No further delays anticipated in Nooitgedacht Water Scheme completion

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, says there are no further delays anticipated for the completion of the Nooitgedacht/Coega Low Level Water Scheme in the Eastern Cape.

Mchunu returned to the Eastern Cape for two days to pay attention to the water issues in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and Sarah Baartman District Municipality.

The visit comes after residents in the municipalities complained about contaminated drinking water.

Joined by Deputy Ministers David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi, Mchunu met with officials from the three municipalities, including Amatola Water Board, Amatola Labour and the province's business sector.

The Minister's visit to the province aimed to assess water resource management and the needs for Gqeberha.

During the second day of the visit, Mchunu led a site visit to Nooitgedacht Water Treatment Works just outside Gqeberha.

The plant is currently on Phase 3 of construction, which is at 99% completion and will serve the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The project was anticipated to be completed in 2019, however, due to several delays, the completion date was pushed back.

During a meeting, Mchunu heard that the plant will on 1 April 2022 release the first water to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Mchunu said the goal is to increase water security across the country and provide quality water in a sustainable way.

“…We are here to face up to [the] challenge. We are going to households. Every household must get access to water, where they are,” Mchunu said.

The Minister said the challenge facing Gqeberha in the main is how to deliver quality water during drought, while getting water from low-level reservoirs.

“I will meet with the technical team to brainstorm ideas [on how to suck from a low level, face the demand and produce quality water] and engage with the metro to come up with possible solutions,” the Minister said.

He commended the progress in Nooitgedacht, but emphasised that he still expects more efficiency, hard work and service delivery from the Metro.

The Minister told the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro officials to start deploying engineers to the plant, noting that the work will not conclude when the handover happens.

“The plant will need to be maintained for it to be sustainable for the people it will serve.”

The Minister also raised concerns regarding Amatola Water Board’s functionality, saying that the organisation is not stable.

“It is not stable in finances, in good governance and service delivery. We are not done with them; we will meet with the board again,” Mchunu said.

The board was also accused for the delays in project at both Sarah Baartman District Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

“Their work at Nooitgedacht shows that in part, [they] can do the work. We have made lots of notes regarding the board, however, there is no finding as yet,” Mchunu said.

He undertook a directive that more research and work need to be done in drought-ridden areas for the utilisation of ground water.

“There need to be plans that will ensure sustainable use of groundwater… Drilling a borehole here and there, and not being sure when it will run out, is not sustainable.

“We are not comprehensive enough in terms of ground water. I want to propose that [we] do some dedicated and sustainable research with regard to groundwater,” Mchunu said. – SAnews.gov.za

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