The awarding of key construction contracts for the Western and Northern Aqueducts would see the end of Durban’s tenuous water situation and provide businesses and residents with an assured, sustainable water supply within the next three years.

Neil Macleod, head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) said that following the release of additional funds, projects had been accelerated in order to meet the city’s need for bulk water infrastructure.

Macleod has made no secret of the fact that lack of an assured water supply has already begun to restrict the progress of projects within the Dube Tradeport, Bridge City and Cornubia.  An assured water supply was critical if development both in the inner west and key northern corridor was to gather momentum.

“We have enough water to meet the current the current demand but we don’t have the infrastructure to deliver it to where it is needed most.  To the north, we don’t have the network capacity to supply water.”

“From this year, we’ll start slipping back to where supply is not statistically able to meet demand,” he explains.  The first phase of the Western Aqueduct which covered 19km from Umlaas Road to Inchanga Station was commissioned in June 2011.  The second phase of the Western Aqueduct – Durban’s largest ever water pipeline – is expected to significantly strengthen the capacity of bulk water supply to the western regions of eThekwini.

The initial stages of the Northern Aqueduct will augment the existing system and will ensure higher volume availability at Waterloo and Umhlanga as well as provide water to the proposed new Blackburn water reservoir, he said.

Martin Bright, Project Manager for the Western and Northern Aqueduct projects said that work on the second phase of the Western Aqueduct was already progressing well.  After running into a number of unexpected delays, EWS decided to unbundle this mega project into individual contracts that would be rolled out over a seven-year period.

The Northern Aqueduct was kick-stared this year with the awarding of the first contract which will begin at Phoenix 2 Reservoir and extend to Umhlanga and Waterloo reservoirs to Esor Franki Construction.  A second contract for th