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RECONCILIATION STRATEGY FOR RICHARDS BAY WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM

Area of supply

Richards Bay Water Supply System (RBWSS) supplies water to the City of uMhlathuze Local Municipality, comprising Empangeni, Ngwelezana, Esikhaweni and a number of rural villages as well as large well-developed industries, commercial areas and business centers, such as Mondi Richards Bay, Tronox, Foskor, Richards Bay Minerals, Hillside and Bayside Aluminium and the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.


Sources of water

The supply area is within the Mhlatuze catchment, with major rivers such as the Mhlatuze and Mfolozi being the major sources of water supply. Water is also sourced from various natural lakes within the catchment such as Lake Nhlambane, Msingazi and Cubhu. The interaction between the surface water and groundwater recharge plays an important role in maintaining a delicate balance in lake water levels and industrial water use. There is also an inter-catchment transfer from the Tugela system into the Mhlatuze.


Balancing requirement and availability

Water Balance (2013)

Water component Volume
(million m3/a)
Available water 195.1
Total water
requirement:

Irrigation
Urban
Industrial

183.9

88.5
40.0
55.4
Balance 11.2

The following categories of interventions were identified:

  • Water conservation and water demand management (WC/WDM),

  • Improved operation of the Richards Bay WSS,

  • Water reallocation,

  • Reducing users’ assurances of supply,

  • Land care,

  • Thukela River inter-basin transfer schemes,

  • Mfolozi River inter-basin transfer schemes,

  • Mhlathuze River dams,

  • Groundwater schemes,

  • Use of treated effluent,

  • Desalination, and

  • Water supply infrastructure.


Conceptual water balance with interventions

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