Water Lifeline Project wins R140 million grand funding
Water Lifeline Project
The Water Sector institutional support team assisted the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) in Pietermaritzburg secure a €14 million grant to augment their own funding of R240 million to help provide better water services in its six local municipalities. The J&G team worked with representatives from WEG-Wise (Holland) and the uMgungundlovu DM to prepare a donor funding application to the Dutch Government’s ORIO donor funding programme for a number of water projects in the uMgungundlovu district.
The UMDM competed against 90 other international and local submissions, including other South African municipalities and metros, to secure the funding.
The money is a grant from the Netherlands-based Facility for Infrastructure Development (ORIO) and will be used to improve water services infrastructure in all the district’s municipalities, namely Mkhambathini, Richmond, uMngeni, Mpofana, uMshwati and Impendle.
The application for the Water Lifeline Project came about through the UMDM identifying the issue of limited water supply in the Umgeni River supply system and its limiting effect on local economic development. The projectwill provide the much needed infrastructure replacement and technical support to move the uMDM from a place of crisis management to a position of proactive and preventative planning and operations.
The first funding tranche of R15 million is for the Development Phase during which development, planning, preliminary design and scoping of training needs will be carried out for the period of one year.
Following the successful completion of the Development Phase, the Implementation Phase will be rolled-out for five years during which time the designs prepared in the development phase will be taken to a detailed design stage and implemented. The commencement of the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Phase is not reliant on the full completion of the Implementation Phase and will follow when specific infrastructure is commissioned.
The project is expected to improve water services to about 450 000 people. It could also indirectly create about 80 000 new jobs and enable new development investments in the region, which have been stalled owing to the inadequate provision of services.
There is an urgent need to address the water losses being experienced through leaks and burst pipes in the district because of the disintegrating water infrastructure, some of which is more than 60 years old, and it is anticipated that this work will begin around 2014.
The project’s outcome would also improve the financial performance of the municipality by increasing the number of billed customers as well as the frequency and accuracy of bills. To this end J&G is overseeing a pilot project in Hilton where 122 “intelligent limiters and domestic water meters” are being tested – running parallel with existing municipal meters to quantify firstly, the improvements in the reduction of water losses, and secondly, the increase in revenue collections. These meters are “intelligent” because they can auto-read, provide statistics about water usage and be remotely controlled or limited. J&G is also working with WEG-Wise as their South African partner.