The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), as water regulator, compiled the Greater Bloemfontein Reconciliation Report to investigate the balance between water supply and demand for the Metro for the next 20 years.
The report highlighted the need for several short-term upgrades at the Municipality’s Welbedacht and Knellpoort/Rustfontein systems. Over the long-term, it prioritised high water losses in the Municipality’s water distribution system, the re-use of water in the current system, and water supply from the Gariep Dam.
As Water Services Authority, the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) has embarked on an extensive Water Demand and Conservation Programme in the short-term and increased its internal bulk distribution capacity with the construction of the 35Mℓ Naval Hill reservoir, the 45Mℓ Longridge reservoir and an 8Mℓ reservoir in Botshabelo.
The municipality addressed the re-use of water through the new North Eastern Waste Water Treatment Work near the Bloemspruit Air Force Base, yielding the highest quality water to drain into the Mockes Dam for reuse at the Maselspoort Water Treatment Works. This treatment works is being upgraded with state-of-the-art technology to ensure best quality drinking water to Bloemfontein.
Despite these interventions, water supply in the Metro remains under threat. Addressing long-term supply priorities, the Mangaung Gariep Water Augmentation Project (MGWAP) therefore needs to commence urgently. The project will require significant lead-time for option analysis, environmental impact assessments, servitudes, electricity and land matters.
The DWS requested the Municipality to evaluate three supply options from Gariep, including raw water supply to the Knellpoort or Rustfontein Dam, and the supply of potable water directly to Bloemfontein, which uses 70% of the Metro’s water. The latter proved to be the most viable. This solution provides the additional benefit of water supply to the rural towns between the Gariep Dam and Bloemfontein.
Subsequently, the Municipality registered the Gariep Project with National Treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC) to initiate the project in accordance with its Municipal Services and Public-Private Partnership Guidelines. The water use license applications have been registered with Department of Water and Sanitation.
The first phase of the Bankable Feasibility Study started at the end of 2015. The project is currently in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Water Use Licence Application (WULA) phase. The completion of the first phase is intended for August 2016, when it will be submitted to the Metro Council for consideration.