Limpopo water project serves as PPP model for municipalities

18th July 2023 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

A multi-year public-private partnership (PPP) to upgrade the Masodi wastewater treatment works (WWTW), in Limpopo, serves as a model for other municipalities to embrace partnerships and collaborations with the private sector for socioeconomic development of their communities.

The plant is being upgraded to produce ten-million litres a day by the Mogalakwena local municipality and Ivanplats Mine, with the latter fully funding and implementing the project.

The plant will improve sanitation provision to Mokopane and surrounding areas and enable local industries to access the grey water for reuse from the treated effluent released from the plant.

“We are happy about the progress made on the construction of Masodi WWTW, which is currently 92% complete. I am certain that by the end of the year it will be commissioned,” said Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu, pointing out that the Mogalakwena local municipality will be a model to many municipalities in the country in terms of management of wastewater and effluent.

“This WWTW project should be a lesson for other municipalities that working with the private sector is a way to go in order to improve our service delivery systems and socioeconomic development of our communities,” he said following a site inspection alongside Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister Judith Tshabalala.

The Minister further acknowledged the input of Ivanplats in ensuring that the project is expedited and is finished on time, commending the precision that the mine applied.

“They have managed to get the project to near completion even before the scheduled timeframes.”

The construction of the biological nutrient removal plant, which comprises the plant itself, booster pump station and the pipelines that link the new plant to the existing sewer system, was started in 2015 by the municipality but was halted until 2021 when Mchunu intervened and enabled the project to resume.

The municipality and Ivanplats have also signed another memorandum of agreement to replace the asbestos sewer pipelines that will connect to the existing Masehlaneng and Sekgakgapeng oxidation ponds.

“The old sewer system is currently not efficient and prone to spills which resulted in the municipality being taken to court by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for non-compliance with wastewater management,” Mchunu noted.

The Ministerial delegation also inspected the Olifantspoort water treatment works (WTW) project site, near Lebowakgomo in Capricorn district municipality, which will cut across three of the five district municipalities in Limpopo.

Olifantspoort WTW, which no longer meets growing water demand, will be refurbished and upgraded in stages from 60-million litres a day to an eventual 280-million litres a day to improve its performance and capacity to meet current and future potable water demands.

The water treatment plant forms part of the Olifants/Ebenezer water supply scheme and serves as one of the lifelines for drinking water to Polokwane, which is in deficit by 30-million litres a day.

“With Lepelle Northern Water as an implementing agent, we have come together and have finalised issues of planning, timeframes and funding of the project. So far, we are happy with the planning and preparations to upgrade this water treatment plant,” said Mchunu.

The Minister also met with the Lebalelo Water User Association to assess progress on the Olifants Management Model (OMM) programme.

The OMM programme, a 50:50 Olifants river water resources development project partnership between the association and the DWS, involves the development of additional water resource infrastructure comprising the De Hoop and Flag Boshielo dams along the Steelpoort river and a bulk distribution system to benefit the Sekhukhune district and Mogalakwena local municipalities.