Coast KZN

27 Aug 2020

No more salt water for now, says Ugu

Zimasa Mgwili (South Coast Herald) Picture: The Umzimkhulu River water abstraction point

In 2015, South Coasters turned on their taps to find salt water filling their glasses, sinks and bath tubs. This was the case across the coast for some weeks until, at a cost of R6 million the salt water was cleared and the mouth of the Umzimkhulu River opened.

According to a report from Ugu at the time, R3.7 million of that was allocated for the construction of a temporary berm system as a desalination method to prevent sea water from entering the river.

The recent shutdown of the St Helen’s Rock pump station – again due to increased water salinity levels – left residents from Hibberdene to Port Edward without water for days. Protests erupted in Gamalakhe and Izingolweni, with angry residents demanding that their water supply be restored. Nombuso Dlamini from Gamalakhe said they had had enough of empty promises from Ugu, saying it was high time that Ugu “shaped up or shipped out”.

“For years we have endured this from Ugu and it just keeps getting worse. We have children and we need water at all times.”

Ugu has responded, saying that as of last Sunday, salinity levels were “stable below the maximum limits”.  Spokesman France Zama said during this period they had managed to ensure that the ingress of salt water to the system was minimised by shutting down the affected pump station, while relief supply was made available.

In its latest update, Ugu said that “the Umzimkhulu command reservoir is currently less than 40 percent while feed to the northern systems is now opened”.

Supply to the Marburg area was restored on Tuesday this week, and the municipality said full restoration to the Woodgrange and Melville areas was expected by today (Thursday). All other reservoirs had been opened, said the municipality, and were in a stable condition.