R2,3 billion drinking water boost in pipeline from Berg River to Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme

09 Nov 2022 in Where We Govern

Council recently approved the contract between the City of Cape Town and the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), which incurs a financial obligation beyond the three-year financial years, that proposes to boost supply by 40 million litres of drinking water a day from 2024/ 2025. This investment, which is estimated to cost more than R2,3 billion over 20 financial years once the contract is in effect, actions the City’s commitment to prioritising water security for our residents in the face of future droughts.

The City of Cape Town is making every effort to ensure that its New Water Programme, as outlined in the City’s Water Strategy, which is currently under way, remains on track to produce about 300 million litres more water a day by 2030.

The Berg River to Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme (BRVAS) is an important component of this strategy to help ensure long-term water security to navigate future climate shocks and droughts

The Western Cape Reconciliation Strategy Study developed by the National Department of Water and Sanitation identified the need to augment the Western Cape Water Supply System. A detailed feasibility study found that BRVAS would be the most cost-effective solution producing additional approximately 63 million litres of water per day and increasing the yield by about 4,5% once completed. The City’s allocation from the Scheme will be 40 million litres of water per day.  In order to secure an allocation of water from the scheme, the City must conclude a 20-year water supply agreement with DWS at an estimated cost of R2,3 billion. This long awaited water scheme will hopefully now proceed to the implementation phase as soon as practically possible.

This scheme will involve:

  • The pumped abstraction of water in the winter rainfall months from the Berg River to increase the yield of the Western Cape Water Supply System by approximately 23 million cubic metres (kilolitres)per year.
  • a low-level weir and pump station located at the Lorelei site on the Berg River; and
  • a 6,3 km long pipeline to deliver the water from the Berg River into the Voëlvlei Dam.
  • The pipeline will be designed for reverse operation during summer so that releases can be made from the Voëlvlei Dam to the downstream municipal and agricultural users. The scheme will also ensure the implementation of the ecological water requirements for the estuary.

‘The City’s climate change modelling indicates that over the next 30 years, the Western Cape Water Supply System’s yield will decrease by 25%. For this reason, the City is very excited to be entering into this agreement with DWS because the Berg River to Voëlvlei Augmentation Scheme is an important component of the City’s Water Strategy.

‘Cape Town is in a water scarce region and City teams are doing all they can to ensure that we continue to invest and build a reliable, safe drinking water supply through our updated New Water Programme (NWP). This includes diverse sources such as desalination, water reuse and groundwater, which will be key to Cape Town’s reliable supply as the City navigates future drought. Diversifying our water sources will reduce the City’s current dependence on rain-fed dams as a main source of water.

‘While the City is investing in future water supply, residents and businesses are reminded to be water wise at all times to prevent wasting water, including over summer, particularly as the rainfall received over the past winter was significantly below average,’ said Councillor Siseko Mbandezi, the City’s Acting Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation.

Links for more information:

Water wise tips: https://bit.ly/3Np39Xr
City’s Water Strategy and New Water Programme: http://www.capetown.gov.za/general/cape-town-water-strategy