DWS, uMngeni-uThukela Water embark on Vulindlela Bulk Water Supply Scheme upgrade

17th July 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and its recently merged water utility uMngeni-uThukela Water are upgrading Phase 1 of the Vulindlela Bulk Water Supply Scheme, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The parties are upgrading the bulk water scheme, constructed in 1998, to meet the increased municipal demand for water amid population growth in the region over the past decade.

One of the key components of the Phase 1 upgrade will be the construction of a new reservoir to increase drinking water storage by an additional 20 Mℓ a day to reach 35 Mℓ a day to ensure that more water becomes available for distribution to communities within the Vulindlela region.

This will improve the availability and supply of drinking water to various communities in the uMgungundlovu district, including Msunduzi and the uMngeni local municipalities.

The upgrades will also include the installation of new pipelines between different reservoirs and the construction of a new pump station to increase supply of water and augmentation of power supply.

This follows the recently completed upgrade of the Darvill wastewater treatment works (WWTW), which treats domestic and industrial sewage from areas within the Msunduzi local municipality’s jurisdiction, from a treatment capacity of 65-megalitres a day to 100-megalitres a day.

The Darvill WWTW, a first-of-its-kind project that has encompassed a pilot wastewater recycling plant, is able to treat two megalitres a day of wastewater to drinking water quality standards and it also has an electricity cogeneration capacity element.

The water treated to drinking standards is currently being used mainly for cleaning and sanitation purposes at the wastewater treatment site.

The DWS is exploring the infrastructure further for cogeneration of electricity at the same plant, using waste being treated there, which has the potential for the plant to become self-sufficient for its electricity needs.

The upgrade of the plant has also resulted in increased capacity to treat wastewater to improve the quality of discharges into the river system, particularly the Msunduzi river, resulting in reduced levels of pollution.

The upgrade benefits about 700 000 people through proper and effective effluent treatment.