Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality is planning to draw water from Gariep Dam in a bid to alleviate water shortages in the city, executive mayor Thabo Manyoni said.
The water will be drawn by a 180km long pipeline with a diameter of 1.4 meters and capacity to move 200 mega-litres a day. The project which is expected to be completed in about three years’ time is set cost a total of R4.3 billion.
The multi-billion rand project which is expected to delivering water to the metro in November 2019, is expected to get underway next year.
The project management plan is expected to be approved by February next year with the designs set to be finalised by April.
Speaking at the mayoral business breakfast held at the City Hall in Bloemfontein on Friday last week, Manyoni said the water project was one of the key ventures that the city needed to implement urgently because all the other projects planned by the city hinged on the reliable availability of water.
“We want to develop a city that we can be proud of as one of the best cities in Africa,” said the mayor.
“We have taken a decision that we need to have a city that is resilient, sustainable, a smart city and a city that can mitigate matters pertaining to climate change and lack of resources such as water,” he told the gathering.
Gariep Dam, which is the largest water reservoir in South Africa, is situated near the town of Norvalspont, bordering the Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.
The dam has a total storage capacity of over 5.3 million mega-litres and a surface area of more than 370 square kilometres. Its primary purpose is for irrigation, domestic and industrial water use as well as power generation. The hydro-electrical power station houses four generators with a capacity of 90 MW, giving a maximum output of 360 MW of electricity.
Presently, Mangaung gets most of its water from Welbedacht Dam which is on the Caledon River. The Welbedacht Water Treatment Works provides about 145 mega-litres of water a day.
The city also gets water from Knelpoort, Rustfontein and Mockes dams. The treatment works at Rustfontein Dam provide the city with 100 mega-litres a day while the Maselspoort treatment plant delivers 110 mega-litres a day.
The business breakfast was meant to showcase the major projects being implemented by the municipality and invite potential investors to seek opportunities in the city.
In his presentation, the mayor gave an update on the progress made in developing the seven land parcels that have been earmarked for residential and commercial development, the issuing of bonds and the Public Private Partnerships.
Addressing a press briefing soon after the mayor’s presentation, city Manager Sibongile Mazibuko said plans to merge Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and Naledi Local Municipality in Xhariep District will not affect the decision by the city to go onto the bond market to raise R5 billion on the bond market to finance capital infrastructure projects.
“It is a long term project which we need to start planning for now,” said Mazibuko. “We have to start including it in the plans of the municipality. As local government we must take the lead and provide the relevant infrastructure so that investors can follow and invest,” she added.
Chief financial officer Ernest Mohlahlo said credit rating agency Moody’s which gave the municipality an investment grade of A3.za for long-term rating and P-2.za for short-term rating was satisfied that any adjustments to the city were not likely to have a major impact on its bid to raise funds on the bond market.
“They concluded that there would be implications but they would not have much impact due to the size of the metro,” said Mohlahlo.
Merging Mangaung Metro — which has a population of about 850 000 people living mainly in Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Mangaung and Thaba Nchu — with the over 24 000-people in Naledi will create a bigger metro able to attract more funding from national government, while creating more business and investment opportunities for residents.
Naledi, whose economy is largely driven by farming, is made up of the three towns of Dewetsdorp, Wepenaar and Van Standensrus and some large townships such as Qibing and Morojaneng as well as several few informal settlements.
The municipality is already firmly within the metro’s sphere of influence with the bigger city serving as a key source of jobs and economic opportunities as well as supplies of goods and services such as expert medical care for Naledi.