Representatives of civil society, construction companies, iLembe District Municipality, eThekwini Metro and Umgeni Water gathered to celebrate the commissioning of an upgraded Hazelmere Water Treatment Plant. The proceedings began first with ribbon cutting that marked the completion of refurbishment of Umgeni Water’s Umhlali offices. Attendees then moved to Hazelmere WTP for an inspection and its official opening. This was followed by a function at Hazelmere Dam, where a presentation was done on the upgraded project.

Addressing the crowd, the Deputy Mayor of iLembe, Councillor Shandu, was complimentary of the cordial and burgeoning relations that exists between Umgeni Water and iLembe DM and said she is looking forward to stronger co-operation in future. Speaking at the function, the Chief Executive of Umgeni Water, Cyril Vuyani Gamede, said the upgrade, constructed at a cost of approximately R125 million, is one of the largest bulk potable water infrastructure projects to be implemented by Umgeni Water in the north of eThekwini Metro. The WTP’s capacity has increased from 45Ml/d to 75Ml/d, which has enhanced assurance of future water supply. The increased capacity will also make it possible to meet peak demands of the Hazelmere system. It was forecast that by 2013 demand would exceed supply. As a consequence, Hazelmere WTP was operating above its design capacity, leaving very little room for downtime due to planned or emergency maintenance requirements. Upgrade of this plant then became essential and the completion of work has removed many challenges.

The upgrade was not undertaken in isolation: a group of related or interlinked projects to eliminate bottlenecks in the supply system was implemented, some simultaneously. These projects included:

  • Raising of Hazelmere Dam wall by the Department of Water and Sanitation to increase the 95% assured yield from 55 Ml/d to 90 Ml/d. This project is currently in construction
  • Construction of a new raw water pipeline between Hazelmere Dam and Hazelmere WTP
  • Construction of Avondale pump station
  • Construction of Hazelmere Waterworks to Ballito pipeline

During construction local labour was used in various segments and small, medium and emerging enterprises engaged as sub-contractors. Sub-contracting work included provision of equipment, road works and paving; bricklaying and painting; roofing; security services; health and safety monitoring and earthworks. During the pump station upgrade, Umgeni Water’s Contract Participation Goals target was exceeded. Commissioning of this upgraded plant is a further example of close collaboration that exists between Umgeni Water and its customers and of Umgeni Water’s ability to respond meaningfully to the needs of consumers. It can be safety assumed that if this work was not undertaken, water shortages and supply interruptions would have continued to occur, to great irritation of consumers.

With water adequacy in Hazelmere Dam significantly improved and production capacity expanded, it is hoped Water Services Authorities will utilise to the fullest these benefits. The upside of resumption of pre-drought period demand will spur development and job creation.

The legacy Umgeni Water leaves will be a lasting one that will be enjoyed by the present and future generations. This project has come to fruition: it is what communities needed to lift them from the hardship they endured, and it is what customers wanted to promote and entrench socio-economic development. The community was urged to look after this scheme by reporting incidences of servitude encroachment, vandalism or theft. The upgrade is an investment in future sustainability of water resources and water adequacy.

Collection of photos from the day