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Water security: South Africa to build six new dams

Water security: South Africa to build six new dams

May 6, 2015

South Africa plans to build or expand six dams over the next decade to address the long-term water and sanitation needs of the country.

The dams identified by the government include the dam on the Mzimvubu River in Eastern Cape, the expansion of the Clanwilliam Dam in Western Cape, the Nwamitwa and Tzaneen dams in Limpopo, the Hazelmere Dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Polihali Dam in Lesotho, which will provide water to Gauteng.

This emerged during a meeting of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission (PICC) convened by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 30 April. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the Cabinet, premiers, metro mayors and leaders from the South African Local Government Association attended.

“Progress reports were given on the building of water pipelines, treatment plants and systems to connect local households,” Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said. Reports were also given on construction progress across the full public infrastructure project pipeline, organised through 18 major strategic integrated projects (SIPs).

“One of the challenges to be addressed with the water supply is the separation of functions between different spheres that result in dams being completed by the national government but delays at local level with water reticulation systems.

“[It was] agreed to have a more co-ordinated system from ‘source to tap’ to ensure that communities have access to water more expeditiously,” Maharaj said.

Amendments had been drafted to strengthen legislation dealing with theft from the public infrastructure programme, he added, and these had also been discussed at the meeting. The amendments will go through the Cabinet speedily for finalisation before it they are introduced to parliament.

“The steps to address cable and metal theft include tougher bail conditions, tougher sentencing, more resources for defective work and better controls on the trade in scrap metal that creates a market for stolen infrastructure components,” he said.

More than 220 000 direct jobs are being supported by the projects currently co-ordinated by the PICC, which include building roads, ports, rail lines, social infrastructure, energy plants, dams and pipe lines.

“Thirty-nine renewable energy plants have been opened with 1 897 megawatts of renewable energy coming on to the grid. These solar, wind or hydro plants have been a critical support to address the energy shortages caused by delays in the new coal power stations coming on-stream.”

This follows the opening of the Giyani Water Treatment Works in Mopani District Municipality, in Limpopo on 31 October 2014, and the opening of the R3-billion, 347- million cubic metre De Hoop Dam in Sekhukhune, in Limpopo, on 24 March 2014. The Spring Grove Dam near Rosetta in KwaZulu-Natal was opened in November 2013.

Various interventions have been undertaken to stabilise the water supply over the past two decades. SIP18 has a 10-year plan to address the estimated backlog of adequate water to supply 1.4 million households and 2.1 million households to basic sanitation. SIP 6, the integrated municipal infrastructure project, focuses on developing national capacity to help the 23 least resourced districts (19 million people) to address all the maintenance backlogs and upgrades required in water, electricity and sanitation bulk infrastructure.

The PICC was formed to co-ordinate a multibillion-rand public infrastructure programme and brings together all three spheres of government. It is chaired by President Zuma and its work is governed by the Infrastructure Development Act.

Source: SAnews.gov

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