Umgeni Water is a state-owned business enterprise, established in 1974 to supply potable water in bulk to municipalities within its operational area. The primary function of Umgeni Water to treat raw water and distribute it in a bulk drinkable form through its infra-structure – has been legislated under the water services act no.108 of 1997. Umgeni Water has six municipal customers: Ethekwini metropolitan municipalities; UGU; Ilembe; Sisonke; Umgungundlovu district municipality; and Umsunduzi metropolitan municipality.
The infrastructure Umgeni Water owns comprises:
- About 514 kilometres of pipelines and 118 kilometres of tunnels
- Five dams
- Ten waterworks
- Water treatment plants: Midmar (Howick); DV Harris (Pietermaritzburg) and Durban Heights; Wiggins; Amanzimtoti and Hazelmere (Durban) - these are the large water treatment plants
- Two wastewater works; Darvill and Ixopo
- Administration buildings: Head Office in Pietermaritzburg and Regional Offices in Mkondeni (Pietemaritzburg); Pineside (Durban) and Umhlali (North Coast)
The organisation also operates and manages, on a contract basis, the following infrastructure:
- Seven dams (five on behalf of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and two on behalf of Ugu DM)
- Two waterworks (on behalf of Ugu DM)
- One wastewater works (on behalf of uMgungundlovu DM)
Umgeni Water covers an operational area of 21 555 square kilometres. It has in its employ a staff of 740, including engineers, scientists, accountants, other specialists and administration personnel. The Chief Executive, as the Accounting Officer, guides the day-to-day activities of the organisation. There are four General Managers and 37 Senior Managers who also contribute to day-to-day management. The non-executive Board members are appointed by the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, and the Board is the Accounting Authority of Umgeni Water.
As a state-owned business enterprise, Umgeni Water reports directly to the Executive Authority, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry. In addition to the Water Services Act of 1997, the organisation operates within the framework of the National Water Act 36 of 1998, Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999 and Public Audit Act 25 of 2004. Umgeni Water’s Head Office is in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg.