June 5th marks World Environment Day and, in this regard, eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) highlights two of its current projects, the Western Aqueduct Project and the Advanced Pressure Management Plan, that are contributing positively to the city’s environmental balance.“This World Environment Day we are proud to highlight both these development projects where we are following a path which is sensitive to the environment and the wider ecosystem,” says Neil Macleod, Head of EWS. The R860-million Western Aqueduct Project presents a good example of responsible environmental management on a major infrastructure development.
Andrew Copley, project manager for the Western Aqueduct Project, says that the construction of this 75km-long pipeline is strictly governed by the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). One of the stipulations of the EMP is that any area the new pipeline traverses is to be rehabilitated to a condition equal to or better than that originally encountered.
“The project will affect a lot of open land and urban roads,” says Copley. “In some areas the construction of the pipeline requires a working corridor up to 30m wide. All surfaces, road and open land, will be reinstated to a condition better than their original state.
“There are several other environmental impact control measures in place, such as measures which prioritise the safety and security of residents. And there’s a team of specialist environmental scientists working full-time on this project to constantly supervise and ensure environmental compliance,” he adds. Rescue and rehabilitation of Red Data – rare and endangered – plant species along the route of the pipeline is a top priority too, and compliance with project specifications in respect of environmental rehabilitation is being closely monitored.
“These measures have been carefully thought out and implemented specifically for the benefit of the environment,” says Macleod. “This kind of environmental sensitivity is indeed worthy of tribute on this World Environment Day.”
Macleod adds that the installation of pressure-reducing valves around the city presents another example of environmentally responsible city management – it forms part of the City’s drive to curb daily water losses within the municipality, to limit water wastage and to conserve this precious resource.
This project is to be implemented over a period of about three years, but Macleod notes, “The pressure valves being installed around the city have already reduced pipe bursts and, by preventing water losses, will save the municipality about R50 million per year. Considering that this reduction in pressure does not affect the volume of water but only the rate at which it flows, the water conservation benefits come at no loss to consumers – just gain,” he says.
The anticipated savings resulting from this project will allow EWS to focus on other key projects that will also have environmental benefits.