoir, washed away by the recent floods.

Kaunda said that in the KwaXimba area, the demand exceeded supply and that 50% of the area received piped water and the rest of the community relied on water tankers.

“To address this situation, the municipality has begun with the upgrade of the trunk main from Cato Ridge Reservoir to the KwaXimba area,” said Kaunda.

He said a lasting solution to the water challenges in the city would be the construction and commissioning of the Upper Umkhomazi Dam.

“This project will be implemented jointly by eThekwini Municipality, the National Department of Water and Sanitation through its agency the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority, and Umngeni-Uthukela Water. Processes have begun to get this project under way,” he said.

Kaunda said that since more communities were experiencing water challenges, 100 new water tankers would be delivered before the end of May, in addition to the current 55 tankers procured last year.

In the interim, they were finalising the process of hiring additional water tankers.

He said that to provide potable water, particularly in the rural communities, the municipality was investing in boreholes as another source of water supply.

“Currently, the City is drilling 40 boreholes in 21 rural wards. To date, 20 boreholes have been drilled and they will be commissioned once we are satisfied with the quality of water,” he said.

The City was currently piloting two water re-use projects at its two wastewater treatment plants.

Sunday Tribune