Clanwilliam Dam costs soars to R2.5bn

2014-07-15 18:57
A model of the proposed Clanwilliam Dam wall. (Picture: Sapa)

A model of the proposed Clanwilliam Dam wall. (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The cost of raising the Clanwilliam Dam wall in the Western Cape has apparently increased again.

"The raising of the Clanwilliam Dam will commence in October this year, at an estimated cost of R2.5bn," newly appointed Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told MPs on Tuesday, opening debate in Parliament on her department's budget.

However, according to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE), tabled in February this year by then finance minister Pravin Gordhan, the total estimated budget for the project was R2.2bn.

This figure itself was 22% higher than the R1.8bn given in the previous year's budget.

The estimates document attributes the first rise in costs - from R1.8bn to R2.2bn - to "cost adjustments made due to the delays in finalising the design and changes in the scope of the work".

The latest apparent rise announced by Mokonyane, to R2.5bn, means costs have gone up a further R300m over the past five months.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday, the department of water affairs could not explain the discrepancy between the R2.2bn figure in the ENE document, and the R2.5bn figure given to the House by Mokonyane.

"We need to verify where the R2.5bn figure came from," national water resources infrastructure deputy director general Zandile Mathe told Sapa.

She said the total cost of the project included construction of the raised dam wall - an amount of R1.8bn - plus additional costs involving, among other things, the expropriation of land around the new reservoir, and the cost of realigning the adjacent national road.

One of the government's so-called mega infrastructure projects, the Clanwilliam Dam, is located in the middle reaches of the Olifants River in the Western Cape.

Mokonyane said on Tuesday that raising the wall "will also include dam safety measures to ensure the stability of the embankment".

The safety of the existing wall has been a matter of concern for some years, due to what the estimates document in February described as "distortion" in the structure.

It is understood the wall will be raised by 13m, providing an additional 70 million cubic metres of water a year to downstream farmers.

Work started last year on re-aligning the adjacent N7 national road, parts of which will be flooded by the rise in the reservoir.

Construction is expected to create about 650 temporary jobs in the local economy.

A 1:100 scale model of the completed project was on display at Parliament on Tuesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  pravin gordhan  |  cape town  |  parliament 2014  |  water
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