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Raising of dam wall will provide water security

26th May 2023

     

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Consultancy Zimile Consulting Engineers is at an advanced stage of a project to raise a dam wall, which will satisfy the short-term and future potable water demand requirements, and improve the economic growth prospects of Kokstad and surrounding areas in KwaZulu-Natal.

The appointment arose owing to a compromised surety of water supply in Kokstad, which led to the imposition of water restrictions after the town experienced drought conditions.

The project was awarded to Zimile in March 2020 and comprised all relevant investigations, facilitating all legislative requirements, preparing, and awarding of tender for construction, construction supervision and project close-out.

Zimile water technologist Deleana Naidoo explained that the work carried out, as of May 11, included the preparation of a feasibility study, including all necessary specialised studies required for the development of the dam and the preparation of business plan to secure funding; an environmental impact assessment; and the preparation of the technical feasibility report. The latter was to highlight the preferred option for implementation, which was to raise the existing dam wall from its current height of 4 m to a height of 7.8 m, resulting in the Kokstad-based dam supplying a total of 12.32-million litres a day. When combined with Crystal springs and groundwater sources, Kokstad will receive a total of 14.55-million litres a day.

Other activities included conducting all necessary specialised studies and licence applications and producing preliminary and detailed designs for the development and construction of the dam and other related infrastructure.

“Currently under way is the documentation and procurement phase of the project, where Zimile has prepared the contract and tender documentation and is assisting the municipality in the facilitation of contractor’s procurement processes including the administration of the contract,” she continued.

“The raising of this specific dam was not without its challenges including obtaining permission from the landowners, as raising the dam wall means that the flood lines will extend into these areas.”

Meanwhile, she added, “the processes of obtaining the authorisations proved to be challenging”. There were various requirements requested from the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. Zimile worked closely with the environmental assessment practitioner to resolve all queries and requests received.

“The processes for the environmental authorisation [started] in 2020 and the application for water use license [started] in 2021, with both only being authorised in 2022. The local municipality assisted to fast-track these processes to secure the authorisations and avoid further delays.

“Apart from the construction of the dam being a benefit to the people and businesses of Kokstad, this project has provided key exposure for Zimile’s young engineers including myself. The project included critical engineering tasks that form part of the 11 outcomes required for professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa,” explained Naidoo.

“This is one of Zimile’s larger projects for this specific municipality in KwaZulu-Natal and encompasses our vision to inspire engineering while developing aspiring young engineers by exposing them to various stages in a project.

“This project has opened doors in both the technical and project management areas and will continue to provide exposure in site supervision, monitoring and contracts administration and management during the construction phase,” she concluded.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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