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Jul 26, 2002

Bulk-water supply to Bethal upgraded

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© Reuse this Due to increasing water demand in the area, Rand Water appointed consulting, civil engineering and project management firm GFJ Consulting Engineers to upgrade the existing bulk-water supply system to Bethal, in Mpumalanga, in a contract valued at some R10-million.

Bethal, located in the Highveld East Municipality district, is supplied with potable water from Rand Water's Wildebeestfontein reservoir complex, over a distance of approximately 35 km. The initial supply system was constructed during the early 1960s and consisted of a 300-mm- diameter steel/fibre cement pipeline with a booster pumping station located in the vicinity of Trichardt. During the 1980s and 1990s the supply system was extended in phases by adding sections of 450-mm-diameter pipeline in parallel with the existing 300-mm-diameter pipeline.

Rand Water recently acquired the existing bulk-water supply system. Due to increased demand in Bethal, the system capacity is being extended from approximately 10 Ml/day to 15 Ml/day, which will cater for the projected medium-term demand. The extensions included the construction of 10,7 km of 450-mm-diameter steel pipeline and upgrading the existing booster pumping station at Trichardt.

Construction began during September 2001 and commissioning took place in May this year.

The firm was also recently appointed by Mhlathuze Water to formulate a business plan for a subregional water scheme, supplying potable water to the Mbonambi community north of Richards Bay in Kwazulu-Natal.

Mbonambi includes both peri-urban and rural areas. The main purpose of the project is to provide potable water and the secondary issue is employment creation.

The community is involved at all levels of the project. The project steering committee is directly involved in planning. The labour desk assists the contractor with employment of local labour, the technical committee monitors progress and a project liaison officer facilitates with community members directly affected by the project.

The first phase of this project began in January this year and includes the laying of approximately 9,5 km of pipe, which provides potable water to the community using standpipes. The reticulation has been designed to accommodate house connections, as the area served includes a formalised agrivillage within the city of uMhlathuze.

Future phases will serve the balance of the Mbonambi community.

Completion of the R3,6-million first phase of the R69-million project is expected in August.

Another project in which GFJ was involved that is worth mentioning is the upgrading of services at Springs after preparation of a preliminary design report during 2000 to update some of the items listed in the master plan.

The Springs Water Services master plan had identified a number of shortcomings in the water reticulation of Springs, as well as future requirements.

Due to budget constraints, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality decided to implement the required upgrading work in two phases.

Phase One comprised the replacing of the existing flow- control systems with new combined altitude and rate-of-flow limiting valves.

This will ensure that Springs withdraws water from Rand Water main connections at controlled and adjustable flowrates.

The near-million-rand project also required that a mechanical flowmeter be installed at each of the four reservoir sites to monitor the quantity of water withdrawn from the Rand Water connections.

Reinforced concrete was used for new control and flow meter chambers due to the sensitive nature of the equipment. Existing chambers and/or structures were retained where possible.

Phase Two includes the installation of a number of interlinking pipelines in the reticulation system to improve water distribution and will start later this year.

GFJ has provided its consulting, civil and structural engineering and project management services in Southern Africa for more than 40 years with increasing exposure in Africa.  At present the company runs four offices throughout South Africa with the head office in Pretoria.

Its committment to provide its customers with innovative solutions means that the company gives conscious attention to research and development.  Thirteen awards, since 1990, from recognised technical institutions, give credence to the innovative inputs by the company.  Eleven of these have been for water-treatment or water-supply projects.  These include the first National South African Institution of Civil Engineering Award for Excellence in Community Based Projects and a recent National South African Association of Consulting Engineers Award for Technical Excellence.
Edited by: Laura Franz
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