Delayed construction work to raise the Hazelmere dam wall has finally resumed, with Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu admitting on Saturday he was embarrassed that the project faced so many setbacks.
Mchunu visited the construction site over the weekend to inspect the progress of the project, which was originally due to be completed in June 2017.
It now appears that the completion date will be no later than December, bringing the initial cost of the project from R110 million to R800 million.
Also read: Millions of dollars squandered as Hazelmere dam project stalled after ministry fails to pay
Since construction work to raise the dam wall by 7 meters began in July 2015, delays and setbacks have caused continued disruption, eventually forcing construction company Group Five to halt work in 2018 after the water and sanitation service failed to pay the necessary 40 million rand. purchase specialized materials to complete the job.
Things got worse the following year when Group Five moved offsite after terminating its contract with the department.
The ministry suggested the project be put out to tender again, but the Treasury stepped in and Group Five was brought back in October last year.
In December, they had resumed their activities.
The Courier recently reported on the millions of liters of water that were wasted when the structural integrity of the dam wall was compromised, necessitating the release of water.
Heavy rains have pushed the dam to 62% of its current capacity – already over 100% of its former capacity.
But water had to be released from the dam sporadically to maintain lower capacity levels that would not compromise the integrity of the dam wall.
This resulted in a loss of 11,608 megalitres of water – a single megalitre equals 1 million litres.
When completed, the wall will have been raised 7 metres, stabilized and a piano key weir system (PKW) built in to allow for a free overflow weir which requires far less maintenance than a mechanically operated weir gate .
Post-tensioned anchors were installed using the largest hydraulic ram in the world, specifically commissioned for the Hazelmere Dam project.
While the construction of the PKW and the injection curtain is complete, 10 of the 83 anchors still need to be installed and tensioned.
Raising the wall will increase water availability on the North Coast by approximately 10 million m3 per year to meet the growing needs of the region.
The Hazelmere Dam, located on the Mdloti River, was constructed as a concrete gravity dam in 1975.
The dam supply area extends from KwaDukuza (Stanger) in the north to Groutville, Blythedale, Ballito and Verulam in the south.
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