27 October 2005
The first water from the Berg Water Project near Franschhoek will flow through Cape Town’s taps in two years’ time, 18 years after the project was first mooted.
The project will yield about 81-million cubic metres annually by the end of 2007, an 18% increase in the yield of the Western Cape water system. The gross storage capacity of the dam will be 130-million cubic metres.
Highest dam wall in South Africa
The structure, currently about 30% complete, will boast the highest concrete-faced, rock-filled dam wall in South Africa. The dam wall, including its foundation, will be 70 metres high and 990 metres long.
It is a unique project, says Mike Killick, the city of Cape Town’s head of bulk water resource and infrastructure planning.
The debt raised to finance the project will be repaid by the implementing and funding agent, TCTA, through income from the sale of water to the city of Cape Town.
In today’s terms the project will cost between R1.4-billion and R1.5-billion.
However, there is one condition: Capetonians will have to achieve a 20% water saving by 2010, a target that is well on track, says Killick.
The project comprises a dam on the farm Skuifraam, about 6 kilometres outside Franschhoek, and a pumping scheme about 9 kilometres away. The project involves the erection of a dam wall on the Berg River and a supplement scheme, also on the Berg River, but downstream of the confluence of the Dwars River.
The supplementary scheme includes pump stations and about 10 kilometres of pipelines to transfer water from the abstraction works in the Berg River to the dam and into the Western Cape water system.
The process began in 1989, when the Department of Water Affairs and the city council initiated the Western Cape systems analysis, which looked at water available to the city, other local authorities and agriculture.
The project is a good example of intergovernmental co-operation between the City of Cape Town, the national Department of Water Affairs and TCTA.