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Durban bulk water project on track

Durban’s largest ever bulk water pipeline, the Western Aqueduct, is making steady progress and reaching important milestones.

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The head of the eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS), Ednick Msweli, said the Western Aqueduct would have a significant impact on the future development of the eThekwini region.

“With unemployment at record highs and a need to fast-track the establishment of industry that will beneficiate commodities and manufacture for export, in order to both grow the regional economy and create jobs, the provision of good water infrastructure has never been more important. With the completion of the aquaduct, Durban will have some of the best water infrastructure in the country,” he said.

The project – divided into two phases – will bring water into Durban from the Midmar Dam and recently constructed Springrove Dam. It will significantly strengthen the capacity of bulk water supply and meet the needs of the greater eThekwini region for the next 30 years.

The first phase, which measures 20km and stretches from the Umlaas Road Reservoir to Inchanga, was commissioned at the end of 2012.

The R1.8-billion second phase, which continues from Inchanga to Ntuzuma, is expected to be commissioned next year. Martin Bright, the project manager for the second phase, explained that the massive phase had been divided into a number of related contracts.

The first two contracts – comprising 14km of pipeline extending from Inchanga to Alverstone Station, and then on to Ashley Drive in Hillcrest – have been completed by Cycad Construction and WK Construction respectively.

Both these contractors have already moved off site.

Msweli said the eThekwini Municipality was pleased that both projects had been completed and had met stringent quality standards.

As a result of the severe drought experienced lately, the rehabilitation of areas where the pipeline was laid had been delayed, but since been completed under difficult circumstances.

Work on the 25km stretch of the pipeline from Ashley Drive to Ntuzuma being carried out by Esor Construction, is on schedule for completion in September 2017.

He said a 7km branch line to Tshelimnyama was being carried out by Esor and was on track for completion towards the end of this year.

This pipeline runs along Haygarth Road, and under the N3 to the water reservoir in Tshelimnyama, and will alleviate water shortages in this area.

The large Ashley Drive Break Pressure Tank, designed by the Western Aqueduct Consultants Joint Venture, has been completed by ICON Construction. This 20-million litre Break Pressure Tank has just won the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) Award for Technical Excellence at the Saice Durban Branch Awards.

In the submission entry, the following aspects of this project were highlighted: that it showcased the civil engineer’s leadership and management skills, not to mention technical competence, in bringing together a team of specialists in the disciplines of civil, structural, hydraulic, geotechnical, roadwork, mechanical, electrical, electronic and telecommunications engineering, as well as other related fields such as environmental, heritage, security and planning.

A second reservoir – known as the Wyebank Break Pressure Tank – is also well on the way to completion during the third quarter of 2017. This break pressure tank has also been designed by Royal Haskoning DHV and is currently being built by ICON.

Msweli thanked eThekwini residents for their patience during the construction of the completed sections of the pipeline and during on-going construction.

“Unfortunately, traffic disruption will still be felt as a result of work in Kloof, Wyebank and Kwadabeka. The section of the M13 off-ramp to Willingdon Road is due to begin next month. The temporary railway crossing at Kloof Station will terminate at the end of this month, and traffic will revert to flow along Church Street as the pipeline along Church Street is now complete,” he said.

He said work would continue along Wyebank Road for the foreseeable future.
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Source: iol


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KZN dam levels continue to dip – Umgeni Water

Durban – A week of searing heat in KwaZulu-Natal did little to alleviate the province’s water woes, with service provider Umgeni Water saying dam levels continued to dip.

Spokesperson Shami Harichunder said that water resource availability remained “of grave concern”.

“Water shortages within the Umgeni Water operational area are as a result of a protracted drought, which has affected many parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Exacerbating the current situation are high temperatures, which cause evaporation of dam surface water,” he said.

Harichunder added that below average rainfall was predicted for the next four months.

“Information released by the CSIR suggests that the below-average rainfall pattern will continue to be experienced until the end of August 2016.

“This means that the amount of water currently available in dams that are owned or operated by Umgeni Water will have to be carefully managed in order to ensure that available water lasts until the next good rains arrive.”

He said that water cuts by municipalities would be key in managing the scarce resource.

“Management of water resources at times of absence of rainfall and simultaneous reduction of dam levels involves the application of a cut in potable water production at water treatment plants and introduction of restrictions by water services authorities,” he said.

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Disturbing SA water supply report

DURBAN: South Africa will be short of reliable water supplies every year for the next 20 years – even if the country manages to build all newly planned dams on time and also curb water demand in several cities.

This is the disturbing conclusion of a comprehensive study which revises nationwide water supply calculations made in a similar study two years ago.

Part of a joint project involving the Institute for Security Studies, the Water Research Commission and the University of Denver, the study suggests that even if the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands water project and other new dams are commissioned on schedule, there will still not be reliable water supply to meet growing demand as more people move from rural areas into cities.

Titled Parched Prospects II, the study finds that South Africa appears to be overexploiting available water resources and there will continue to be a gap between water demand and reliable supply from now to the end of the modelling period in 2035.

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“Overexploitation occurs when more water is withdrawn from a water source than is sustainable… If a river has a yield of 1km3/year at a 98 percent assurance of supply this means that one cubic kilometre can be extracted from this river for 98 out of 100 years.

“If there is above average rainfall in a given year, more than 1km3 of water may be extracted without immediate consequence. But when withdrawals exceed reliable supply, the system is being overexploited and becomes more vulnerable – this is especially a problem when there is below average rainfall.”

The study notes that as of 2012, South Africa had enjoyed 16 consecutive years of above average rainfall, but this was unlikely to continue – as shown by the current critical drought.

It finds that, in a country ranked as the 30th driest in the world, water use is still considerably above the world average.

Water use in the Vaal River system was calculated at about 330 litres per person per day, well above the international average of 173 litres per person per day.

The study recognises that per capita water use statistics can be misleading, given that most water in South Africa is used for irrigating cash crops and food crops, and that several water-intensive industries receive water from the municipal supply system.

At a national level, 2 percent of total water supplies were used to cool coal-fired power plants.

“Although this figure may not seem like much at the national level, power-generation water requirements often occur in catchment areas that are moderately or severely constrained,” said main report author Steve Hedden, a researcher at the Centre for International Futures in Denver, Colorado.

Hedden said the latest study revised forecasts made in 2014 and now included a detailed analysis of more recent government-commissioned water reconciliation studies for Johannesburg/Pretoria, Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town and other large urban areas.

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The study suggests that agriculture remains the largest water user (about 57 percent), followed by municipalities (36 percent) and industries (about 7 percent).

By 2035, municipal water use was expected to increase by almost 8 percent of current total use as more people moved from rural to urban areas.

Updated studies suggested that overall national water demand would increase to almost 19km3 per year by 2035, whereas reliable supplies would only amount to 17.8km3.

Even with construction of new dams and extra water conservation measures, there would still be a gap between demand and reliable supply every year until 2035. While costly new infrastructure projects were often necessary “there are additional ways to reconcile supply and demand”.

As a result, the authors recommend that more attention is focused on heavier exploitation of groundwater, recycling industrial and municipal waste water and reducing leaks. Currently only 54 percent of municipal waste water is treated and nearly 25 percent of waste-water treatment works are in a “critical state”.

At a national level, 36.8 percent of municipal water was not paid for, with an estimated 25 percent loss from leaking municipal pipes infrastructure.

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Ethekwini to probe water restrictions document leak

Durban – The eThekwini Municipality has launched an investigation into an unofficial leaked document alleging that the city would be implementing water restrictions.

In a letter to ratepayers Mayor James Nxumalo said the decision to investigate the document was made by the municipality’s executive committee (exco) on Tuesday.

A schedule for water restrictions was widely circulated on social media this week detailing times for restrictions in various areas in the city.

Nxumalo said the investigation would establish who leaked the document and the motive.

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He added that the municipality has been taking measures to reduce water consumption by 15% as requested by MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

“Any planned restrictions will be carefully considered and proper consultation with affected communities will take place before water curtailing measures are implemented.”

According to Nxumalo, the municipality’s water and sanitation head, Ednick Msweli, had said water restrictions would be a last option after all other water saving measures had been exhausted.

“The report, which has caused a lot of unnecessary panic among the public, is not an official report by the city.

“There is a process to deal with documents in council, starting from the head of a department, progressing to a committee and then the executive committee and then council before it is approved. This report did not come before a committee.”

Nxumalo said a special full council meeting would be held on Friday during which the eThekwini water and sanitation department would make a presentation.

“This will inform [councillors] of the current drought situation as well as measures being taken by the city, including that there would be no water rationing.

“In light of the drought crisis we have implemented measures such as installing restrictors and education campaigns on water conservation.”

More than 50 000 restrictors have been installed already, he said.

Areas where restrictors have been installed include Welbedacht East and West, KwaDabeka, Ntuzuma, Mount Moriah, uThongathi, Verulam, La Mercy, Westbrook and uMdloti which had been supplied from the Hazelmere Dam system since April 2015.

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Promoting unity and diversity

MULTI-DENOMINATION organisation MATTCH held an outreach programme in Riet River, Verulam at the weekend.

Mattch chairman, Captain Thomas Naidoo said the organisation aimed to help needy persons in various­ communities around Durban.

“We have been existing without a name, but we are in the process of having the organisation registered as an NPO,” said Naidoo.

“We feed the needy, do hamper and stationery drives. We go to the hospitals and prepare food for those waiting in queues at public hospitals.”

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The name Mattch stands for the various religious groups and aims to create unity in society. The organisation is run with donations and sponsorship of its members.

The organisation first started its work when Naidoo was working in KwaMashu and saw the levels of poverty­ people were living in.

“I started this there and it grew and now we do outreach all over,” said Naidoo­.

Naidoo said they hope to grow and involve more youth and look towards assisting underprivileged people with bursaries and assistance with schooling.

At the weekend’s events Mattch provided meals and beverages to over 400 people.

They also provided music from different­ cultures and the rainbow-coloured marquee for people to enjoy their meals under was representative of the unity of the different cultures they want to unite.

“We want to promote unity and peace and caring for each other from day to day and making a positive dent in people’s lives,” said Naidoo.

Anyone who wants to get involved in Mattch or for more information can contact Naidoo on 083 510 5944 or Captain Rooplall on 082 460 5952.

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Green light for beaches manager

Durban’s beachfront, in line with the city’s marketing strategy of being the “Playground of Africa”, received a huge boost yesterday when the eThekwini Municipality announced it was in the process of appointing a beachfront manager.

The move has been warmly welcomed by the tourism and hospitality industry.

City spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said internal processes were being finalised prior to the position being advertised.

The beachfront currently falls under a number of different departments – for example, parks and recreation, waste and sanitation, and health and safety.

Mthethwa said the city manager had called for “integrated management of the beaches”, and the new beachfront manager would be responsible for “strategic direction in the integration of operations for beaches from Umgababa in the south to Westbrook in the north”.

She said a priority would be the categorisation of beach nodes into “well-served, under-served and un-served nodes”.

This would allow gaps in operations to be identified.

With regard to the Durban beachfront, Mthethwa said: “It remains a critical node for our tourism sector, and much effort will be put into growing partnerships with stakeholders and improving the beach operations and management.”

She also highlighted the establishment of a beach management committee, which “may include technical, security and operational sub-committees whose work will be all year round, as opposed to the festive season management committee, which convenes only during the festive season”.

Logie Naidoo, the Speaker of the eThekwini Municipality, said last night that the appointment was “preparing the ground” for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“We are also looking at using the Rachel Finlayson Pool for the 2022 swimming competition, which will have the Indian Ocean as a backdrop.”

He added the appointment would also fit in with the long-term plan to extend the promenade to Virginia and uMhlanga.

“After uShaka Marine World, our beach is the second-biggest attraction in the city. We have achieved so much with the promenade and believe the beachfront is a tourism asset, which has a diversity of people you won’t find anywhere else in the world.”

He said the city’s Malaysian partners were also keen to commence with further development at the Point Waterfront this year.

The hospitality industry has given the announcement a big thumbs up.

Mike Jackson, KZN director of operations for the Tsogo Sun Group of Hotels, described it as “a very significant step”. Tsogo Sun owns the majority of the big hotels along the beachfront. “It has always been a case of dealing with different departments and heads and now we are going to have a manager who we can sit down with and discuss our industries.

Fedhasa East Coast operations director, Charles Preece, described the beachfront as a “critical zone for our members”.

General manager of the Protea Edward Hotel, Werner Gere, said: “It’s going to make it much easier, it’s a no-brainer.”

Source: iol


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Durban to deliver emergency water

Water authorities are setting up schemes to supply water to the three million residents who are faced with shortages, thanks to the ongoing drought.

The City of Durban has moved to the next level of drought, with city water officials rolling out contingency measures for residents who do not have access to water.

Its three million residents are already living with water restrictions, thanks to South Africa’s worst drought in 112-years. KwaZulu-Natal has had several droughts since 2012, but declared a provincial drought disaster in late 2014.

In that time, the three major dams that supply Durban and the rest of the province have seen their levels drop to as low as 30%.

The contingency measures have already seen water tanks installed around the city and an increase in water tankers so that people can access water if they do not have any. Officials at Umgeni Water, the local utility, say further measures will include four-litre bags of water being distributed to people who have the least access to water.

Other South African cities are in the early stages of this, with places such as Bloemfontein imposing severe water restrictions and fines for wastage.

Research released by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis this week said this sort of urban water crunch would become the norm this century, if nothing was done to lower consumption and use water more efficiently.

The research – “Pressure building on global water supply” – was published in the journal Geoscientific Model Development.

It warned: “Our current water use habits increase the risk of being unable to maintain sustainable food production and economic development for the future generation.”

South Africa’s droughts are cyclical and the current one has been exacerbated by El Niño, but the 31st-driest country in the world has targeted water waste as a big problem for the future. The Water Research Council, a quasi-government research body, estimates that a third of all water is lost in water systems.

Fixing this is part of the national response to the ongoing drought.

In the long term, South Africa’s environment department predicts that droughts will become more frequent and more intense. Rainfall might increase, but it will only do so in the eastern parts of the country. This rain will also come in heavier and more damaging spells, which makes storing the water more difficult.

Source: mg


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Growthpoint’s new Durban green building beacon is the city’s first 5-Star Green Star SA rated development

Construction on the P-Grade (premium) 6,680sqm building, which boasts views of the Indian Ocean, began in June last year (2014), and is set to be complete by December (2015). Originally targeting a 4-Star Green Star SA office building rating, Growthpoint has been notified by the Green Building Council SA that the development had in fact secured a 5-Star Green Star SA – Office v1 Design Rating.

“This is a great achievement and will serve as a green building beacon in greater Durban and KwaZulu-Natal,” says Greg de Klerk, KZN Regional Head of Growthpoint Properties.

“The five storey development was conceived as two corporate office buildings on a single four level basement and arranged around a landscaped forecourt. Growthpoint’s building, dubbed Ridgeview, will be a multi-tenanted building,” he adds

Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint Properties Office Division Director, comments: “Our Lincoln on the Lake and Mayfair on the Lake office buildings in the Parkside precinct of Umhlanga New Town Centre were pioneering green building developments in the Growthpoint portfolio. We have come a long way and now have 23 Green Star SA rated buildings in our portfolio countrywide and several more under development, which have been submitted or will be submitted to the GBCSA for Green Star certification.”

Pienaar adds: “The Lincoln on the Lake office development secured the first 4-Star Green Star SA As-Built rating for a multi-tenanted office building in South Africa back in 2012. Growthpoint continues to be the leader in terms of green rated buildings within its portfolio in the country. Our new Ridgeview building being certified by the GBCSA as the first 5-Star Green Star SA – Office v1 Design rated building in Durban furthers our market leading position on the sustainability front.

“Growthpoint’s Ridgeview development in Ridgeside is a unique and leading-edge office project, which is located on an excellent site in this sought-after precinct of Umhlanga. We’ve developed a P-Grade office building that we’re justifiably proud of.”

De Klerk comments: “When it comes to thriving office nodes in Durban, there’s a continued move by business north into Umhlanga Ridgeside, Umhlanga New Town Centre and La Lucia Ridge. These nodes are experiencing the highest levels of office development in Durban.

“Around 50,000sqm of office space will come to market over the next year in these nodes, of which about a third is being developed by Growthpoint. We are looking forward to the completion of our Ridgeview development, which will be a great new addition to our office portfolio.”

Umhlanga Ridge has become one of the country’s leading nodes for green buildings. In addition to its ground-breaking Lincoln on the Lake and Mayfair on the Lake office buildings, Growthpoint is investing R117.3 million in another 5,500sqm new green office development, named The Boulevard, in the Parkside precinct of Umhlanga which will be completed in April 2016. Upon completion, The Boulevard will make up a city block of green buildings in Umhlanga New Town Centre, providing A-Grade office space of 20,000sqm.

Growthpoint is South Africa’s largest REIT and a JSE ALSI Top 40 Index company. It owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 471 properties in South Africa, 53 properties in Australia through its investment in GOZ, and a 50% interest in the properties at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Growthpoint’s consolidated property assets are valued at more than R100 billion. Its growing property portfolio in KwaZulu-Natal is valued at over R5.5billion.

Source: eprop


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Talk about sustainable living this week

A DURBAN couple achieved what many only dream of, but their energy in inspiring others to at least live more sustainably through sharing their ground-breaking and inspiring journey is contagious.

Jane Troughton will be the guest speaker for the Keep Kloof Beautiful Association meeting on Thursday, 15 October from 5.30pm in the Kloof Junior Primary School hall, Abelia Road, Kloof, and all are welcome to this free talk.

Troughton’s home, featured in a Top Billing programme. It underwent a complete transformation into a completely sustainable living-based design, taking every detail into account.

The architecture and building materials, roof gardening that encourages a diverse flora and fauna population, and removing their reliance of municipal water and power supply being just a few elements the family worked on.

They bought an old home and demolished it, taking care to reuse and recycle wherever possible, but an exciting development is that they are planning not only to live off the grid, but to feed it too.

With their new house taking shape, they believe it will be a property that will not only fulfill their dream of “living more gently on the planet”, but will also be an embedded generator.

Embedded generation is the term used for any electricity generating “plant” that is connected to the regional electricity distribution networks.

Even if one is not in a position to do a large-scale revamp, it is a great opportunity to learn what is available, and perhaps what can be adapted for your own home. Show your support for the work we do in Kloof by attending this once-off meeting.

Source: news24


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Drought tightens grip on KZN

Durban – The drought in KwaZulu Natal has reached a “critical” stage and there are fears the province might not have enough water to last consumers into the summer.

The dry conditions first hit in October 2013 when the province received below-average rains, and have persisted since.

Umgeni Water’s Shami Harichunder said they had implemented emergency schemes in hard-hit areas, such as the 7.5km pipeline which pumped water from the uThongathi River into the Hazelmere Dam, on the North Coast, but they could not guarantee people would have

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enough water until the spring rains came.

“Water resources were already under stress before the drought hit. So people need to accept that we are short of water and change consumption patterns,” he said.

The uThongathi pipeline supplies 8 million to 10 million litres a day to the dam, but Harichunder said that only delayed the dam’s running out of water by two months because water could not be treated once the dam level reached 20%.

On Friday the level was at a critical 36% and the South Coast system, which consists of the Nungwane, E J Smith and Umzinto dams, had also fallen well below capacity.

Umgeni’s chief executive, Cyril Gamede, said only the Umgeni System had shown resilience because of its design.

Its dams, which include Midmar, Inanda and Albert Falls, did not fall below 50% at any stage.

On Sunday Inanda Dam was 95% full.

“The Umgeni system is designed for a one-in-100-years drought while the others were designed for a one-in-50-years drought because of smaller dams,” he said.

He said the water restrictions would hold on the North and South coasts and there was a possibility that they could be tightened.

“This is the worst drought we’ve had in 20 years and the prognosis is that it may continue for longer. We might be heading the same direction as California (in the US), but for now we are optimistic that rains will come in a few months,” said Gamede.

California is in the grip of a severe drought, now in its fourth year. A drought state of emergency was declared by Governor Jerry Brown in January. A previous drought, starting in 1986, lasted seven years.

Both Gamede and Harichunder stressed that water management by municipalities and consumers was the best solution to balance supply with growing demand.

Umgeni is asking for a 30% decrease in consumption, but that could soon be increased.

“Replacing ageing infrastructure and attending to leaks is imperative. We are investigating other solutions such as desalination and reclamation, but those are not immediate solutions,” said Harichunder.

Objections from residents and environmental groups could delay a proposed desalination plant in Tongaat.

“A reclamation pilot study is under way at our Darvill Waste Water Plant (in Pietermaritzburg), but the initiative is going to need an intensive information campaign because people’s psychology towards recycled water needs to change,” said Gamede.

Source: iol


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