Clean water for 5m people around Durban assured with EIB support

Dec 22, 2011

The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 35 million (R385 million) long-term funding to Umgeni Water for new pipelines and upgrading of existing water supply, water treatment works, pumping and service reservoirs that will contribute to the improved supply of bulk potable water in the Umgeni Water operational area. The infrastructure will enable Umgeni Water to continue to provide clean water to an estimated 5 million people in Durban and surrounding areas, and provide capacity to municipalities to enable new water connections to unserved areas.

“The Umgeni Water projects will assure and improve access to water for over a million households across KwaZulu-Natal. At a time when the world’s leaders are gathering in Durban to address the challenges posed by a changing climate, acknowledging the importance of ensuring the availability of clean water in dry regions is essential.” said Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice- President.
“The European Investment Bank has an in-depth understanding of the pressing service delivery needs of our country and the importance of ensuring water supply in the region. We are delighted that the negotiations have been successfully concluded, which will now enable us to move ahead with the projects with vigour.” said Nica Gevers, Acting Chief Executive and General Manager of Finance at Umgeni Water.
Managed by Umgeni Water, South Africa’s second-largest and wholly state-owned water utility, the project will make a significant contribution to improving water supply and treatment in its area of supply. The initiative will involve upgrading water supply networks and treatment facilities to enable increased provision of water. The projects are part of Umgeni Water’s Capital Expenditure infrastructure programme and will also involve the installation of new bulk water pipelines and expansion of treatment plants, pumping stations and service reservoirs.
The granting of the loan to Umgeni Water has, in a sense, been historic as it is the first loan to be made to a South African water board by the European Investment Bank. The loan will complement the financial support provided to the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and funding for the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality for related water projects, namely the construction of the Spring Grove Dam (as part of the Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme) and the replacement of water mains and installation of new pipelines for improved efficiency of the water supply system in the eThekwini region respectively.
The European Investment Bank is working with key partners across South Africa to enable increased investment across the country’s entire water system and contributed towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in the country. Previous South African water projects funded by the European Investment Bank include the Berg Water dam supplying Cape Town, Vaal Dam reservoir and pipeline supplying Johannesburg and the South African component of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Since 2000 the European Investment Bank has provided over EUR 531 million of funding for water projects across in Africa. In southern Africa this has included projects in Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa.
The European Union’s long-term lending institution is the world’s largest lender to the water sector. Involvement in projects across Europe and around the world allows technical experience to contribute to addressing technical challenges.

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