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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 May 2009

MANAGEMENT: City Plans R786m Upgrade Of Water Infrastructure


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The City of Cape Town proposes to spend R786 million in the next financial year to upgrade the city’s water and sanitation infrastructure.

Nearly 15% of the R5,5 billion capital budget has been earmarked for water infrastructure and wastewater management.

"The City needs to avoid another Eskom crisis by upgrading before it is too late. We are developing new infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing metropolis," says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.

"It would cost approximately R23 billion to replace Cape Town’s water distribution infrastructure. Being the oldest South African city, we have to constantly replace aging infrastructure. From as soon as 30 years after installation, some poorly manufactured and installed water mains may already need replacement. The backlog of water mains replacement would become unmanageable if infrastructural replacement is not accelerated now.

"We are systematically replacing these ageing water pipes. Over the past three years we have succeeded in accelerating the pipe replacements from 7,4 kilometre per annum to the current 30 km. We hope to complete 40 km of pipeline by the end of June.

"This only amounts to a 0,5% replacement of the metropole’s total network. The international norm is 1% of the total network," he says.

Plans are also afoot to commence with a R56 million sewer replacement programme from July. The City’s sewer network consists of some 8000 km of pipelines. According to Lungile Dhlamini, Director: Water and Sanitation, this follows a city-wide audit of the sewer system. "We have done a physical inspection across the metropole and will start replacing where the need is greatest," he says.

In 2008 alone the City cleared over 86 000 blocked sewers. It can cost anything from R200 to thousands of rand to unblock one sewer.

The City is currently busy with a R280 million upgrade of the Potsdam wastewater treatment plant and a new R190 million installation at Fisantekraal. On completion, these plants will be able to treat wastewater for about 140 000 homes in Cape Town.

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