Eastern Cape State-owned water utility Amatola Water is leading the charge in the advocacy of and planning activities required to ensure that a single regional bulk water utility is realised in the Eastern Cape, in line with the Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS’s) institutional reform and alignment process.
Amatola Water CEO Lefadi Makibinyane explains that the institutional reform and alignment process aims to reorganise water boards, establish one regional water utility for each province and, in line with the National Development Plan, eventually culminate into one water entity responsible for water management throughout South Africa.
Amatola Water is developing a bankable business case for this entity, which will supply 1 800 Mℓ/d of bulk water for the Eastern Cape by 2030. “Our drive is to ensure that the bulk water services infrastructure and assets in the Eastern Cape are transferred and consolidated under the future regional water utility, of which Amatola Water currently constitutes the nucleus of formation.”
Makibinyane highlights that such a water utility system will ensure that efficient bulk water service provision can be achieved and guarantee bulk supply to municipalities. “This has the potential to be a game changer for socioeconomic development in the Eastern Cape.”
Amatola Water has demonstrated its commitment to leading the province through its ongoing involvement in several projects to mitigate water challenges.
Amatola Water is undertaking a R500-million infrastructure upgrade to its water supply schemes at Peddie, Sandile, Debe Nek, Masincedane, Binfield and Nahoon, under the DWS’s Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant programme. The project will enable the utility to provide bulk potable water capacity, drive the elimination of backlogs and achieve the objective of increasing water supply to 750 Mℓ/d for each household.
The project will also provide reticulation infrastructure to eliminate a water supply backlog that encompasses 4 057 households within the supply boundaries of the schemes as well as extend supply to 47 142 additional households.
Amatola Water has also been appointed by the DWS as a project implementing agent for the completion of the Amathole district municipality’s Dry Sanitation programme. The project will be implemented in three phases and comprises the construction of 36 291 ventilated improved pit units in six municipalities.
Makibinyane highlights that the units will help to restore dignity to the communities and contribute to socioeconomic development using local labour and businesses during the construction phase of the project. Project cost is estimated at R508-million and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Amatola Water has also been appointed by the DWS to fast-track the augmentation of the Nooitgedacht/Coega low-level scheme to increase water supply from the Orange river system to Nelson Mandela Bay from 70 Mℓ/d a day to 160 Mℓ/d a day. The project, which is estimated to cost between R318-million and R510-million, includes the construction of a 45 Mℓ/d balancing reservoir at the Olifantskop reservoir site, the rehabilitation of the Missionvale pipeline and civil works for a 70 Mℓ/d extension to the Nooitgedacht water treatment works. The construction establishment phase is under way and the project is expected to be completed by October 2018.
Further, Amatola Water has completed a R370-million bulk water supply project that will benefit several communities in the Ndlambe local municipality by providing long-term sustainable water supply. The project entailed vast infrastructure construction at Port Alfred, Cannon Rocks and Alexandria to augment water supply to these coastal towns and increase the quality and quantity of water supplied to the area.