South Africa is set to construct two new dams in KwaZulu-Natal over the next ten years at a cost of not less than US $2bn. The two dams, one in the Upper uMkomazi area and the other in Ngwadini, will have the capacity to provide a combined 800-million liters of water a day to the southeastern province residents.
This was revealed by Thami Hlongwa, the Umgeni Water CEO, during the release of the state-owned company annual report in Durban. The CEO further mentioned that upon completion of the two projects, along with the ongoing wall expansion project of Hazelmere Dam, the province will be secured when it comes to water resources for half a century.
The two dam projects
The biggest of the two anticipated dam projects is the Smithfield Dam in the Upper uMkomazi area. This project will cost Umgeni Water approximately US $1.8bn and it will add about 700-million liters of water a day to KZN’s water supply when complete.
This project, according to Mr. Hlongwa, is projected to be completed by the year 2030.
Construction on the second dam, Ngwadini, which will feed into existing dams, supplying the KZN south coast, is expected to start in the 2020/’21 financial year at a cost of approximately US $287m. It will bring in 100-million liters of water per day to the system when complete.
Funding the projects
Umgeni Water board chair Ziphozethu Mathenjwa said that funding for these and other capital projects would not come from national government. She announced that the company had made a profit of US $89m, which meant it was going to give out US $68m worth of service delivery.
In reference to embattled state-owned entities such as Eskom, Mathenjwa said Umgeni Water would not seek bailouts.
“We want to be and to remain a role model by not writing to our shareholders seeking financial assistance to save the company from collapsing. Umgeni Water fraternity will remain resilient, focused and an example to other State-Owned Enterprises,” she said.