DA to push for Ballito water desalination plant

By George Mari, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on COGTA:

THE DA in the KZN Legislature has called for the urgent construction of a water desalination plant in Ballito in a bid to solve the ongoing water crisis in the region.

The call was made to KZN COGTA MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube in the form of a political motion during a formal provincial parliament Sitting held late last week.

Water services and delivery in the Ballito and Illembe district is at crisis level with the impact on residents, businesses, and the region severe.

According to a professional source, the idea of a desalination plant was first mooted at a planning meeting held in December 2014 involving Umgeni Water and local officials.  This after the same meeting revealed that there was no plan in place to deal with the current water shortage.

A proposal was made to build a 3 Megalitre/day desalination plant at a cost ranging from R25 and R30million, depending on the civil works involved.  This would serve 20 000 to 25 000 people with potable water and would take approximately six months to build.

The proposal was turned down by Umgeni Water on the basis that it was too expensive.

They then proceeded to spend R38million on a pipeline to pump 10 to 12 million litres of water a day from uThongati River to Hazelmere Dam, which has turned into a fiasco and is only able to pump about 4 million litres.

The DA will again raise the issue of a desalination plant for Ballito and Illembe at the next meeting of the KZN COGTA portfolio committee.

We expect the MEC to respond.  The Department of Water Affairs has failed to ensure that the taps stay open in these communities – the MEC must face reality and take the necessary steps to assist them.