Potable water for the people of KwaNovuka, KwaZulu-Natal

A picture of the KwaNovuka rural water supply project

KwaNovuka rural water supply project

14 March 2013 - The latest census showed that South Africa is winning the challenge of providing water services to its rapidly expanding population: 91 per cent of households now have access to piped water, compared to 85 per cent in 2001.

Nowhere is this commitment more evident than in KwaZulu-Natal where a large-scale water supply programme is underway.

In stark contrast to the lush fertile hills of the KZN Midlands, communities such as KwaNovuka in the area surrounding Impendle are desperately in need of water services. Traditionally, these communities have depended on small springs for water but, with the burgeoning population and the need to share the water with livestock, supply has become both inadequate and prone to water-borne disease.

Aurecon was appointed by the Umgungundlovu District Municipality for the preparation of the business plan to access funding and for the design and site supervision of the KwaNovuka rural water supply project.

“The design and planning of the KwaNovuka project was made more complex by the need to allow for integrating the project into a larger regional water supply scheme, currently being designed by other consultants,” says Aurecon project leader, Essop Goga. “For example, the rising main has been designed to allow the pipeline to be used in the future as a gravity pipeline. This change will be implemented once the regional scheme has been completed and tied into the overall KwaNovuka supply network.”

The current project has two phases: Phase A, and B.

“Phase A will serve 549 households in the KwaNovuka community, located to the north of Impendle Town, and a portion of the Nhlabamkhosi community on the east side of the Town. The scheme was dimensioned on a water supply of 25 l/person/day, although the reticulation has been designed to support yard connections in accordance with DWAF guidelines.” 

The construction contract for Phase A, with an estimated value of R17 million, is close to completion. Some key features of this phase include:

  • 3 concrete reservoirs (2 x 300 kl and 1 x 180 kl)
  • 3 borehole pump-stations, supplying a total of  approximately 296 kl/day
  • A package water treatment plant 
  • Almost 60 km of pipeline, including HDPE, uPVC and Klambon piping
  • WEPEX slope stabilisation system 
  • Approximately 99 standpipes
  • An additional pipeline ties into two existing reservoirs to augment supply to Impendle Town

The Phase B construction contract, with an estimated value of approximately R30m, is due to start shortly. This phase will serve 299 households in the KwaKhetha community, located to the west of Impendle Town, and the remainder of the Nhlabamkhosi community. Phase B will supply bulk water to a 500 household Department of Housing Settlements development.

Phase B of the project consists of:

  • A 1 Ml reinforced concrete reservoir
  • Two 200 kl containerised water treatment plants
  • Approximately 40 km of pipeline of various diameters, ranging from 50 mm HDPE to 250 mm uPVC piping
  • One river abstraction
  • Two containerised high lift pump-stations: one to supply the 1 Ml  reservoir, the other to serve the Smilobha project
  • Approximately 3 km of rising main, comprising 160 mm uPVC and Klambon piping
  • Approximately 60 standpipes

An important feature of this project is that it has been utilised to capacitate members of the local community and contribute towards skills development in the area. To this end, two candidates selected from the community have received in-service training on the Phase A project, with a further two persons to receive in-service training on the Phase B project. In addition, members of the community employed on the project have received on-the-job training under the supervision of the main contractor.

“The area served by the KwaNovuka water scheme has high levels of poverty and normal cost recovery measures may not be easily achievable,” adds Goga. “But it is not easy to talk project norms when faced with assisting impoverished communities. It is immensely rewarding to be playing an important role in providing these people with their constitutional right to have access to potable water.”

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