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African Development Bank delivers water and sanitation project to Eswatini’s Ezulwini Valley


Communities of Ezulwini Valley in north west Eswatini, will soon benefit from a water supply and sanitation project funded by the African Development Bank, ending challenges to potable water supply.

With a population of about 26,000 people, Ezulwini Valley is known locally as the “Valley of Heaven.” Its soft, green hills and the 4,500-hectare Mlilwane wildlife sanctuary, established in 1964, has led to a rapid urbanisation of the valley and its surrounding region, as well as the growth of tourism in Eswatini. The population is expected to grow to 50,000 by 2030.

Construction of the  Ezulwini Valley sewer system and water supply commenced in June 2014 and is scheduled for completion in December 2020. The project is well underway, with 58 kilometres of sewer infrastructure connected to 761 sewer connections in 431 private plots completed and already in use.

Addressing nine Executive Directors of the African Development Bank during a consultative mission to the Kingdom of Eswatini in January 2019, Marble Mdzebele, overseer of a public water closet facility in her region said: “This facility has given us relief! We now have better air from better waste management and are looking forward to having more facilities in the region, with staff who can be here day and night.”

To meet the water demands of Ezulwini municipality and surrounding areas, 15ML reservoir, gravity pipeline and 12 water kiosks are also being constructed as part of the project, which is being implemented by the Eswatini Water Services Corporation (EWSC). The Bank’s initiative will bridge the gap in providing potable water and ablution facilities and provide EWSC personnel with capacity-building training. EWSC maintains gender parity in the blue- and white-collar areas of its operations.

The project faced several challenges at its initial phase, mostly due to poor ground conditions, prolonged negotiations on “right of way” and other land-related issues, and the financial liquidity of contractors. These bottlenecks have now been resolved through monitoring of contractors’ activities, splitting the water project into two to minimise risk to the land, and successful negotiations on land access and usage, securing and safeguarding the viability of the project.

The Ezulwini Water Supply and Sanitation Delivery project aligns with Eswatini’s  national plan to provide universal access to water and sanitation services by 2022.