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Water supplies to Lephalale municipality, Eskom’s Matimba and Medupi power stations and Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine will soon be augmented following the implementation of the Mokolo-Crocodile Water Augmentation Project Phase 2A in Limpopo Province.

To be undertaken by government owned water specialist Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), the project will also enable the development of the mineral resources and power generation in the Waterberg region.

The project is also essential for Eskom to implement the flue gas desulphurisation system to reduce the emissions of the new Medupi power station, which is a precondition of the World Bank financing for the project.

Mokolo-Crocodile Water Augmentation Project Phase 2A (MCWAP-2A) is aimed at significantly increasing the supply of water to the Lephalale area in the Limpopo Province, an area which is currently experiencing developmental pressure due to an increase in population and economic activity, in a region known to have considerable scarcity of water.

In 2010, TCTA was issued with a directive to implement MCWAP and, in 2016, the Department of Water and Sanitation issued TCTA with an instruction to proceed with MCWAP-2A. The organisation successfully implemented phase 1 of the project (MCWAP-1), and it has been operational since June 2015.

The total estimated capital cost of implementation for MCWAP-2A amounts to R12.3 billion (April 2018 prices). TCTA is responsible for securing the funding for the commercial portion of the project, totalling 88.1% of the costs, while the remaining 11.9%, the social portion which is allocated to domestic and general urban requirements, is to be funded from the fiscus, specifically through anticipated annual transfers from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

MCWAP-2A is targeted for completion in May 2026.

MCWAP is also a vital project in the region and forms part of the Strategic Integration Project #1 (SIP-1) of the government’s National Infrastructure Plan of 2012.

SIP-1 is aimed at unlocking the economic potential of the northern mineral belt, located in the Waterberg area of the Limpopo Province. Due to the limited availability of water in the area, the augmentation of water supply forms a key element of the infrastructure framework.

TCTA has appointed GBN Joint-Venture as a professional service provider, to be responsible for the design and construction supervision of the project. The GBN JV is comprised of three companies, namely Gibb (Pty) Ltd, Bigen Africa Services (Pty) Ltd and Nyeleti Consulting (Pty) Ltd.

It is estimated that the project will employ at least 1 000 people during its implementation, with 50% of the engineers on the project expected to be from a previously disadvantaged background. It will also offer learnerships and bursaries to mostly previously disadvantaged people from the local community.

As the ultimate owner of the developed infrastructure, the Department of Water and Sanitation will have overall responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the scheme.

Although DWS retains the direct responsibility for the water resources system, part or all of this responsibility may in future be assigned to a regional water utility or another appropriate institution.