Construction works on South Africa’s Clanwilliam dam are set to be completed by March 2023. Clanwilliam Dam, a concrete gravity dam on the Olifants River, near Clanwilliam, Western Cape, South Africa is undergoing a US $229m wall-raising works which will see the capacity of the dam double after the existing wall is raised by approximately 13 meters.
“Practically the project means an entire wall being built against the current one but just 13 meters higher, the original walls of the dam were built early 1935 hence they require maintenance to sustain its integrity. This project aims to address all those concerns raised,” said Anton Bredell, the Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister of Western Cape Local Government.
Significance of the project
Additionally, the National Department of Water and Sanitation has seen significant progress in the first phase of the project with the relocation of the N7 highway in the region of the dam. Western Cape Agriculture Minister Dr. Ivan Meyer says the doubling of the capacity of the dams comes with a lot of benefits for residents of the Free State especially those engaged in the agriculture sector.
He added that irrigation will boost growing cash crops and enhance business activities in the region. “Doubling of the capacity of the dam will allow more irrigation in the region with an additional 5 500 ha. This could see about 3800 jobs created thereby enhancing the economy of the Western Cape,” noted Dr. Meyer.
Moreover, Mr. Bredell pointed out that with the dam 100% full after the rainfall season, the sluices have been opened showing the added capacity will not go to waste but rather will be utilized successfully. Early on in 2018, Western Cape farmers had expressed fears over the project’s progress after the Western Cape provincial government announced that the Water and Sanitation Department had run out of money years after US $132m had been allocated for the same.