TCTA progresses its various projects

The Berg River dam

The Berg River dam

29th November 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The various projects under the umbrella of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) are gaining traction, says TCTA CEO Percy Sechemane, outlining the projects in an update on the state of the multiproject entity on Wednesday.

Discussing some of the projects, which are at various phases of preparation, implementation and closure, he pointed to two of the projects which are moving from preparation stage to implementation, namely the uMkhomazi Water Project Phase 1 (uMWP-1) and the Berg River Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme (BRVAS).

The uMWP-1 aims to augment the in-deficit uMgeni System, which is the main water source supplying about six-million people and industries in the Durban and Pietermaritzburg regions, from 394-million cubic metres a year to 608-million cubic metres a year.

The project comprises the 81-m-high Smithfield dam and associated infrastructure in the uMkhomazi river near Bulwer; water conveyance infrastructure, including a 33 km, 3.5-m-diameter raw water tunnel from the Smithfield dam reservoir to the uMlaza river valley and a 5.1 km, 2.6-m-diameter raw water pipeline from the outlet portal of the transfer tunnel to Umgeni Water’s proposed water treatment works in the uMlazi river valley.

The R23.2-billion project is in the concept design phase, and the tender documents for the professional service providers for the dam and water conveyance infrastructure is currently in the market.

TCTA further facilitated negotiations between Umgeni Water and the six water user municipalities in its area of supply on the water user agreements, with the draft agreements approved by the respective councils for public participation in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The funding model was finalised with the approval by the National Treasury of a budget under the Budget Facility for infrastructure for a 25% capital grant and a 25% interest-free loan to improve the affordability of the project to end-users.

The loan will be made available through the Infrastructure Fund, while the balance will be funded through commercial debt to be serviced from water tariffs.

The TCTA is also undertaking the BRVAS project, which was identified as the preferred option to augment the yield of the in-deficit Western Cape Water Supply System in the short term and will operate during the winter months, abstracting water from the Berg river and pumping it to the Voëlvlei dam.

The R1.2-billion project comprises a diversion weir in the Berg river, a pump station and a 6.3-km-long pipeline and ancillary works, improving the yield of the Western Cape Water Supply System by 23-million cubic metres a year.

There has been good progress made in the implementation activities of BRVAS during the year under review, he said.

The TCTA is currently negotiating with three lenders on the proposals received and the tender documents for the professional service provider for the detailed design will be issued during this financial year.

Meanwhile, the TCTA is ready with funding for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase 2 (LHWP 2) when the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority needs to award contracts. The funding programme on the Vaal River System is used to meet the financial obligation of South Africa to Lesotho to pay for the R42.5-billion LHWP 2.

The Vaal River System supplies water to 46% of the country’s economy and 33% of its population.

The funding programme for the Vaal River System includes commercial banks, development finance institutions and capital markets funding, and a loan agreement has been concluded with the New Development Bank.

Meanwhile, the full implementation of Phase 2A of the Mokolo - Crocodile River (West) Water Augmentation, or MCWAP-2A, project, which is intended to increase the water supply to State-owned power utility Eskom for the Medupi and Matimba power stations, mining group Exxaro, the local municipality and others, has started.

The R12.3-billion project, which is in the fundraising and tender design and procurement phase, comprises a 125 m3/y abstraction weir at the Crocodile river, pumpstations and a 160 km pipeline to transfer 75 m3/y of water from the Crocodile river, near Thabazimbi, to the Lephalale area, as well as a River Management System, initially designated for completion in a third phase, which is now incorporated into Phase 2A.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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