STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment and re-installation of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment and re-installation of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment and re-installation of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

Issued by Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit, Office of the Chief Executive, Umgeni Water

Information may be attributed to: Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit

Friday, 19th of November 2021

The appointed contractor is scheduled to complete dismantling of the failed shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works by tomorrow (Saturday) morning, after which it will be taken by road to Johannesburg. Work on refurbishment of this pump is due to begin on Sunday.

Progress thus far is in line with the schedule that was provided by the contractor, who was appointed last Saturday evening and moved onsite the following day.

In terms of the work schedule, the entire project – removal of the shaft pump, dismantling of it, transportation to the contractor’s workshop in Johannesburg, diagnosis of cause of failure, refurbishment and re-installation of it – will take five weeks. Umgeni Water has provided an undertaking that it will do everything possible to try to shorten this period so that potable water production at Durban Heights Water Works can return to normal quickly.

Umgeni Water will receive a full report from the contractor on Tuesday, 22nd November 2021. The report will contain diagnoses of cause of pump failure and what will be done to bring it back to full functionality.

The five weeks required to complete the work is due to its complexity. The pump is situated approximately 200 metres underground. It is about 13 metres long and weighs about one tonne. Dismantling of it involves removing various sections, one at a time.

This shaft pump failed on the night of Thursday, 11th November 2021. It conveys raw water from Inanda Dam to the Durban Heights Water Works. It was installed for back-up purposes and  brought into use when a leak occurred in Aqueduct 4, one of four aqueducts that convey raw water from Nagle Dam to Durban Heights Water Works. All four aqueducts carry large volumes of raw water at high pressure. The leak occurred close to Clermont township and could have posed a risk to the environment and nearby residents, therefore, a decision was taken to temporarily stop its use.

Failure of the shaft pump has caused, and continues to cause, a deficit of approximately 50 megalitres of raw reaching this plant. This has resulted in reduced potable (drinking) water production and reduced supply to eThekwini Water and Sanitation.

Reduced supply from this plant has meant there is inadequate water for eThekwini Water and Sanitation to supply to some areas in the central, south and north of Durban. The areas and reservoirs affected are:

  • Umlazi H, G, N, W, C, D, K, J, BB, CC, AA, M, L, R P, Q,
  • Folweni
  • Nsimbini
  • Phoenix
  • Sunningdale
  • North of Durban
  • Trenance 1 Reservoir
  • Trenance 3
  • Elevated Tower
  • Mountview Reservoir
  • Ntuzuma 3
  • Ntuzuma 7

Due to the prevailing problem, consumers in the abovementioned areas continue to receive an intermittent supply of water, or supply for two to three hours per day or no water.

Umgeni Water apologises profusely for the inconvenience that consumers are experiencing and assures them everything possible is being done to return the situation to normal.

To augment water resources, eThekwini Water and Sanitation is providing water from motorised water tankers.

Umgeni Water, in the meantime, continues to work hard at appointing a service provider to undertake repair work on Aqueduct 4. This aqueduct will provide additional raw water to the Durban Heights Water Works for treatment so that potable water is augmented.