Commission of Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme Begins

The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, officially Commissioned part of Lower Thukela Bulk Water Supply Scheme on Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, at a public function in Mandini, iLembe District. This function was attended by local communities amounting to about 5 000, the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Councillors of iLembe District Municipality, Mandeni Local Municipality, KwaDukuza Local Municipality, Traditional Leaders and representatives of Umgeni Water.

Lower Thukela is a 55Ml/d project that has been constructed in Mandini at a cost of R1, 4 billion. It is one of the largest bulk potable water infrastructure projects to be implemented by Umgeni Water, and it has been funded by Umgeni Water and Department of Water and Sanitation. Lower Thukela BWSS will provide a sustainable supply of safe drinking water to numerous areas within iLembe District from inland of Mandini to Ballito in the South. Ballito is currently under water restrictions as a result of water shortages at Hazelmere Dam, caused by a severe and prolonged drought. An alternate source of supply to Ballito will result in more water being available at Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant for supply to eThekwini Metro, thereby alleviating the impact of the drought.

From the end of April 2016 an estimated 25Ml/d of potable water will begin flowing through a 29km pipeline that is part of Lower Thukela BWSS. By the end of June 2016 Lower Thukela BWSS will reach its full design capacity through the provision of 55Ml/d potable water to an estimated 340 000 people, some of whom will be receiving a reliable supply of safe drinking water for the first time. If required in the future, this scheme can be expanded, enabling it to double its potable water production capacity from 55Ml/d to 110Ml/d. The source of raw water supply for this scheme is uThukela River, and the catchment for uThukela River is in the vicinity of Spionkop Dam, outside Ladysmith.

Speaking at the public function, Minister Mokonyane issued a strong appeal for an end to water wastage and greater emphasis on water conservation. The Minister also applauded communities in iLembe District for their patience at times of water shortages, such as the current drought, and while water provision infrastructure was being planned and implemented.

Lower Thukela BWSS was constructed in a partnership among Umgeni Water, Department of Water and Sanitation and iLembe District. It was identified as a requirement to meet an increase in future water demand and to prevent water shortages in some towns within iLembe District.