uMkhomazi water project – Phase 1, South Africa – update

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12th April 2024

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).

Municipal districts of eThekwini and Ugu, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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

The Lower uMkhomazi water scheme project will be funded and implemented by the TCTA. 

Project Description
uMgeni is the main water source supplying about six-million people and industries in the Durban and Pietermaritzburg regions. 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.

The Lower uMkhomazi water scheme project is part of the uMkhomazi water project.

The project comprises the 81-m-high Smithfield dam and associated infrastructure on the uMkhomazi river, near Bulwer, with gross storage capacity of 251-million cubic metres; 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 gravity, bulk pipeline connecting the tunnel to the Baynesfield Water Treatment Works (WTW). 

The project is divided into two phases with the first phase comprising a raw water component consisting of two independent systems – the Ngwadini system, with off-channel storage; and the Goodenough system, with abstraction works and a raw water storage reservoir.

Phase 2 entails a potable water component, comprising 100-million-litre-a-day WTW; 3.5 km gravity main pipeline to Quarry reservoir; extension of Quarry reservoir to 30-million-litres-a-day capacity; and the construction of a Green Star-certified administration building.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
More than R20-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
uMWP-1is expected to be complete in December 2027.

Latest Developments
Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu reported on April 8 that uMWP-1 is 46% complete.

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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