FUTURE plans towards achieving the Greater Kokstad Municipality’s vision of transforming the town into a City of Economic Possibilities by 2047 have rapidly moved past being talk shops but are gradually put into practice.
The Municipality together with the Harry Gwala District Municipality and the national Department of Water and Sanitation, through its Minister Senzo Mchunu, has recently turned a sod to mark the start of the construction of a massive and life changing Kempsdale Dam.
The R 160 million dam project includes the expansion of Kempsdale Dam and to also raise the dam wall from 4m to 7.8m. The primary objective of the project is to address water shortages in the town for the next 50 to 100 years.
This is also meant to prevent unmanaged and leaking water and to reserve it for dry seasons.
The project is expected to be completed within three years and it aims to significantly increase the dam's raw water capacity to meet anticipated future demands.
It will ensure a safe, reliable, and sustainable supply of potable water for areas like the Kokstad Central Business District, Kokstad C-Max prison, Shayamoya, and Bhongweni amongst other targeted areas.
Furthermore, a new pump station will be built downstream of the dam to channel water to the existing 18Ml/day Kokstad Water Treatment Works for treatment.
Kokstad's daily water demand sits at 10.35Ml and is projected to rise to 14.45Ml daily by 2030.
The plan is set to accommodate Kokstad's future investments, as the town is fast growing, and it has managed to attract serious investors even during the total shutdown periods due to Covid-19.
The fast-growing town, which is also the economic hub of the District of Harry Gwala, has pressured its leadership to come up with plans to curb water demands through infrastructure developments and investments.
Eight wards out of ten are expected to benefit from the project upon completion.
Mchunu said this is a clear indication of the government's dedication to fast-tracking essential service delivery projects, particularly those guaranteeing a consistent and adequate water supply. He added that water scarcity means that the Government has plans but the plans are different depending on the challenges of each particular region.  
Harry Gwala District Municipality is Cllr ZD Nxumalo emphasised that an expanded Kempsdale Dam wall will guarantee sufficient water storage to supply the communities. He said the challenges such as water shedding will be no more, urging communities to come to the party to ensure the success of the project.
The Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor, MNL Madikizela has acknowledged the collaboration between the regional and national government to fund the important needs that fall outside the line functions of the GKM for the future of his town.
“Those are the results of the intergovernmental approach backed by the District Development Model (DDM), the Presidential Programme that ensures speeding up rural infrastructure and that it is receiving the attention of the national government,” said Cllr Mdikizela.
He promised they would be closely monitoring the project as it goes along with his Municipality's vision of becoming the City of Economic Possibilities By 2047.


By Andile Moshoeshoe