Raising of Hazelmere Dam wall on track

KwaZulu-Natal Water and Sanitation Department has reiterated its commitment to fast track the completion of the raising of Hazelmere Dam wall, which will increase water availability to the North Coast Region of KwaZulu-Natal.

Department’s Provincial Head, Ashley Starkey, said the project is of importance, as it addresses the urgent need to augment water supply to the North Coast, which will in turn benefit areas including Verulam, Groutville, Blythedale and Ballito.

“Since commencement of construction at the Dam, 110 employment opportunities have been created for skilled and semi-skilled locals in the area. This is proof to show that not only are we working towards securing water in the province, but also providing the necessary skills and opportunities for unemployed people,” Starkey said.

Starkey alongside Umgeni Water Board Acting Chief Executive, Mboniseni Dlamini, led a media tour to Hazelmere Dam on the North Coast on Thursday, to provide a first-hand account of work being carried out to raise the dam wall by 7 meters, to increase its storage capacity.

The raising of the Hazelmere Dam wall from 85.98 meters to 93.00 meters, through the construction of the Piano Key Weir, will increase the dam’s storage capacity from 23.9 million cubic metres to 43.6 million cubic metres.

The system’s water is mostly used for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes. The agricultural purposes is mainly for the irrigation of sugar cane farming.

Dlamini emphasised the collaborative ways in which the water utility, together with the department and the contractor work closely to effectively complete the project by December 2022.

“Umgeni Water is the current operator on the dam and carries out daily monitoring of the water level amongst other things. When we met with Minister Senzo Mchunu a few months ago, we had already agreed amongst ourselves that only working collaboratively, will we be able to fast-track and complete this project,” Dlamini said.

He added that when the Minster implored the parties to sort out their differences and work together, it was only fitting that “we continued to work with vigour and more closely together”.

The department has also recommitted to complete bulk water projects in the province.

This follows the National Water and Sanitation Summit held last month, which aimed at finding long-lasting solutions in the sector, including effective implementation of water infrastructure projects, amongst others.

The department called on local communities to report infrastructure vandalism to local authorities.

Tulbagh Bulk Water Supply

Meanwhile, Western Cape Water and Sanitation Provincial Head, Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa, has also observed progress on the Tulbagh Bulk Water Supply construction site in Tulbagh, which aims to augment water supply for Witzenberg Local Municipality.

The project was funded through the department’s Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant.

Phase 1 of the project entails the construction of a dam, which upon completion will yield 1.2 megalitres of water. 

Bila-Mupariwa said the last phase of the project, which involves the construction of the rising main and pump station, is scheduled for completion in June 2023.

“As of today, phase 1 progress is seating at 40% which is great. The project is on time, on budget and approved specification,” Bila-Mupariwa said.

The Witzenberg Local Municipality experienced serious water problems during 2004/5 drought period.

“The climate change has made us aware that these occurrences are seasonal, so we must explore other alternate water sources, such as recycled water and groundwater. By doing so, we can reduce heavy reliance on surface water,” Bila-Mupariwa said.

Witzenberg Municipal Manager, David Nasson said that once the entire project is completed, it would enable the development of low-cost housing development and improve water security within the region.

“The project is also creating much-needed jobs during the construction phase, creating the desired socio-economic benefits,” Nasson said. – SAnews.gov.za

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