11 June 2004
The government has approved the construction of the second phase of the Olifants River Water Project, which includes a large dam at De Hoop on the Steelpoort river in Limpopo province.
The project, which will cost over R3-billion, will also involve construction of extensive bulk water distribution infrastructure, in the form of pipelines and pump stations, and the raising of the Flag Boshielo Dam wall on the Olifants River near Marble Hall by five metres.
Construction on the De Hoop dam is due to start in late 2005, subject to the necessary environmental approvals. The dam is expected to start supplying water by 2009, with the full yield by 2011.
The project, to be carried out by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, will supply water for social and economic development in large parts of the Olifants and Mogalakwena/Sand Catchments of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
“People in these areas will benefit directly through employment opportunities in mining and associated developments, and also in the availability of water for domestic purposes”, said Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Buyelwa Sonjica.
The project also includes pipelines and associated pump stations from the dam site at De Hoop to mining developments as well as to the existing Olifants/Sand Transfer Scheme, which supplies water to Polokwane. A branch pipeline to Jane Furse and the Nebo Plateau is also being planned.
The project will create extensive employment opportunities during the construction period, which is expected to last about five years.
Sonjica described the project as “an excellent example of cooperative governance”, saying her department and the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provincial governments, in consultation with local communities and private sector companies, had investigated numerous options for making more water available in the area before recommending the dam at De Hoop.
The minister said the construction costs would in part be covered through contributions from economic water users, while the government would fund the planning, initial design and water for social needs.