Hope that electricity upgrade to Ugu water plant will bring relief to parched residents
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Durban - PLANS to implement an electric upgrade by Eskom in the coastal areas of Ugu District Municipality are at an advanced stage after a R14 million payment was allegedly made to Eskom a year ago.
This upgrade of supply electricity to the Umtamvuna Water Treatment Works from the Eastern Cape will bring relief to the coastal villages of Port Edward, Leisure Bay, Glenmore, Munster, Palm Beach, Trafalgar, Marina Beach and Southbroom, as well as a vast area inland of these villages in the Ingonyama Trust.
"Yes indeed, by April progress will have been made in this regard.The municipality has long initiated a process to upgrade our water power stations and there has been constant communication between the leadership of the municipality and Eskom in an effort to expedite the process of power upgrades to water treatment stations across the district," said Ugu District Municipality spokesperson France Zama.
Barry Smit from the Margate Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association said that residents and businesses of the Ugu District had endured numerous water supply problems, especially over the past 5 years, caused by maladministration and mismanagement.
"And it is indeed unfortunate that the planned electricity upgrades by Eskom cannot be pushed as an urgent matter to be completed sooner than April 2021 as water plays a pivotal part in our livelihoods and tourism, which is the lifeblood of our local economy.
“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more crucial to ensure that residents receive water for good hygiene purposes. It seems the ball has been dropped once again, and hopefully the plight of the people of Ugu will be heard and action be taken immediately."
Ray Nkonyeni Municipality councillor Stephanie Breedt said Eskom had scheduled the upgrade for mid-December last year, however nothing had happened.
"Recently, we have been experiencing severe water shortages in the entire area; some residents have been without water for weeks at a time. One of the main reasons is because the Water Treatment Works does not have the power to pump sufficient water to the reservoirs, and then to the taps. This is a tourism-reliant area, where many livelihoods are at risk because of water shortages. We also have a large percentage of elderly folk who suffer dreadful hardships trying to carry water for their daily use, into their homes. This water often has to come from rivers far from rural homes, which adds to their difficulties and health risks.“
Leon Kotze from the Munster Ratepayers’ Association supported Breedt’s sentiments, and said the area was one of the villages Ugu supplied water to.
"For some years all the villages under Ugu have been on a ’water sharing’ system. Ugu water plant can only supply about 20 ML/d (megalitres per day) in 24 hours. The minimum water requirement is about 30 ML/d in 24 hours. Due to the very old infrastructures the villages experience a lot of water leaks that severely influence the shortage of about 10 ML/d."
Eskom had not commented by the time of publication.