Mhlathuze Water in a nutshell

Mhlathuze Water is one of the leading water utilities in South Africa today, providing a world-class service to its customers. The organisation is committed to providing safe and dependable water services.

Based in KwaZulu-Natal, its area of supply covers 37000km² stretching from the uThukela River in the south and up the east coast to the Mozambique and Swaziland borders, around Vryheid and back to the uThukela River. Within this region, Mhlathuze Water has built and operates an interbasin transfer, major water treatment plants, an offshore wastewater disposal pipeline and it operates treatment and sewerage plants on an agency basis for local municipalities.

The Nsezi Water Treatment Plant is the company’s flagship installation. Situated on the banks of Lake Nsezi, the consumers of the Nsezi Water Treatment Plant are the city of uMhlathuze and Mondi Paper. Mhlathuze Municipality covers Richards Bay, Empangeni and Foskor. Mondi paper requires water of a superior quality to drinking water. The Nsezi water treatment plant produces clarified water and Mondi Quality Water (superior to potable water). Two pumps pump water to the uMhlathuze Municipality (27000m³ per day) straight to a reservoir. There are smaller pumps for domestic use. Approximately 18m³ (18 million litres) is pumped from the three-megalitre reservoir to the town of Empangeni daily via a 12.1km pipeline. Each pumps moves 1100m³ of water per hour. At this stage, there is a re-dose of sodium hypochlorite as an extra precaution for bacterial quality. The water tank is backwashed and water returns into the system via the clarifier.

The Nsezi upgrade increased the treatment plant capacity from 84m³ per day to 205m³ per day. The upgrade was valued at approximately R210-million. The expansion is in line with the expected growth in demand for the upcoming years. Foskor will be expanding its production, leading to the doubling of water demands; a request for an additional allocation of water has been received and accepted by Mhlathuze Water to this effect. Mondi Paper will be doubling plant capacity, which will increase its water demand.

Also anticipated is the growth of water demands in Mhlathuze Municipality. The towns and cities within the Nsezi Water Treatment plant Area of supply are also expected to expand, resulting in an expected increase in total water demand. The plant supplies a backup to the city of uMhlathuze for the Richards Bay area, daily water supply for Empangeni and for Foskor, through the City of uMhlathuze System. Mondi paper draws up to 85m³/day directly from the Nsezi water treatment plant.

The new works comprises the following:

•          Construction of a new pumpstation building of 750m² and 6m deep below existing ground level;

•          Installation of new pumps capable of 757 litres per second supply of potable water to an existing 800mm diameter pipeline, including associated electrical and mechanical equipment within the new pumpstation building;

•          Installation of new 1200mm, 900mm, 800mm and 600mm diameter pipelines totalling 50m in length to supply potable water from an existing 6000m³ reservoir to an existing 800mm diameter pipeline;

•          Refurbishment of valve chambers along the existing 800mm diameter pipeline within the existing pipeline servitude for maintenance purposes; and

•          Installation of a 250mm diameter drainage pipe 300m in length to return ground water beneath the proposed building to an existing detention dam at the Nsezi Water Treatment Works.

The total cost of the new pump station is R97-million and has to date provided over 150 job opportunities.

As part of developing SMMEs, Mhlathuze Water has endeavoured to engage small companies in the implementation of its projects.

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