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Komati water scheme launched

  

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Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has marked National Water Week by unveiling the Komati Water Scheme Augmentation Project (KWSAP), which has been designed to resolve the water supply problems to Eskom's Duvha and Matla power stations in Mpumalanga.

The KWSAP augments the Komati Water Scheme from the Vaal Eastern Subsystem to help Eskom overcome its water supply challenges.

Molewa launched the R1.2 billion project on Tuesday in Kriel in eMalahleni.

The Matla power station reservoir will in turn also provide water to Kusile power station, which is currently under construction.

The interaction of the water resources of the Komati, Usutu and Vaal River systems provides a higher assurance of water supply to all Eskom’s thermal power stations and other water users in the Mpumalanga area.

The KWSAP will be able to deliver an additional 57 million m3 of water per annum to the Komati Water Scheme.

The project follows the Water Affairs Department’s instruction to the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) on 29 September 2008 to finance and implement the project.

The project is part of government's National Infrastructure Plan, and appears as part of Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP) 18, which deals with water and sanitation infrastructure.

Government 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. The project will involve provision of sustainable supply of water to meet social needs and support economic growth.

Projects will provide for new infrastructure, rehabilitation and upgrading of existing infrastructure, as well as improving the management of water infrastructure.

Molewa said that a national framework investment for water for the next ten years has been established.

“We are converting single purpose dams to much use so that the community is able to use water from the dams. The project will not only benefit people with water access, but it will create jobs for the community.

“We insist on a certain percentage of the project to go to the community. Over 300 000 people will also benefit from the project,” Molewa said.

She said that they have identified specific areas like Ermelo, Carolina and Bushbuckridge as priorities.

“We will ensure that we provide every citizen of Mpumalanga with water. We join Premier David Mabuza to work on this pledged. At a national level, we are doing all we can from planning to execution. We are working on our planning programme to ensure that we deal with all the problems in accessing water,” said Molewa.

She also urged South Africans to play a role in preserving water, warning that without water, there was no life.

“Every tap that leaks from the system has to be accounted for. We acknowledge many challenges we faced like pollution of resources of water, which leads to water wastage. Please help us in maintaining the clean resource of our water,” Molewa said.

Executive Mayor of Nkangala District Municipality, Speedy Mashilo, thanked the department for the project. He noted that while the department provided access to water, they still experienced problems with water wastage.

“We are busy assisting the local municipalities with this challenge. We want to preserve our water and do away with cholera,” said Mashilo.

Edited by SANews, SA government news service

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