Untitled Page
DWA Home Page  
Untitled Page

Introduction to the uMkhomazi Water Project, Phase 1 (uMWP1)

Untitled Page
Reconciliation Strategy for the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Metropolitan Area Water Supply System

The uMWP1 is a feasibility study for the transfer of water from the undeveloped uMkhomazi River to the existing Mgeni system to further augment water supply to the Durban and Pietermaritzburg areas. It is a multi-disciplinary project, undertaken conjunctively by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Umgeni Water (UW).

Phase 1 of the uMkhomazi Water Project (uMWP1) comprises three modules: a raw water module developing the resource and the transfer infrastructure (module 1), a treated water module (module 3) and an environmental impact assessment module (module 2).

The modules have been and will be assigned to professional services providers to address the following aspects related to a major water development:

  • Water resources: uMkhomazi, uMlaza and uMngeni River catchments;

  • Water requirements: Water users in the uMkhomazi and uMngeni River catchments;

  • Engineering investigations: Proposed dams at Impendle (only for costing purposes) and Smithfield; the raw water conveyance infrastructure from Smithfield Dam via the proposed balancing dam at Baynesfield to the Water Treatment Plant; and potable water conveyance infrastructure to the Umlaas Road/Cato Ridge reservoir;

  • Environmental impact assessment: Smithfield Dam to Umlaas Road/Cato Ridge reservoir, including all conveyance infrastructure; and

  • Socio-economic impact assessment: Regional, provincial (KwaZulu-Natal) and national.

If the scheme is deemed feasible, in relation to other options, it may be implemented by 2023.

Once complete, the uMkhomazi water transfer scheme will be the largest water transfer scheme in South Africa, comparable to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in terms of water volume and tunnel lengths and diameters.



The Project Area

The project area focuses on the uMkhomazi River catchment. Some tasks within the overall project’s three modules will also include surrounding catchments (the uMngeni River and the uMlaza River catchments).