Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, says work is underway to repair damaged water and sanitation infrastructure in communities affected by the floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mchunu, together with the mayors from the affected municipalities, including eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, iLembe District Municipality and uMgungundlovu District Municipality, briefed the media on Sunday to provide updates on repairs to water and sanitation infrastructure.
Mchunu said the main damage is at the pipeline that supplies raw water to Durban Heights Water Treatment works in eThekwini. This has led to the eThekwini Metro losing about 280 megalitres of water, and that has resulted in water reduction to communities.
However, Mchunu said Umgeni Water has made improvements on the water supply side with an additional 50 megalitres per day, and made procurement of the pipelines for repairs.
The estimated cost of damage to pipelines include R63 million at iLembe District Municipality, R12 million at uMgungundlovu District Municipality and R1 billion at eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
The Minister assured the affected communities that the department, working in collaboration with the Executive Mayors in the affected Municipalities, is working with speed to remedy the situation.
“Most of these affected municipalities were already in deficit in terms of their ageing infrastructure. Our approach therefore is to take advantage of this situation to not only repair damaged infrastructure, but also to renew these ailing infrastructures.
“We are making immediate interventions by repairing damaged infrastructure, but at the same time we are embarking on a renewal programme of water and sanitation infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal province,” Mchunu said.
The Minister also raised a concern about the pollution of rivers due to sewer spillages caused by damaged sanitation infrastructure in the affected municipalities.
“We need to act fast to ascertain the amount of damage to sanitation infrastructure and to determine the way forward to address the problem of contamination of our water resources by these sewage spillages”, said Minister Mchunu.
The mayors from affected municipalities also proclaimed their commitment to improve water supply to the communities.
eThekwini Municipality reprioritised R600 million
eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, said the municipality has reprioritised R600 million and the councillors are already at work at community level to identify areas that need to be repaired.
He said water treatment plants were not severely affected in the municipality, noting that the problem of sewer spillages was due to blocked system, rather than a system failure.
“The situation is now under control and work is already underway to make immediate interventions to ensure that members of the community receive water. I can confirm that water supply has improved by 60%, particularly in Northern eThekwini,” Kaunda said. – SAnews.gov.za