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Study Area

Richards Bay WSS is located in the Northern Coast of KZN laying in the Mhlatuze catchment. The area is characterized by a number of natural lakes which are also part of the water supply system. The Mhlathuze River, together with coastal freshwater lakes in the area, provides water for the Richards Bay / Empangeni industrial area. A water transfer scheme from the Thugela River is used to supplement the supply in the Goedertrouw Dam on the Mhlathuze River, and provides for the high level of assurance of supply demanded by Richards Bay industries. This transfer scheme is not fully utilized, and was also designed for an increase in capacity. The Mfolozi River north of Richards Bay is relatively undeveloped and could be further developed as a source of water for Richards Bay. This would be a significant undertaking and there are a number of complex considerations, including the need for greater inflow into Lake St Lucia, and water shortages in Mtubatuba, which already draws on the Mfolozi

Richards Bay WSS Lacalitity Plan for All Schemmes.


The current population is estimated at just under 350 000. Similar to the national demographic trends and mainly attributable to the impacts of HIV/AIDS and of increasing urbanization, little change and more probably a decline in population in the rural areas is expected. The future demography will also largely be influenced by economic opportunities and potential. Moderate population growth in the uMhlathuze area is probable, influenced by migration from rural areas into Richards Bay in search of employment opportunities. The table below shows the historical population growth within the municipality between 2001 and 2011, in which the uMhlathuze Municipality shows an increase of just over 45 000 people during that period

uMhlathuze Local Municipality
2011 334 459
2001 289 190
Population growth 15.65%
Per year 1.57

Economic activities

Richards Bay is the economic centre of the City of uMhlatuze Local Municipality. It is the largest coal export terminal in the world, the second largest port in South Africa and a site of several large export oriented strategic industries (Existing multi-nationals who have invested in the area include, inter alia, BHP Billiton, RBM and Ticor)


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