Local Politics

South Africa: Lifeline for Lagging Water Projects


The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) says it will strengthen municipal capacity and coordinate projects through several structures, including the District Development Model (DDM) launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, said most of the priority water infrastructure projects are strategic for the development of water resources.

“Several projects have suffered delays and as a department, we are trying to resuscitate the projects.”

Mchunu, his Deputy Ministers David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi, and senior officials from Water and Sanitation briefed the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation on key priority infrastructure projects across the country during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

During the briefing, Mchunu presented some of the key priority infrastructure projects, which are currently underway. These include the raising of Clanwilliam Dam in the Western Cape; Nooitgedagt Coega Low Level Scheme (NCLLS) in the Eastern Cape; Xhariep Pipeline project in the Free State; Section 63 Vaal Intervention in Gauteng, and Umkhomazi Water Project in KwaZulu-Natal.

Other projects include Masodi Wastewater Treatment Works in Limpopo; Vaal-Gamagara Regional Water Supply Scheme in the Northern Cape, Brits Water Treatment Works in the North West, and Thembisile/Loskop Regional Bulk Water Supply Project in Limpopo.

Progress

Clanwilliam Dam: The raising of Clanwilliam Dam aims to provide additional water to improve the assurance of supply for agriculture, provide for water allocations to resource-poor farmers and to address dam safety aspects.

Mchunu said the scope of the work includes the raising of the existing dam wall by 13 metres, the relocation of a section of the N7 directly affected by the raised dam wall and the raising of the secondary provincial roads affected by the full supply level (FSL) in the dam basin.

Mchunu said 143 of the envisaged 262 properties have been expropriated for the project.

Nooitgedagt Coega Low Level Scheme: This is one of the projects that will augment water supply in the Eastern Cape, which is currently experiencing drought in some towns, including Qqeberha.

The project, which is estimated to cost R534 million upon conclusion, entails the construction of a flex mixer, two flocculation channels and settling tanks with six filters.

“This will increase the capacity of water treatment works from 70 megalitres per day to 210 megalitres a day.

“The augmentation project of the James Kleynhans Bulk Water Supply in Makhanda is expected to improve water supply for the region and ensure security of supply for the long term,” Mchunu said.

Xhariep Pipeline Project: This project involves the construction of major water infrastructure (abstraction works, water treatment plants, pump stations and a major pipeline) from the Gariep Dam to Bloemfontein, at a cost of approximately R10 billion.

Mchunu said some drought interventions have also been identified to address the immediate water supply issues for the Free State.

Section 63 Vaal Intervention: This includes the upgrading of water infrastructure, refurbishment, operations and maintenance, sustainability, water conservation, water demand management, and advocacy within the Vaal area.

The project is meant to deal with urgent matters relating to security of supply and more urgently, matters relating to the pollution of the Vaal River, and enhancement of capacity for the embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality.

Umkhomazi Water Project: This will provide water for the Umgeni Water Supply System, which is experiencing water shortages. The project consists of provision of bulk raw water implementation by the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and Bulk Potable Water Implementation by Umgeni Water.

Mchunu said the project is to be fully funded from loan funding.

Masodi Wastewater Treatment Works: This is a multi-year project that was implemented by Mogalakwena Local Municipality for the construction of a 10-megalitres per day wastewater treatment works, with capacity for expansion to 15 megalitres per day, should the need arise.