The Western Cape government has welcomed the commencement of construction work to raise the wall of a four-kilometre feeder canal into the Brandvlei dam near Worcester by 300 millimetres.
This, after two years of inaction by the national government, according to Dr Ivan Meyer, the provincial minister for agriculture. Since 2015, his department has worked hard to facilitate an interdepartmental process that ultimately led to the construction work.
“This included making sure that all the required information was available and that the needed investigations were completed, such as developing a development framework, addressing environmental considerations, developing proposals on the water license criteria, and hydraulic engineering studies,” says Meyer.
“Improving the canal’s capacity will increase the water flow into the dam, contributing to an increase in irrigation water and ultimately developing additional agricultural land of more than 4 000 hectares.”
According to a media release, the construction phase, which will create 32 local jobs, will be completed by June 2022. A second phase that focuses on applying for and evaluating water licenses is set to begin soon.
Clanwilliam dam raised
Another critical infrastructure project that, upon completion, will have a significant impact on agriculture is the raising of the Clanwilliam dam. The increased capacity of this raised dam will result in 6 000 hectares of additional land being developed for irrigation agriculture of high-value crops.
In his budget speech earlier this week (Wednesday, 23 February 2020), finance minister Enoch Godongwana said that R2.1 billion is being allocated for the raising of the dam, one of three water projects that are part of infrastructure development being provided for in the national budget.
Construction on the Clanwilliam dam first began in 2014, but progress has been frustratingly slow due to recurring delays, says Meyer. Construction is, however, set to resume during March 2022.
The minister points out that Agri Western Cape and the Breedevalley Local Municipality have worked tirelessly to support these critical infrastructure projects.
“Raising the canal wall at the Brandvlei Dam and the raising of the Clanwilliam Dam is indeed good news for agriculture addressing much-needed water allocation reform, transformation, job creation, and socio-economic development,” adds Meyer.
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