WATER­BERG UN­DER PRES­SURE

Finweek English Edition - - Business strategy - JO­HANN VAN ZYL jo­hannv@fin­week.co.za

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.

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