The Department of Water and Sanitation has drafted short and long-term plans to augment water supply in Musina.

This follows recent violent public unrest in Musina due to lack of water supply to the communities, which resulted in discussions on plans to augment water supply to the area.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, along with his Deputy Ministers, David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi and several senior officials of the department held a community meeting at the Musina Local Municipality in Limpopo on Wednesday.

Mchunu acknowledged that there is a huge water demand in South Africa’s border town due to growing population growth driven by rural to urban migration, and a large transit population passing through the town.

Mchunu said the current water demand is 8 million m3 [cubic meter] per year, and based on population growth alone, water demand projection is for 24 million m3 per year by 2040 if the current rate of population growth is sustained.

He also noted that the current status of water in the town and surrounding areas is critical due to the under-investment in water infrastructure and lack of proper operation and maintenance.

“The town relies primarily on groundwater and it also experiences water rationing imposed by Vhembe District Municipality because the current demand exceeds the supply, and also because of high levels of water leaks due to ageing infrastructure in both the bulk supply lines and internal reticulation networks.

“We need to provide reliable and sustainable water supply to Musina, in doing so, we have to address the growing demand and ensure it matches supply,” Mchunu said.

During a meeting, the department drafted short- and long-term plans to augment water supply in Musina, and these include:

• Developing local water resources including taking groundwater from the Limpopo River and other sources, wastewater reuse, and water from defunct mines;

• Transfer of water from Zimbabwe;

• Construction of a dam on the Mutale River for use in the Luvuvhu-Letaba catchment with transfer of water to Musina, a long term projected to be completed by 2035; and

• Abstracting water from the Limpopo River and storing it in two dams, the Musina Dam and the Sand River Dam, which are still to be constructed, coupled with distribution infrastructure to Musina.

The Minister said the abstracting of water from the Limpopo River is another long-term project to be completed by 2035.

He said the short-term plans must be implemented immediately to meet known demand requirements for Musina and its surrounding areas.

He said it is envisaged that the increasing supply will be approximately 25 million m3 per year.

“Zimbabwe has indicated willingness to share water with South Africa from the newly constructed Phase II Beitbridge Water Treatment Works (WTW) which has excess capacity. I am however concerned about the never-ending discussions that are going on.

“I therefore appeal to officials involved to finalise the agreement. The feasibility and design stages will take approximately 18 months and the construction should start by end 2024 or early 2025 so that water can be delivered by end of 2025,” Mchunu said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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