uMkhomazi Water project – Phase 1, South Africa – update

Image of water running from tap

Photo by ©Bloomberg

8th December 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
uMkhomazi Water project – Phase 1 (uMWP-1).

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) subsidiary Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and Umgeni Water.

Project Description
The uMWP-1 aims to augment the in-deficit uMgeni system from 394-million cubic metres a year to 608-million cubic metres a year. uMgeni is the main water source supplying about six-million people and industries in the Durban and Pietermaritzburg regions.

The project comprises the 81-m-high Smithfield dam and associated infrastructure in the uMkhomazi river, near Bulwer; water conveyance infrastructure, including a 33 km, 3.5-m-diameter raw water tunnel from the Smithfield dam reservoir to the uMlaza river valley; and a 5.1 km, 2.6-m-diameter raw water pipeline from the outlet portal of the transfer tunnel to Umgeni Water’s proposed water treatment works in the uMlazi river valley.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
The project is in the concept design phase, and the tender documents for the professional service providers for the dam and water conveyance infrastructure are currently out to tender.

The TCTA has also facilitated negotiations between Umgeni Water and the six water-user municipalities in its area of supply on the water-user agreements, with the draft agreements approved by the respective councils for public participation in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The funding model has been finalised, with the approval of the National Treasury of a budget under the Budget Facility for infrastructure for a 25% capital grant and a 25% interest-free loan to improve the affordability of the project to end-users.

The loan will be made available through the Infrastructure Fund, while the balance will be funded through commercial debt to be serviced from water tariffs.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
TCTA, tel +27 12 683 12 31 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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