The Stellenbosch Municipality is striving to sustain a continuous potable-water supply for its consumers as Day Zero fast approaches, the date when the taps are anticipated to run dry.
As part of a R60 million emergency water-augmentation project, ten contractors – four drilling contractors, two civils and four mechanical contractors – are drilling up to 20 new boreholes and equipping seven existing boreholes, and at least eight new containerised borehole water-treatment plants. The project aims to make Stellenbosch independent from the City of Cape Town’s water supply system by mid-2018.
Stellenbosch Mayor Gesie van Deventer explained to Eyewitness News (EWN): “As we continue to connect the boreholes to our main water supply system, our water dependence on the City of Cape Town will decrease significantly.” It is expected that Klapmuts, Franschhoek, Dwarsrivier, and Wemmershoek will be connected by the end of March 2018.
In the town of Stellenbosch itself, three production boreholes will be incorporated into the supply by mid-April 2018. Taking these areas off the City of Cape Town’s main water supply system will also assist the Mother City in mitigating the effects of the drought, and push out the Day Zero scenario.
The Stellenbosch Municipality is in the process of installing smart meters and water-management devices to reduce water losses and increase revenue collection. The boreholes that are being installed and equipped will also be monitored to ensure responsible aquifer management.
“We are working closely with local hydrogeologists GEOSS to monitor the medium-to long-term impact on the aquifers when the new schemes are drawing from groundwater for sustained periods of time,” Hatch’s Pieter de Kock explains.
Stellenbosch has been developing its water-conservation plan over the past three years, and has called on the expertise and experience of Hatch to fine-tune a Drought Response Plan for both the Municipality and for Stellenbosch University.
The latter involves the design and implementation of several new boreholes and containerised borehole water treatment plants at the Tygerberg campus and at the Bellville Business School campus. “We are in the construction phase at present, with six new irrigation boreholes for the Stellenbosch Campus, and five boreholes for the Tygerberg campus,” de Kock reveals.
The devastating drought in the Western Cape has focused attention on the need for water conservation and water-demand management. “The recent focus on drought mitigation has re-invigorated this sector and allowed us to improve our service offering and skill set. The drought in the Western Cape requires us all to work in accordance with tight timelines, and to come up with creative solutions for emergency water augmentation schemes for our clients,” de Kock concludes.
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