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Mooi-Mgeni River Transfer Scheme Phase 2 (MMTS 2)

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Introduction

Water is one of the most fundamental and indispensable natural resources. It is essential for life, the environment, health, food production, industry and power generation. In South Africa, water is a limited resource, the scarcity of which is exacerbated by uneven distribution, both geographically within the country and seasonally. Due to this variability there is an ever-present risk of water shortages and restrictions, with consequent limitations to social development and economic growth.

The DWAF is entrusted with the responsibility to protect, use, develop, conserve, manage and control the water resources of South Africa. Consistent with good governance and sound water resource management and planning, the DWAF is committed to the development of national strategies and policies that are aimed at conserving and developing South Africa's water resources in an integrated, rational, equitable and sustainable manner.

The provision of adequate supplies of water in the Mgeni System is a high priority because this system supplies water to about 5 million people of which about 83% resides in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (Durban and surroundings). The supply area of the Mgeni System supports a major proportion of the population of KwaZulu-Natal, and this area also makes a significant contribution to South Africa’s economy in terms of imports, exports, manufacturing, the automotive industry, tourism and property development.

In recent years the supply area of the Mgeni System experienced very high economic growth which is still increasing, and this resulted in a steep increase in the water demand. The latest estimates of the current available water resources versus demand in the Mgeni system shows that there was already a shortage in 2005.

Augmentation of the Mgeni System by means of the Mooi Mgeni Transfer Scheme – Phase 2 (MMTS-2) becomes crucial to ensure that economic growth in the area is sustained and not compromised due to limited availability of water.

The MMTS-2 was investigated at a Feasibility level of detail in order to inform decision making by National Government. The aim of the MMTS-2 Feasibility Study was to investigate all factors that might affect the viability for the implementation of the project. The MMTS-2 Feasibility Study was conducted in a manner as to provide DWAF with sufficient information and data necessary to proceed with project implementation.

Study Approach

The MMTS-2 Feasibility Study commenced in 1997 and was completed in 2004, two Bridging Studies are however still in progress and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must still be updated to ensure that mitigation measures for any changes that might have occurred since 2001, when the initial EIA was done, are in place. The Feasibility Study comprises a main report, ten supporting reports and seven Bridging Studies, which are specialist reports. The Feasibility Study will be concluded with the completion of the Environmental Impact Report. A report structure is presented on this Web Page under Available Reports and Report Structure, the available reports can also be viewed on and down loaded from this Web Page.

Public Involvement

In line with the Department’s commitment to transparency and open communication, public involvement forms a very important component of the Feasibility Study for this project. A Record of Public Involvement is captured in Supporting Report No. 10 of the Feasibility Study. Interaction with affected parties is also fundamental in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to ascertain the issues, concerns and impacts. The fundamental aim with the public participation process to date is to identify interested and affected parties as well as to record their concerns and suggestions to ensure that these are addressed during the planning and implementation of the project. Public participation was conducted through public meetings, stakeholder meetings, interviews with affected land owners, questionnaires were completed by affected land owners, a news letter and ongoing consultation with stakeholders and affected parties.

Changes and new development has taken place since the EIA for the project was completed in 2001. Despite the ongoing consultation with affected parties the EIA for the project need to be reviewed, especially to update the social aspects, and to comply with all the environmental legislation. This review and final completion of the EIA will involve further public participation in terms of the environmental legislation. The Department already compiled a Terms of Reference for the review and completion of the EIA and we are in the process of procuring professional services for this assignment. You are also invited to browse the EIA section on this Web Page.

Study Area

The proposed MMTS-2 is located in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, close to Rosetta Village, between the towns of Mooi River and Nottingham Road. Economic activity in the area is mainly focused on agriculture, tourism and recreation. The agricultural sector is sustained by irrigation and is mainly based on dairy farming, beef and cash crops.

The tourism and recreation sectors are rapid growing economic sectors, which primarily focuses on the beauty and tranquility of the area. Recreational fishing is also a main attraction and this is a catalyst for especially property development in the area.

Except for the Mearns Weir at the confluence of the Mooi and Little Mooi rivers there are no major dams in the Mooi River, but there is however a significant number of relatively large farm dams in the catchment.

Mooi River is the largest town and serves as the main administrative and economic centre in the area.

Rosetta Village and Nottingham Road will be affected by components of the MMTS-2.

The MMTS-2 will benefit the area in that jobs will be created during construction and in the longer term spring Grove Dam and the surrounding nature conservation area will contribute towards the ever grooving tourism industry in the area.