North Coast water worries set to take a dip
Ilembe District Municipality mayor Sduduzo Gumede during the tour of the LTBWS facility.
"With the inclusion of the LTBWS into the area’s water system, it is hoped that water shortages will be a thing of the past."
Water worries on the North Coast are set to take a dip after the opening of the long awaited Lower Tugela Bulk Water Supply (LTBWS).
The first phase of the project was launched last week just outside Mandeni and will help ease pressure on the local water supply, meaning fewer shortages and water cuts.
Shami Harichunder, corporate stakeholder manager for Umgeni Water, told the Courier that phase one of project was complete.
“The scheme has started producing potable water and providing it as far south as Stanger and Zinkwazi,” said Harichunder.
With the inclusion of the LTBWS into the area’s water system, it is hoped that water shortages will be a thing of the past.
The abstraction weir for the LTBWS.
When totally completed the scheme will be able to supply enough water for the entire Ilembe district, however the distribution of this water is still a major hurdle to be overcome.The Lower Tugela Bulk Water Supply projects first phase is complete.
For now the Lower Tugela pipeline joins Umgeni Water’s North Coast pipeline, which transfers water from Hazelmere Dam to as far north as Stanger.
In this way water can be supplied between the Tugela River and Ballito from either source.
In practice, this means that the North Coast can now receive water from both Hazelmere Dam and the LTBWS. However, this will not necessarily solve the ongoing water crisis in places like Glenhills. The LTBWS will supply water, but getting that water to the people will still be municipality’s responsibility. At present, the LTBWS is not providing water as far as Ballito and Salt Rock, this will form a part of future phases.
Phase one of the LTBWS, which cost just less than R1.5 billion, included construction of a weir and abstraction works on the Tugela River, a 55 megalitre per day (Ml/d) water treatment plant, a raw water pump station to transfer water to a 30 megalitre reservoir and a 30km long pipeline to transfer water from the water treatment plant to as far south as Stanger, with a number of off-takes on the route.
Harichunder said phase two of the project would be constructed as and when demand requires. The second phase could be used to supply water to areas north of the river or to augment supply to the southern areas.Mandeni mayor Siphesihle Zulu looks on during a tour of the facility.
The greatest environmental concern of the project was to prevent the unnecessary removal of sediment from the river and the effect loss of sediment could have on the submerged estuary.
Harichunder said sediment exclusion was a priority and was undertaken at both the abstraction works and at the water treatment works through hydro-cyclones.
This sediment is then returned directly to the river to reduce the impact on the submerged estuary.
The LTBWS will remove about 1.3 cubic metres of water from the river per second when operating at the final design capacity of 110Ml/d.
According to Umgeni this is a fraction of the Tugela River’s total flow during the high flow periods. During low flow periods water will be released from Spioenkop, Wagendrift and, ultimately, Spring Grove dams to augment the river flows and allow for this volume to be removed without affecting the river’s ecological flow requirements.