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Water supply to northern areas improves

Date: 2024-02-19 09:03:29

Water supply to northern areas improves

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda pictured during an Operation Siyahlola oversight visit to inspect work being undertaken to the Northern Aqueduct Pipeline to restore water supply in northern areas. He was accompanied by Deputy Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Bheki Mngwengwe on the oversight visit.

THE water supply to northern areas that have been impacted by prolonged water outages has improved. This is as a result of the interventions the City has been implementing to improve flow of the Northern Aqueduct, a pipeline that carries water from the Durban Heights Treatment Works to the areas in the north. City Manager Musa Mbhele addressed the media on 14 February to provide an update on the restoration of water supply. “Currently, the Municipality has replaced 54 air valves. 

These interventions are being carried out on four sections of the aqueduct and are still in progress. Water supply to most parts of Phoenix, Mount Edgecombe, Virginia, uMhlanga and Durban North has improved though it is not fully restored,” he said. This is because the outstanding valves require modification to fit the new valves into the network. This also requires a shut down. This modification work was not foreseen when the work was planned to be completed by 15 February, he said. “And for that we wish to sincerely apologise to the affected residents who are still without water supply. The existing aqueduct and its valves are decades old, and maintenance and asset records are not available for some of the valves inside the chambers along the pipeline,” he said. 

In addition, there is housing encroachment on some areas of the pipeline servitude making access problematic. This also made it difficult to know what types of valves were under the encroachment. The modification of outstanding air valves is also being timed to coincide with the commissioning of the relevant portion of the new aqueduct, so that water can continue to be supplied to communities. This work is planned to be completed by the end of February. Water supply to Ntuzuma is however still limited by the ongoing repairs and imminent upgrade to the Ntuzuma Pumpstation which was affected by fire. EThekwini Municipality has recently appointed dedicated staff to continually inspect the old Northern Aqueduct to identify leaks and defective and vandalized valves to ensure interruptions are minimized. 

Additional interventions across the City include the pipe replacement programme which is ongoing and on track as well as the active leak detection and repair programme. Furthermore, the Hazelmere to Grange Pipeline is currently being upgraded and is due for commission in June. The SouthernAqueduct project is on track to commence in April and Council has approved the implementation of the Umkhomazi Dam project by the national Department of Water and Sanitation. This project once completed, will improve the security of water supply for the City.