STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

STATEMENT: Progress to date on refurbishment of shaft pump at Durban Heights Water Works

Issued by the Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit, Umgeni Water

Work is progressing well on refurbishment of Pump 1, which failed on the night of 11th November 2021 precipitating water shortages in many parts of Durban.

Reports received by Umgeni Water from the contractor appointed to undertake the work show that the programme for refurbishment and re-installation of this emergency shaft pump is in line with the schedule provided by the contractor. The shaft pump was removed and taken to Johannesburg where work is being conducted on it. The complex nature of this pump, which operates from approximately 200 metres below surface, requires five weeks to complete the work. According to schedule, the pump is due to be re-installed at the Durban Heights Water Works by 19th December 2021, after which commissioning will begin.

This shaft pump conveys raw water from Inanda Dam to the Durban Heights Water Works. Water is being pumped from Inanda Dam because of adequacy. As a result of pump failure, there is ongoing deficit in raw water supply, resulting in reduced volumes of potable (drinking) water being supplied to eThekwini Water and Sanitation. Areas in the north, south, central and inner west of Durban are affected by intermittent water supply.

The affected areas 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

Umgeni Water is using a system in which supply from some legs of Reservoir 2 at Durban Heights Water Works are discontinued for some parts of the day while others continue to supply water. This is done on a rotational basis and, supported by controlled supply from eThekwini Water and Sanitation, some equity is attained in water supply to consumers. This means that supply areas receive water for some parts of the day while others are closed off, and this system is then rotated.


As an operating rule, Reservoir 2 has to remain at three metres or above in order for there to be adequate pressure to supply high-lying areas. There have been occasions in which this reservoir had fallen to one metre, causing acute water shortages and low pressure. The consequence of that is some areas were not able to receive water.

An appeal is a made to consumers to support initiatives that have been implemented to conserve and use water sparingly. Consumers are also urged not store more water than they require for use in a day. Any spike in demand results in rapid depletion in reservoir levels; and this must be avoided.

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.