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Extension of rotational supply of water to some parts of Durban, effective from Monday, 20 June 2022, and progress update on repairs

15 JUNE 2022

Extension of rotational supply of water to some parts of Durban, effective from Monday, 20 June 2022, and progress update on repairs

EThekwini Municipality would like to advise all customers that it will be implementing water rationing from Monday, 20 June 2022, in all areas that are supplied by the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant, which is operated and managed by Umgeni Water.

Water rationing has become necessary due reduced water supply from the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant. This shortfall has been caused, and will remain for the next 10-12 months, by Umgeni Water being unable to receive adequate raw water from Nagle Dam because of extensive damage to two raw water pipelines in the April 2022 heavy rainfall.

While Umgeni Water continues to make progress in providing full contracted volumes of drinking water to eThekwini, a shortfall remains and will be eradicated when the damaged pipelines are repaired and recommissioned. According to a work schedule provided to Umgeni Water by the appointed contractor, repairs to the damaged pipes are expected to be completed by June 2023.

To effectively manage this shortfall so that affected areas have access to some water for some parts of the day, eThekwini has introduced a system of rotational supply so that distribution is balanced on an equitable basis. This will remain in place until repairs of the pipelines are completed.

Umgeni Water is able to report on the following developments that will have a positive effect on the work programme for returning Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant’s potable water production to contracted levels:

Friday, 10 June 2022: Status of Reservoir 3
The KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court, Pietermaritzburg, has accepted a consent order initiated by Umgeni Water that now opens the way for repair work on Reservoir 3 at the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant to be undertaken. If all goes according to schedule, the work on Reservoir 3 will be completed by November 2022, after which 340 million litres of storage space will become available.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022: Status of Aqueduct 1 and Aqueduct 2 restoration
The contractor appointed to conduct repair work on the two damaged pipelines that convey raw water from Nagle Dam to the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant has submitted a draft work programme to Umgeni Water. Work is due to begin next week. The draft work schedule outlines how the project will be implemented in order to bring the two raw water pipelines back to functionality.

Both pipelines require extensive work to restore functionality. Sections of the pipelines, some hundreds of metres in length, will have to be redesigned and new sections connected. This illustrates, in stark reality, the severity of the damage and explains why full restoration is expected to be 10-12 months.

How the raw water pipelines impact is being managed
Temporary decommissioning of the two Nagle Dam-Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant raw water pipelines means that only the remaining two are currently functional. This has caused a shortfall in raw water supply and, in turn, reduced volumes of potable water being supplied to eThekwini. To augment resources and partially reduce the shortfall, three of the four emergency shaft pumps at the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant are being used to transfer water from Inanda Dam.

Umgeni Water still requires, on average, an additional 40 million litres per day to meet in full the amount of potable water that it is contracted to supply eThekwini.

It is important that stakeholders realise that the shortfalls in raw water and potable water availability and supply will persist until the two raw water pipelines are repaired, recommissioned and their efficacy restored. It is in this context, therefore, that an appeal is being made for full co-operation and support from all stakeholders as Umgeni Water and eThekwini work closely together to ensure that some water is available to consumers who are supplied by reservoirs fed from the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant.

To illustrate the seriousness with which the current circumstances are being taken, a fully-fledged War Room has been established at the request of Minister of Water and Sanitation. The War Room is headed by eThekwini Water and Sanitation and has been operating since April. It meets daily to receive reports on progress, oversee progress and institute interventions where required so that access to water is available and improved. In the approximately eight weeks of its existence, the War Room has overseen deployment of vitally needed water tankers, installation of static water tanks in several areas and facilitated funding allocation for urgent restoration work. It continues to oversee reconstruction of the Tongaat Water Works, along with monitoring of progress with restoration of wastewater works that were damaged in the April 2022 floods.

Piped water supply to many areas remains erratic, which has resulted in some communities receiving water and others not. Communities and their leaderships have raised this matter with representatives of the War Room and demanded equity in distribution. The War Room has taken note of community sentiment and is acting on it with vigour.

The War Room has endorsed the extension of a strategy that will ensure affected communities have access to water through a rotational supply system. This will be implemented from Monday, 20 June 2022, and entrench equal distribution of available water in a switch-on and switch-off basis, rotating from one to the other.

The War Room is hopeful that community representatives and communities themselves will support this strategy as we collectively navigate these water-scarce and trying times.

EThekwini and Umgeni Water appeal to the public to use water sparingly to ensure that all customers have access to some water. Customers are also cautioned against stockpiling water as this could collapse the already constrained system.

Because water rationing is a planned event, tankers will not be dispatched to cover the rationing period. They will only be dispatched to areas experiencing outages, as opposed to rationing.

The public is encouraged to keep reporting leaks so that they can be attended to speedily to minimise water losses. To support this, the process of awarding a contract for satellite leak detection is at an advanced stage.

Stakeholders are encouraged to visit the city’s social media platforms for regular updates.

Information about the water rationing schedule is available on the municipal website, at Sizakala Centres, municipal clinics, libraries, councillors offices.

Click here to view the rationing schedule.


This is a joint statement issued by eThekwini Municipality and Umgeni Water. For media enquiries contact Municipality’s Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela on 060 966 4220 and Umgeni Water: on 033 3411111/033 3411051

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