A team from Royal HaskoningDHV were announced the winners in the water category with the St Helens Rock Pump Station upgrade project at the recent South African Institution of Civil Engineers Annual Awards, held in Johannesburg.

Sharing the presentation stage with Royal HaskoningDHV was  Cllr Mondli ChalizaUgu District Municipality Deputy Mayor. The project presented many challenges which were overcome through high level innovative engineering – aspects that convinced the judges that the team from Royal HaskoningDHV were worthy winners!

The project involved the rehabilitation and upgrading of 1970’s St Helens Rock Pump Station – in its day was a marvellous engineering feat as it was carved out of and anchored into sheer granite slopes of the Umzimkhulu River. The project is located nine kilometres upstream from the town of Port Shepstone on the KwaZulu Natal south coast in South Africa.

Said delighted project manager, Rowen Clark “For 30 years the pump station worked tirelessly providing up to 54Mℓ/day raw water to the Bhobhoyi Water Works supplying the greater Port Shepstone area as far as Margate, as well as growing rural and peri-urban communities, whilst supporting the explosive tourism economy of the south coast.

“In 2006, the severe demand and strain on the system, as well as lowering water levels in the Umzimkhulu River, prompted the Ugu District Municipality to take action.

“After an investment of R83-million with final completion certified in April 2012 the district now has a guaranteed supply system of 81Mℓ/day with pumping capacity potential of 108Mℓ/day.

The population that will benefit from this project is estimated to be over a half-million people by the year 2020, with approximately 400,000 currently” concluded Clark.

Through the team-work of three main contractors and a myriad of sub-contractors, the complete overhaul and doubling capacity of the aged river pump station was undertaken without having missed a day of operation.

A total of 4,000 man-days of labour went into the civils component and the safety audits conducted by KZN Master Builders Association resulted in the project receiving a 4-star rating.