The Newcastle Municipality is gearing up for a significant development in its quest to address water resource challenges within the town. As a result, plans are in motion for constructing a new dam to enhance water availability and reliability.
Currently, the Ntshingwayo (Chelmsford) Dam caters to the water needs of Newcastle, Dannhauser, and Dundee.
However, with the burgeoning population of Newcastle, ensuring a dependable water source has become increasingly crucial. This urgency has been further highlighted by the release of the South African Human Rights Commission’s KZN Water Inquiry Report in September 2023.
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The municipality currently sports a population of 400,000 people across 90,000 households and faces an uphill battle in providing sufficient piped water and house connections. Presently, 48% of households have piped water and house connections, while approximately 25% have piped water in their yards. Additionally, 18% rely on communal standpipes, and 6% obtain water through boreholes and tankers.
With water resources being a pressing concern, the government entity is now eyeing a solution through the construction of a new dam, utilising tanker services to mitigate shortcomings.
Discussing this pivotal development, Newcastle Municipal Speaker, Cllr Thengi Zulu, stressed that constructing a new dam within the town was a formidable undertaking. “The construction of a new dam will benefit the entire community of Newcastle, considering the population growth. We are currently in the planning stages, with our initial goal being to situate the dam either near Ncandu Falls or in the Normandien area,” said Cllr Zulu.
Given the financial constraints faced by the Newcastle Municipality, Cllr Zulu, when questioned about the project’s cost and funding, highlighted that the precise project cost and funding steps were yet to be finalised.
However, he expressed optimism that the project would materialise and he would be able to bring good news to the community in the coming weeks.
“We will hopefully have details on the price of the dam’s construction, as well as a plan for its funding in November 2023. We will notify the community of the developments. But, a new dam will eliminate water challenges in town,” added Cllr Zulu, underscoring the Municipality’s unwavering commitment to drive positive change and development for the community.
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