CERES KOEKEDOUW DAM
The Ceres Koekedouw Dam was constructed to augment the water supply to the Ceres area. Water is supplied to a composite group of domestic, industrial and agricultural users and managed by the Ceres Koekedouw Management Committee which is a joint venture between the Witzenberg Municipality and the Koekedouw Irrigation Board.
The project represents a "Masimanyane" or" coming together of people" approach to the funding of infrastructure development in South Africa. It is a joint undertaking by national government, local government and the private sector to provide a multipurpose water scheme which supplies sufficient water for the local inhabitants for the next 30 to 40 years.
The Witzenberg Municipality is responsible for the supply of water to a population of some 30 000 people, approximately 70% of whom are classed as disadvantaged persons. In addition, they supply water to a number of industries connected with the local agricultural sector.
The Koekedouw Irrigation Board comprises approximately 50 individual commercial farmers who will use the water to produce fruit which is sold on the local and international markets. About 15% of the water allocated for irrigation will be used to create an irrigation scheme for emerging farmers.
Financing of the scheme was the topic of protracted discussions and negotiations. The project cost of nearly R80 million is to be paid by the Koekedouw Irrigation Board (59%) and the Witzenberg Municipality (41%).
The municipal requirement is expected to grow at a rate of about 3% per annum with demand rising from some 3 million cubic meters per annum at present to 10 million cubic meter per annum in 35 years´ time. The agricultural demand grows much more quickly as new orchards are developed but income is delayed for many years until the new orchards start producing fruit.
Interest rates are crucial to the success of the scheme. The approach to financing of the two parties is a new development with government and private sector playing a role. The Irrigation Board is receiving its financing through the Rand Merchant Bank at favourable interest rates. National government, through the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry will provide a grant of 25% from the Irrigation Board´s share as soon as the establishment of the emerging farmers becomes an "irreversible" process. Financing of the municipal portion is being met by die Development Bank of Southern Africa (70%) and Boland Financial Services (30%), also at favourable interest rates.
As government funding allocation priorities in the new South Africa change, more and more reliance will be placed on the private sector to provide infrastructure development. We believe that the approach used to finance this project represents a model for future funding of infrastructure projects in communities where the beneficiaries are composed of different economic groups which would not be able to compete or obtain funds from traditional government funding. This approach clearly fits in with the stated vision for South African where private sector is being called on to participate in infrastructure development.
The inclusion of water allocation for emerging irrigation farmers together with pro-active input from commercial farmers together with government agencies to create a viable emerging farmer scheme is in line with the Masimanyane principle.
Assessment of the site, which is located in the most seismically active area in South Africa, has led to the selection of a rockfill dam with a central asphalt core, the first of its type in South Africa. This type of dam has been used in Europe for the last 40 years, but has only become relatively frequently used over the last 15 to 20 years.
The technology required to construct asphaltic core rockfill dams has primarly been developed in Germany/Austria and Norway. Norwegian expertise was used both as part of the design team and the construction team. Design advice was provided to the consulting engineers, Steffen, Robertson and Kirsten by Professor K Hoeg of the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute. Professors Hoeg was intimately involved in the development and implementation of central asphalt cores in dames in Norway and is also a member fo the International Commission of Large Dams panel on Seismic Design of dams.
Expertise to the construction phase was supplied to the main contractor, Grinaker Construction by a nominated subcontractor which is a joint venture between a South African company, Colas (South) specialising in the manufacture and supply of asphalt and a Norwegian contractor, Korsbrekke og Lorch AS (KOLO) who are specialist in the construction of asphalt cores. KOLO are currently involved with the construction of several other asphalt core dams internally. Part of KOLO´s brief was to provide training of local personnel in this technique.
This project was the first private sector funded dam project in South Africa which had implemented the process of determining and providing for in stream flow requirements. Approximately 25% of the inflow to the dam isreleased back to the river in an environmentally acceptable manner by adopting rules suited for this purpose.
The site is located within the municipal nature reserve and environmental aspects were considered from the outset. Environmental management during the construction process has also been adopted as part of the project. Due to the constricted nature of the works some of the temporary measures during construction have had limited success, but overal the final product has been designed and is being implemented to minimise environmental impacts.
Public participation was implemented at the beginning of the investigation and design phase and included members of the local community and authorities and other interested parties. The process has resulted in some changes to the design. For example, the route and design parameters for the access road were modified to minimise the environmental impacts.
FIRST LINE BENEFITS
Contribution to people and development and empowerment
The project includes two main components towards this end, namely "on the job" training and emerging farmer programme.
On the job training includes importation of foreign expertise to train South Africans and giving a high priority to local inhabitants for employment opportunities. Fifty percent of the engineer´s supervisory team were locally employed. The contractor will be employing some 80 to 100 local people and all employment posts were advertised, initially on an exclusive basis, to the local community.
The Ceres Koekedouw Management Committee were actively involved with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, the Department of Agriculture, the Development Bank of SOuthern Africa and other interested organisations in setting up the necessary structures and systems to assist the emerging farmers onto th eland. The intention was that the commercial farming sector, together with funding agencies and government departments will maintain an active involvement in ensuring that the emerging farmer project is successful.
Improving the quality of life of the local community and accessibility of service
The tariff structure for water is such that industry and the better off sectors of the community will subsidise the cost of water to the disadvantaged community. The price of water to the disadvantaged community forms a relatively small portion of the total water demand once industry and agriculture are accounted for. This allows clean water to be supplied to the disadvantaged community as part of the urban distribution network at substantially below cost.
CONTRIBUTION TO JOB CREATION
The agricultural component of the project resulted in the development of a further 800 ha of irrigation which is anticipated to provide some 800 permanent and a further 800 seasonal job opportunities in the agricultural sector alone. The increased fruit production will have spin-offs for local industry resulting in additional job opportunities in the industrial sector.
Approximately one million cubic meter of water will be allocated to emerging irrigation farmers allowing about 140 ha of irrigation development. The number of emerging farmers than can be accommodated is still to be determined but could be as many as 30 to 40.
AFFORDABILITY OF PROJECT
The affordability of the project has been vetted by the funding agencies including two commercial banking organisations, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. A financial viability study for the agricultural sector was undertaken. These studies and assessments indicate that the project which is large in terms of local resources and turnover is affordable, although the community will need to proceed with care and good financial management during the repayment period.
The tariffs have been set to allow for an initial cost of bulk water of about 40c per cubic meter with an annual increase of some 10% per annum. The pricing has been set to allow the interest only to be paid over the first few years with the capital being repaid as the price and demand rises. It is anticipated that the municipality will repay their portion in about 10 years and the Irrigation Board in some 15 to 20 years. This will enable revenue from the scheme to be accumulated over remaining life of the scheme to provide future water supplies and other infrastructure development for the area.