The eThekwini municipality’s R1,6-bil-lion asbestos cement (AC) pipeline replacement project, which will save the city about R248-million a year, is expected to be extended beyond the June 2010 deadline subject to council approval and the availability of funds.
Neil Macleod, head of eThekwini Water & Sanitation (EWS), revealed recently that the municipality was in talks with a proposed funding partner, but denied that it was government.
The funds for the three-year project were allocated on the basis that 1 750 km of piping required replacing, but Macleod said this calculation was based on old, inaccurate records and that an additional 1 000 km needed to be replaced. To date, about 1 100 km has been laid.
According to eThekwini project executive Alan Kee, the old pipes desperately needed replacing as bursts were occurring daily and the effective life span of the pipes had come to an end.
“We had to devise a way to replace the pipes while keeping disruption to service to a minimum. “This required a strategy of swift and effective asset replacement,” he said.
The municipality decided to outsource the project and engaged four contractors – Wilson Bailey Holmes Ovcon, WK Con-struction, Icon Construction and Sanyati – four design consultants and a project management company, Aurecon (previously Ninham Shand), to implement the project. In addition, 16 emerging contracting companies were engaged to work on the project as part of a small-enterprise development programme.
According to Kee, service delivery has been enhanced by partnering with private enterprise, as this has enabled the pipe- .playing process to be undertaken swiftly.
The project has up to 200 work packages open at any one time and pipe is being laid at a rate of about 60 km a month.
The AC pipes are being replaced with modi- fied polyvinyl chloride pipes.