WATERBERG UNDER PRESSURE
THE WATERBERG AREA of Limpopo is preparing itself for exceptional economic growth in the next 20 years, mainly because of large expansions in mining and electricity provision.
SA’s Water Research Commission (WRC) says that by 2025 water needs could escalate from about 25,5m cubic metres to about 63,3m cubic metres (see table). In particular, the Mokolo catchment area, with a surface area of about 8 400sq km, will be pushed to its limit.
According to Lani van Vuuren of the WRC’s industry publication The Water Wheel, there could be great demands particularly on the Mokolo Dam, which was principally built to supply water to the Matimba power station.
Meanwhile, Kumba’s Grootegeluk mine, the largest coal mine in SA, has been added, and other groups are planning large expansions in the area. Eskom’s Matimba B power station, which will be built at an estimated cost of R26bn, and expansion plans by AngloCoal and even Sasol’s coal plans will further increase the pressure.
Beyers Havenga, chief engineer of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, says plans include the eradication of invader plants, cutting water losses by up to 6m cubic metres a year, and the enlargement of the Mokolo Dam by raising the wall 8m. The installation of an 84km pipeline to transport water from the Crocodile West/Marico area could also ensure an additional 45m cubic metres for the area. Utilisation of ground water will also help.