Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has announced that the department will be allocating over R14 billion to municipalities through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) and Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG).

RBIG will be given R10.1 billion, while WSIG will receive R4.6 billion.

"The RBIG will be spent on 130 different projects across the country and the WSIG will be allocated to more than 400 projects across the country," Mchunu said, SANews reported.

The minister shared that the department has been meeting with mayors, councilors, municipal managers, technical staff and local stakeholders in several municipalities that are faced with severe challenges concerning water and sanitation to have a better grasp of their problems and come up with solutions to them.

"In most cases, we have been able to agree on improvement plans together with the municipalities, including projects to improve infrastructure, funded from our RBIG and WSIG," Mchunu added. "In many cases, we have mobilized our Water Boards to assist municipalities to implement the improvement plans."

He then talked about Eastern Cape, using it as an example. He said that in the province, the "Amatola Water Board assisted Nelson Mandela Bay with the development of Phase 3 of the R534 million Nooitgedacht water transfer and treatment scheme, which was completed during the last financial year, using RBIG funding."

Mchunu went on to highlight some major ongoing projects including the Makana Municipality with the development of the R393 million James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works, which is currently 89% complete.

Whereas, Umgeni Water is assisting the Alfred Nzo District Municipality with the development of the R450 million Greater Mbizana Regional Bulk Water Scheme.

"The department is providing the Amatole District Municipality with RBIG funding for the R506 million Ngqamakhwe Regional Water Supply Scheme to supply water to the Ngqamakhwe, Butterworth and Centane areas, which will be implemented over three years starting this financial year," he said further.

The minister also said that in the Free State, Bloem Water is assisting the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality with various projects, and it has been awarded a R130 million grant. He added that further allocations will be made in future financial years.

"The department is allocating R1.3 billion from its WSIG to the Mopani District Municipality over two or three years to complete the construction of this water distribution infrastructure," he shared. "The department is assisting municipalities in Limpopo and Mpumalanga by funding the R1.3 billion Loskop Bulk Water project from RBIG."

Mchunu noted that the contractors were on the site in the last financial year to ensure that the blocked sewage pipelines were fixed, collapsed sewage pipelines were replaced and pump stations were repaired.

Mchunu shared that all the elements of the original Bucket Eradication Programme have been completed while only one project in the Northern Cape and eight projects in the Free State are pending. However, they will be completed during this financial year.

Water levels have fallen sharply in the reservoir of the Sidi Salem dam in northern Tunisia