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Thursday, 15th February, 2024

KOBWA HANDS OVER MANANGA GAUGING STATION TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY

KOBWA HANDS OVER MANANGA GAUGING STATION TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
Delegates sharing a light moment during the site visit and handover of Mananga Gauging Station

On the 13th of February 2024, the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) through the support of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UKAID) and Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF), handed over Mananga Gauging Station to Member States (The Kingdom of Eswatini and the Republic of South Africa) sharing water resources of the Komati River. The gauging station worth R/E28M (twenty-eight million Rands/Emalangeni) was constructed over a one-year period (November 2022-December 2023) through the professional and technical expertise of a joint venture construction companies comprising of Raubex and Esso from the Republic of South Africa and Kingdom of Eswatini respectively. KOBWA Board Chairperson, Mr. Archinton Thobejane speaking during the event said ''KOBWA feels very humbled to have been appointed as the implementation agent for the construction of such a critical structure to bring confidence to the sharing of the water resources of the Komati River.'' The project aims to improve water measurements and allocation for adequate abstractions and efficient use by all stakeholders in the Komati river system.

KOBWA HANDS OVER MANANGA GAUGING STATION TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
KOBWA Technical Auxiliary Officer Mr. Samkeliso Mdluli explaining to a delegate how the gauging station collects data

The gauging station is very strategic, it measures the water flow as it passes from the Kingdom of Eswatini to service the needs of users in Eswatini, South Africa and Mozambique. It is constructed to the required construction standards and has state of the art measuring instruments to measure several water parameters which include river flow, temperature, electric conductivity, salinity, and total dissolved solids. It is also fitted with a tipping bucket rain gauge to record the amount of rainfall collected in the area. The structure can measure a maximum flow of 260 cubic metres per second and it consists of a fishway/ladder to enable fish to migrate upstream of the river. Thobejane further added ''KOBWA appreciates the confidence bestowed by the two Member States on our capabilities to discharge projects of this magnitude. We feel greatly honoured to have been given this crucial role and remain available to respond to the needs of the Member States as they implement the phase two developments under the Komati River Basin future developments as envisaged by the Treaty on the Development and Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Komati River Basin.''

KOBWA HANDS OVER MANANGA GAUGING STATION TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
KOBWA Operations Director Mr. Sakhiwe Nkomo giving an overview of how the Mananga gauging station operates during the site visit

Deputy Director General: Water Regulation, Mr. Collin Zwane speaking on behalf of Dr. Sean Phillips; Director General in the Department of Water and Sanitation, South Africa stated that South Africa shares 60% of its freshwater resources with its neighbours in Southern Africa. Thus, the ''Department is committed to multi-lateral, transboundary collaboration to ensure that the shared water resources are utilised to the benefit of all, and this project is a very good example of this transboundary collaboration'', he said. In addition, Mr. Zwane appreciated the support that was provided by CRIDF and UKAID towards the rehabilitation of the Mananga weir gauging station. ''This Project would also not have been possible without the financial support the Climate Resilience Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF), which is a Southern African Development Community (SADC) programme funded by the United Kingdom (UKAid), with the intention of unlocking sponsored funding towards the building of climate change resilience within KOBWA's area of operation. As both countries we aim to strengthen our relations with CRIDF through respective climate resilience infrastructure projects'' he added. Dr. Charles Reeve, CRIDF Team Leader stated that climate change is with us, it affects us everywhere and it affects the SADC region in many ways. He added that if one wants to understand the effects of climate change, you need to monitor what's going on, hence, ''we are here today to visit a gauging station which tells you now that things have changed'' he said. The Mananga gauging weir is a symbol of the relationship between Eswatini and South Africa, which signifies the single most important thing which is the joint management of water benefitting the users of the Komati river, he added.

KOBWA HANDS OVER MANANGA GAUGING STATION TO THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Under Secretary Ms. Gabsile Mabuza officially opening the gauging station while British High Commissioner to Eswatini Mr. Simon Boyden and Mr. Collin Zwane, Deputy Director General: Water Regulation from the Department of Water and Sanitation, South Africa look on.

The British High Commissioner to Eswatini, Mr. Simon Boyden stated that the project was based on evidence and will also provide evidence for extremely important work to be done more accurately, professionally, and effectively going forward. ''we are delighted to be here because this is a great example of the UK support and engagement on several issues including climate change, biodiversity, health, food security and more. The UK is active in this space regionally, including Eswatini. Hence, the pleasure to witness the cutting of the ribbon on a project that is partly funded by the UK'' he said. Speaking on behalf of the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, Under Secretary Ms. Gabsile Mabuza stated that to address the negative impact of climate change on the availability of water ''KOBWA together with the Joint Water Commission Secretariat engaged CRIDF for a project to improve water management in the Komati River Basin.'' The engagement resulted in the rehabilitation of the Mananga gauging station, repairs of the weir and reconstruction of the gauging hut and the provision of telemetric equipment which is used to transmit data relating to water levels in the Komati River. Additionally, she appreciated UKAID and CRIDF for the financial, technical, and administrative support that has been shown to projects in the Southern African region with emphasis on the Mananga Gauging Station in the Komati River. ''It is believed that the newly rehabilitated weir will stand the test of time and will be of great assistance for the future Komati water system development,'' she said.

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