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South Africa: two phases of Northern Aqueduct water project almost complete

Construction of US$20.6m (R250 million) worth of bulk water infrastructure in the northern part of the eThekwini region is nearing completion. This was confirmed by Ednick Msweli, the newly appointed head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS). Completion of the multi-million rand contracts that make up a portion of the Northern Aqueduct Augmentation (NAA) is expected in the fourth quarter this year.

The portion expected to be complete includes a 6km pipeline running from Duffs Road to  Phoenix 2 reservoir and a 22 km segment of the pipeline to be laid from Phoenix 2 Reservoir in Phoenix, continues to Waterloo and then to Umhlanga with a feed to the planned new Blackburn reservoir.

The current Northern Aqueduct has reached capacity on various sections of the trunk mains as a result of growth in demand. As a result, although there is sufficient water to meet current needs, there is not sufficient network capacity to deliver it to areas that need it most. Construction of the NAA will resolve this.

Msweli said that the NAA, which comprises seven individual projects, would not be constructed in linear fashion. Segments in areas of critical need will be put in place first.

Northern Aqueduct Augmentation Project pipeline
The bulk water pipe has been laid in the excavated area in the centre of the Phoenix Highway.

He confirmed that, by the end of the year, the pipeline to the Waterloo Reservoir would be complete.  “This will alleviate the water shortages and rationing currently being experienced in the Phoenix and Waterloo areas.  These areas currently receive water from Hazelmere Dam which is low. We will be able to reroute water to compensate for this.”

Martin Bright, project manager for the NAA, said that the actual construction of these two contracts was complex with special measures being taken to accommodate residents, preserve environmentally sensitive flora and rehabilitate excavation sites.

Although a large portion of the pipeline has been routed through sugar cane fields, a critical portion does traverse busy residential areas, crossing busy thoroughfares. He urged residents to be patient as EWS worked to alleviate the water shortages that are currently causing concern.

He said motorists could expect traffic interruptions over the next two months along Phoenix Highway. As the road is not wide, construction has to extend into the road

Bright added that EWS had already commissioned consultants to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment and design of the link from Reservoir Hills (also known as Durban Heights) to Duffs Road. This will go out to tender in early 2016.

Construction of the 30 month long contract is expected to start in mid-2016. This, too, will entail an extremely complex construction process that involves excavation and laying of a 1,2m diameter steel pipe along a route of approximately 15kms.



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