Coast KZN

04 Mar 2016

Urgent water transfer plan in pipeline

Mia Moorcroft (Zululand Observer)


Team appointed to fast-track the R250-million Tugela-Goedertrouw Transfer Scheme

With Zululand’s major water source, the Goedertrouw Dam, having reached a record low level of 25%, the time has come for action to double the feeder pipeline from the Tugela River.

Speaking at a disaster management and drought meeting held last week, Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) Environmental Manager Michelle Boshoff presented a solution to avoid the region running out of water within (an estimated) 207 days.

This presentation was compiled by industry and agriculture stakeholders, as well as the Department of Water and Sanitation KZN.

‘The quickest and one of the cheaper options to supplement the dam’s water supply is to double the transfer pipeline pumping water from the Tugela River,’ said Boshoff.

‘There is a substantial allocation of water from the Tugela River available to this region, but the current pipes and pumps can only deliver a small portion of that allocation.

‘Doubling sections of the pipeline and the pumps could be completed in as little as 12 weeks, costing R250-million.’

She said the water provision options investigated by the Department of Water and Sanitation over the past three years are mostly long-term projects that could take anything between five to 10 years to implement.

‘Effluent recycling in the private sector should still be vigorously pursued, but we do need urgent intervention now to carry Zululand through the next 12 months.

‘While industry and agriculture are doing their best to conserve water and come up with viable alternatives, it will take a minimum of 18 months to complete any of the proposed alternatives.’

A working group to fast-track the doubling of the pipeline was established at the meeting.

It consists of representatives from industry, agriculture, municipalities, Mhlathuze Water and the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The group was tasked to finalise the engineering and cost requirements for the Tugela Transfer Scheme.

It was agreed at the meeting that Level 4 water restrictions should be implemented immediately, which means that domestic users must use 40% less water, industry must cut their use by 15% and agriculture by 80%.

Department of Water and Sanitation KZN Chief Engineer Norman Ward also strongly recommended that the city starts installing restrictors to every household’s supply, forcing a substantial drop in water pressure.