DWS postpones Lower Sundays Canal rehabilitation

7th June 2024

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has postponed the emergency rehabilitation on parts of the Lower Sundays River Canal, in the Eastern Cape, in the aftermath of flooding events.

The department had planned to close sections of the canal, which forms part of the Lower Sunday’s Government Water Scheme, for a three-month period from June 10 until August 15 for the urgent rehabilitation work.

However, recent heavy rainfall and flooding in various areas of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality may have compromised infrastructure, including water supply systems.

The postponement will enable the municipality to complete its disaster assessment and response as well as state of readiness for the project resumption.

Considering the developments, DWS will continue with its consultations on the new start date of the canal tie-in, and bring all stakeholders on board to enable them to plan for this period and inform their customers, the department said in a statement.

The DWS had planned to start with the construction of Lower Sundays River Canal tie-ins to the newly built section of the canal where a failure had occurred in 2017, when a section of the canal embarkment slipped, about 4.4 km south of Enon, resulting in the failure of its optimal function between Kirkwood and Addo. This subsequently led the DWS to construct a temporary embarkment to ensure the continuous supply of water to users.

However, a secondary embankment failure has now occurred, 200 m downstream of the initial embankment and canal failure, and if the damaged canal is not repaired, the water scheme will be at risk of collapse.

The rehabilitation work is critical to ensuring the reliability and sustainability of water supply to the users.

The planned work includes demolishing the existing canal at the upstream and downstream tie-in sections, surface preparations, and the placement of a high-density polyethylene liner over the upstream and downstream tie-ins.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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