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Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

Water shortage threatens Durban property developments

A lack of water in the northern part of the city threatens to put the brakes on major development in Durban. The city now plans to tackle the shortage by taking water from the western aqueduct, which itself has been delayed.

The western aqueduct, the city's biggest water pipeline project in 50 years, was put on hold after a Pietermaritzburg High Court decision last year, which ruled that the tender awarded to Esorfranki and Cycad Pipelines was unlawful.

Judge Dhaya Pillay ordered that work on the R864 million western aqueduct, which aims to meet the unprecedented growth in demand for water in Durban's western suburbs, be stopped, and that a new tender be advertised. This was after two losing bidders, Sanyati Civil Engineering and Construction and Group Five, took the matter to court.

In February, municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said officials anticipated that the projects could be delayed by more than a year, adding that the city had already spent R25m on the contract. He said the new tender might cost more than the original bill, but said the exact numbers had not been worked out.

According to a document expected to be tabled at an eThekwini municipality human settlement and infrastructure committee meeting today, the bulk water mains supplying potable water to the northern areas of the city were beyond their safe operating capacity because of the demand from densification and development in the northern areas of the city.

This had resulted in restrictions in the approval of new developments, including Cornubia, where an about 30 000 high-end, middleincome and low-cost homes were to be built.

The document, compiled by the eThekwini's head of water and sanitation, Neil Macleod, called on the municipality to approve a R3.6 billion 10-year "master plan" for augmentation of water supply to the northern areas of the city, which would relieve the restriction.

The Durban Heights purification works draws water from the Albert Falls and Nagel dams and supplies about 93 percent of total water demand for the entire northern area.

The document states that construction of the King Shaka airport, development of the airport precincts and surrounding areas as well as continuing densification and development in the La Mercy and Westbrook areas, coupled with increasing demands from the Dolphin Coast, would result in the water demand exceeding the supply capacity of the dam and purification works.

It is proposed that surplus water in the western aqueduct be transferred to the northern areas and that the surplus capacity at the Durban Heights waterworks be used in augmenting the existing northern aqueduct.

The northern aqueduct - which is said to be critical for the expansion of the Dube TradePort - will be built in three phases and will eventually link into the western aqueduct.

The first phase is to start in September and is is expected to be completed by June 2015.

Daily Mail

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