KZN municipalities consulting on establishing a single water entity | Infrastructure news

The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, consulted with Water Service Authorities in KwaZulu-Natal on the reconfiguration of two Water Boards in the province.

Namely the Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water, with the aim of establishing a single Water Board.

The consultation held at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Monday was attended by various Mayors of the KwaZulu-Natal province who echoed each other’s sentiments in support of the proposal, adding that this move would transform the water sector and ensure effective delivery of water services.

Outlining the move towards the reconfiguration of the two Water Boards, Minister Mchunu said the main drive was to ensure adequate capacity in the water sector, with quality and skilled engineers, and water management towards realising water security in the province.

Emphasizing the importance of the reconfiguration, Minister Mchunu said a single water entity would be able to support the under-capacitated Water Services Authorities to meet the increasing water demands in the province.

“The single Water Board that we envisage needs to have the capacity to sustain itself with financial muscle, where it can raise money to render services on its own. The reality is that the expenditure to implement projects is too high, the demand of services is also too high, however the delivery by Government institutions is too low and we need to fix this as a matter of urgency. The reconfiguration of Water Boards is a result of the National Water and Sanitation Summit that we held earlier this year and this is part of the resolutions and we are implementing”, he emphasised.

Minister Mchunu said the review of the two Water Boards was set to address financial sustainability, servicing areas that are not currently serviced and institutional confusion caused by having multiple Water Boards serving the same province.

The purpose of the reconfiguration of Umgeni and Umhlathuze Water Boards is to:

  • Strengthen the capacity and capability of the entity in Province (leveraging on existing technical skills)
  • Improve and enhance institutional efficiencies and rationalise the number of institutions in the water sector to ensure economies of scale
  • Maintain financial viability and enhance the ability to raise capital from the market for infrastructure projects
  • Enable Water Boards to better support Water Services Authorities
  • Ensure transformation and improved governance
  • Reconfiguration must not result in job losses
A single Water Board in KwaZulu-Natal is expected to address transformation challenges in the province, increase water access to un-serviced rural areas, enhance market capitalisation for infrastructure projects and reduce skewed supply of water amongst others.

The consultation with Water Services Authorities is the first step towards establishing a single water entity in the province and it will be followed by the appointment of an independent Transactional Advisor to project manage the reconfiguration amongst other processes to be followed.

Upon taking over the portfolio of water and sanitation exactly a year ago, Minister Mchunu has been seized with his intent to transform the water and sanitation sector and to unlock all the challenges that hinder the provision of services to the people.

To this end, he has criss-crossed the country mobilising water and sanitation stakeholders to work together with all hands-on deck to ensure efficiency that will result on communities having access to basic services.

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