Water and Sanitation

Water and Sanitation

Status of Water Services

Water in UMzimkhulu is mainly drawn from natural sources like streams, rivers and fountains. Water in many areas is not purified and this makes these areas exposed or prone to cholera and other waterborne diseases. The quality of water is generally poor. Water from the main pipeline supplies and from the boreholes is not always in working order. Of the funding that has been received by the municipality, part of it is for the planned water projects that were previously halted due to lack of funding. There are projects that have been identified to cater for the provision of water and sanitation to the community.

The municipality is however still in the process of providing the following services:

Provision of clean water to all communities;
Establishment of water purification works in all schemes;
Conducting of health and hygiene education;
Developing a maintenance programme on water and sanitation services


However, the municipality has experienced some improvements on households with access to clean and hygienic water. Figures provided by Census indicate that piped water inside dwelling has improved from 2.6% to 5.6% between 2001 and 2011. There is still a lot that needs to be done to reduce the water backlog.

The following Table 21 indicates households having access to piped water within UMzimkhulu Municipality:

Table 22: Households with access to piped Water

Source: Statistics SA Census 2011

Figure 23 below presents a map depicting the water backlogs within uMzimkhulu municipal area.

Type of Water Source

Census 2001

Census 2011

Piped Water Inside Dwelling



Figure 24: Map showing Water Backlogs


Approximately 66.76% households in uMzimkhulu Municipal area have access to clean / tap water. About 33.24% households are without clean or piped water. The municipal’s priority is to ensure that all households have access to clean water. Most of the backlog is in the rural parts of the municipality and this is where the municipality will focus. The municipality intends to prioritize provision of water services to the rural areas where it is economically and financially viable. The municipality will work closely with other government tiers to achieve the target priorities.


Rural areas under the jurisdiction of UMzimkhulu use pit latrines with very few areas that use septic tanks. A main sewer line has been installed within the UMzimkhulu CBD and surroundings. Therefore, most CBD residents are using water borne sanitation systems. This depicted by the census 2011 which shows that only 6.4% of the households have flush toilets that are connected to the sewerage.


A Draft Protocol to Manage the Potential of Groundwater Contamination from on-site Sanitation for UMzimkhulu Local Municipality has been developed. This Plan serves as a precursor for the development of a Sanitation Plan for the entire Harry Gwala District. This plan will also provide a detailed sanitation backlog and possible interventions. Nonetheless, provision of sanitation improved from 2.3% to 6.4% between 2001 and 2011 indicating that majority of the households in uMzimkhulu do not have access to sanitation services. The map that follows shows the sanitation backlog within the municipal area.

Figure 25: Map showing Sanitation Backlogs

Table 22 below depicts number of households with flush toilets connected to municipal sewerage.

Table 23: Houses with Flush toilets connected to Sewerage


Approximately 23.75% households in the municipal area have access to sanitation services leaving about 76.25% households without access to proper sanitation. The municipality is working closely with the Harry Gwala District Municipality to address the sanitation needs and priority will be in the CBD, Nodes and areas that are prone to outbreak.


UMzimkhulu Municipality has continuously coordinated the activities around water and sanitation services. The municipality has initiated, facilitated and played key roles to ensure that water and sanitation services are directed to areas of priority. In many cases, the Municipal Department of Infrastructure has participated in several stakeholder meetings and engaged service providers in implementing some water and sanitation projects. The IDP Rep Forum and Steering Committee are some of the platforms that the municipality uses in the coordination and implementation of these projects.