The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has formally launched the Provincial Water Master Plan and Borehole Intervention Programme in the Harry Gwala district municipality, with the aim to improve access to safe and clean water in rural communities.
Premier Sihle Zikalala was joined by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu at the launch on September 28.
The master plan contains an analysis of the current level of access to and the available water services in each ward in the province and an evaluation of the current demand and future trends, including the estimates of projected and future demand (up to 2050).
It also spells out KwaZulu-Natal’s water-related challenges and, more importantly, outlines the short-, medium- and long-term solutions, together with the funding that is required to address the backlogs.
The Provincial Water Master Plan rests on three pillars and Zikalala said the province would need to invest about R150-billion over the next ten to fifteen years to ensure its implementation.
The province is calling on the private sector to assist in infrastructure development.
Meanwhile, the first pillar of the plan deals with the security of raw water sources (surface and groundwater), as well as the abstraction, treatment and bulk distribution of potable water.
Projections of growth in demand dictate the planning and identification of interventions aimed at the development and management of infrastructure in order to meet demand on a continuous basis.
The second pillar deals with the distribution of portable water from the bulk and secondary bulk systems to the household consumer.
The last pillar deals with the ongoing viability of water service delivery, with particular consideration for the condition of existing infrastructure, remedial action and expedient management of the operation and maintenance to preclude financial and/or physical collapse of water services infrastructure.
Further, as part of the medium-term measures, the province has, through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, implemented 250 boreholes across the six districts facing the greatest challenges with water provision. These are the uThukela, Zululand, uMzinyathi, Harry Gwala, uMkhanyakude and Amajuba districts.
“We are pleased that the launch of these production boreholes and production pumps occurs as we conclude Public Service Month and Heritage Month. This is a testament to the African National Congress-led government’s commitment to fulfil the constitutionally enshrined right to water which is guaranteed in our Bill of Rights,” Zikalala said.
He noted that the provincial government was aiming to ensure that all communities have access to basic services like water and decent sanitation.
“We have identified the need for water as a basic right for all human beings, and in particular as a means by which we could bring the poor among the people of KwaZulu-Natal from the clutches of deprivation and place them firmly on the road to development,” he said.
The Provincial Water Master Plan is part of the wider framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the National Development Plan 2030 and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Growth Strategy.