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Blossoms Emergency Water Supply Pipeline in Full Swing

Oudtshoorn, 2 September 2020 – The multi-million rand Blossoms Emergency project which was launched during 2018 to alleviate drought and serious water shortages in the Greater Oudtshoorn is continuous, the Municipal Water Department confirmed this week.

“The project entails the equipping of three existing deep boreholes (drilled as part of the exploration program in 2013/14 in the C1 wellfield) into the Table Mountain aquifer and constructing a 23 km pipeline with a diameter of 315 mm from the Blossoms wellfield to the water network of Oudtshoorn,” said the acting director for technical services, Chris Swart.

The current water sources remain under severe pressure. Swart who is also a senior manager for water and sewer, emphasized that the successful implementation of the Blossom water project would yield good results as the project will supply the Greater Oudtshoorn with additional potable water. “It is estimated that these boreholes can supply in the region of 5 Ml/day, which is about half the daily water usage under the level four water restrictions. The water quality is good with only disinfection and possibly removal of iron required for treatment.”

“The additional water sources would also augment water supply to the rural areas of the Greater Oudtshoorn,” Swart added. “The Klein Karoo Rural Water Supply System (KKRWSS) from the Vermaaks River boreholes near Dysselsdorp are already extracted at their maximum and the Huis River supplying water to De Rust is not reliable over the summer months. In addition, the water abstracted from the Raubenheimer dam exceeds the volume that can be relied on with a 98% degree of assurance.”

The Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Councillor Chris Macpherson is impressed in the manner in which the funds from the National Department Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) were utilised so far to ensure that the Blossoms projects is being implemented.

“Funding of R30 million as part of DWS’s drought relief was made available during the 2018/19 financial ear. An additional R20 million was made available through the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG) from DWS for 2019/20. These funds have already been utilised to kick off the project with the design stage purchase a portion of the pipeline material,” Mayor Macpherson said.

The current status of the project is as follows:

  • Detail design of the project commenced in February 2019 after confirmation that the initial R30.0 million rand was available and was completed in June 2019.
  • A Material tender was put out in May 2019 for the purchasing of portions of the pipeline. Approximately 9km of PVC pipes were delivered in July 2019. The remainder of the pipes were ordered in June 2020 and are kept at the manufacturers premises until installation can commence.
  • The Mechanical tender for the equipping of the boreholes were put out and a contractor was appointed in May 2020. The first order for equipment was placed in June 2020 and are currently being manufactured.   
  • The Civil tender for the installation of a portion of the pipeline (for which funding is already available) was advertised in March 2020 and a Contractor was approved.
  • Agreements with landowners for access to private properties and permission to construct on private properties are still in process.

“As soon as the landowner agreements are in place, the mechanical installation as well as the installation of the first half of the pipeline will commence, Swart added. “It is envisaged that this will be before the end of 2020.”

Swart assured that the final section of pipeline will then be installed on securing of the additional funds required. “The future development of C1 and C2 wellfields has the potential to deliver approximately 22 Ml/day and together with the possible construction of an additional dam, forms part of the long term planning for the sustainable supply of water to the Greater Oudtshoorn,” he added.

To execute the project fully, the Municipality need an approximate amount of R100 million, leaving a current shortfall of R50 million. Sourcing of this additional funding is in process with regular interaction between DWS, Western Cape Local Government and the Oudtshoorn Municipality.