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Lebalelo is improving lives through water infrastructure for a thriving future in Limpopo

20th March 2024

     

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In celebration of Water Month and World Water Day, we at Lebalelo Water User Association (LWUA) reflect on our achievements in fulfilling our mandate of improving lives through the consistent supply of bulk raw water. Looking ahead, we are poised for significantly increased impact through both a dynamic public-private collaboration, known as the Olifants Management Model Programme, and our transformation from Lebalelo to the Badirammogo Water User Association.

Achieving 100% uptime with very low water losses

Since 2002, LWUA has self-financed, constructed and maintained its bulk raw water infrastructure, supplying water to both mines and social users (through the Department of Water and Sanitation [DWS]) in the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC), primarily in Sekhukhune, Limpopo.

Our infrastructure stretches from Modubeng to Mototolo across more than 105 separate communities and consists of an abstraction weir on the Olifants river downstream from the Flag Boshielo dam, a 110 km bulk raw water pipeline, settling ponds, five pump stations, storage dams, and associated infrastructure.

Uninterrupted water supply, zero fatalities since inception, more than 135 000 fatality-free shifts, and less than 1% water losses annually speak volumes of our ability to deliver.

Enabling large-scale, commercial mining in the Eastern Limb

LWUA was established by the mining community in response to discussions with various government departments in the late 1990s. It was a leap of faith more than 20 years ago that allowed for the development of mines such as Twickenham, Booysendal, and Modikwa. Without the consistent bulk raw water that we have supplied for the last two decades, none of the large-scale commercial mining operations would have been possible.

Catalysing sustainable socio-economic development

We are already making a meaningful impact in our areas of operation while delivering on our current mandate through localized infrastructure and operational spending, and by implementing key socio-economic development (SED) initiatives in host communities.

Actively helping solve the water crisis in Limpopo

Through the R25-billion Olifants Management Model Programme (or OMM Programme), a public-private collaboration between the government (represented by DWS) and commercial water users, we are accelerating the completion of the Olifants River Water Resources Development Project (ORWRDP), increasing our operational footprint in Sekhukhune, and expanding into Mogalakwena through the construction of bulk raw and potable water infrastructure (to a yard connection) that will also ultimately enhance water supply to Polokwane.

The OMM Programme aims to leverage infrastructure development to strengthen economic recovery across Limpopo as it unlocks strategic mineral and industrial potential in specified regions and brings much-needed potable water, water security, significant job creation, and SED.

As our mandate expands through the OMM Programme, so too does the reach and impact of our SED activities. We believe that large infrastructure development programmes cannot be completed without the intimate involvement of host communities in considering and implementing SED activities and in the establishing of secondary economies.

Renaming and rebranding for greater impact

The OMM Programme is also one of the key reasons for the transformation of LWUA, which will in the future be known as the Badirammogo Water User Association.

Badirammogo is a Sepedi word that means 'working together' or 'collaboration.' The new brand represents both the greater collaboration between the public and private sectors taking place through the Water User Association as a vehicle, and the expanding role of the Association through the implementation of the OMM Programme while continuing with the operation and maintenance of the existing Lebalelo Scheme infrastructure. The Association's membership is also set to change with a larger representation from government and the addition of new members.

The elephant in the Association's new logo symbolises community and social harmony as well as wisdom, stability, loyalty and determination and is an acknowledgment of the Middle Olifants Catchment Area.

A strategic model for future delivery

We believe that the LWUA  and the OMM Programme serve as a model for strategic, cross-industry collaboration between the public and private sectors that can enable the future delivery of essential services nationwide and beyond.

To find out more, visit https://lebalelo.co.za

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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