8 October 2004
The Cabinet this week approved the construction of a R2.1-billion project to pump water from the Vaal Dam to existing water supply infrastructure near Secunda in Mpumalanga.
This would ensure the availability of water for power generation, the synthetic fuel industry and other urban and industrial users until 2030, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Buyi Sonjica said.
“The Eastern Highveld of Mpumalanga is the energy hub of the country”, Sonjica said. “It has extensive coal reserves which fuel both Eskom’s power stations and the huge Sasol oil-from-coal plants. These industries need reliable water supplies.
“The existing network needs to be expanded to support the planned growth of both industries”, the minister said. “Both Eskom and Sasol have indicated that large quantities of water are required within a short time horizon to support the electricity generating, mining and related socio-economic developments in the area.
“The most feasible option for augmenting the available resources is to transfer water from the Vaal Dam.”
Sonjica said the projected demand for electricity had indicated that all power stations would soon be required to operate at full capacity in order to meet the country’s requirements.
She said the capital cost of the new infrastructure was estimated at R2.1-billion, excluding value-added tax.
“Most of this will be recovered from Eskom, Sasol and other economic users, while the portion associated with social services will be funded by the National Treasury”, the minister added.
This project will be implemented and financed with the assistance of the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority, which promoted South Africa’s share of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.