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Olifants River Water Resources Development Project Phase 2, South Africa

The Olifants River Water Resources Development Project is an extensive water resource development project which will supply water for domestic and industrial (mining) use in the Limpopo Province. Phase 1 of the project, carried out by other consultants, encompassed the raising of the Boshielo Dam.

Aurecon’s involvement started during Phase 2 which is divided into two main schemes. The first comprises a 70km long, 1100mm diameter pumping main from the Flag Boshielo Dam to the town of Mokopane, for which three pump stations of 4MW each are required. By mid-2010, consideration was still being given to possibly phasing this scheme using two parallel pipes of 900mm and 800mm.

The second scheme consists of the extraction and distribution of water from the De Hoop Dam to various end points via pipelines ranging from 1700mm to 1000mm in diameter. One 13MW pump station is required along the 110km of pipeline. Aurecon is involved in construction supervision of the De Hoop Dam through a different appointment. 

To avoid wasting energy, by letting the water from the De Hoop Dam run down the river to the pump station, the pump station is linked directly to the dam by a 40km long suction main. The considerable transient pressures which result from this configuration will be mitigated by one or more surge tanks, which are still being optimised. The 80m variation of the pumping head with the changes in dam water level will be accommodated by using variable speed drives.

Both schemes are to be monitored and controlled from a single remote control centre, with all elements linked via approximately 180km of fibreoptic cable. As a 75% participant in a joint venture, Aurecon is providing wide-ranging management, engineering and environmental services for this project, including:

  • Scheme optimisation, tender design and documentation
  • Detailed design
  • Construction supervision
  • Contract administration
  • Preparation of an environmental management plan
  • Environmental impact assessments for further pipeline routing alternatives

When completed in 2014, this project will reliably meet the domestic and industrial water use needs in this large region of the Limpopo Province for many years to come.